How does a beloved craft brewery continue to stand out in an increasingly competitive market?
Wyoming’s oldest brewery, Snake River Brewing, opened its doors in 1994 just as the nation-wide craft brewing movement began to take shape. At the time, the beer industry was dominated by international conglomerates who seemed more focused on financial margins than good beer and a thriving community. Like its namesake, Snake River Brewing started small and carved a path to become an icon of the Rocky Mountain craft beer scene.
Following 25 years of award-winning brew and community minded business, a new generation of beer aficionados, and a thriving craft beer market, have presented a new set of challenges and opportunities to this beloved regional brewery. Looking to reaffirm its position as one of the preeminent craft breweries in the Rocky Mountain West, Snake River Brewing enlisted the help of New Thought Digital to update its brand and better define its central messaging.
Creative Challenges & Goals
• Modernize a brand with 25 years of visual equity
• Embrace an ethos of conservation and community
• Create a brand true to Wyoming’s outdoors culture
Snake River Brewing
In approaching the update to this treasured regional brand, the creative team at New Thought set out to create an identity that was entirely new, yet immediately familiar. Rather than “re-brand," it was important that the final result build upon the foundation set by Snake River Brewing’s first 25 years in market. Employing qualitative research techniques, New Thought gathered the insights of Snake River Brewing enthusiasts, staff, community members, and regional beer drinkers to inform our approach to creative development.
With a clear understanding of the brand’s most recognizable mechanics, New Thought began the update process by developing audience-centric brand language in the form of an executive summary and tagline. This language distinguishes the brand, and bookends an entire set of newly-established brand components such as: an own-able color palate, clear set of typefaces, and unique illustrations. These elements helped to inform the redesign of the organization’s updated logos, cans, tap handles and operational collateral.
Snake River Navy
Snake River Cream
Pantone 1365, 15% Tint
Snake River Pale Green
Jenny Lake Purple
Arguably a brewery’s single most recognizable piece of marketing collateral, the can or bottle a beer is shipped in is as essential to its identity as the quality of the beer itself. In establishing community and conservation as core components of Snake River Brewing’s brand, New Thought’s creative team chose to commission label illustrations from a diverse pedigree of artists from across the Snake River corridor. Bright colors help to distinguish seasonal varietals, and draw attention in crowded beer coolers.
For over 25 years, Snake River Brewing fans have felt a profound sense of ownership over the brewery’s beer. For this reason, we designed cans and labels that embrace this sentiment. Each beer label was designed to peel off of the can, revealing unique designs, illustrations, and anecdotes recognizable to those who are familiar with regional river culture. Furthermore, each label then breaks apart, creating a perfectly sized sticker which can be applied to cooler tops, rafts, water bottles, laptops and mini-fridge doors.
Inspired by the large wooden canoe paddle Snake River Brewing first used to stir the mash in its original copper fermenter, the new tap handles were created to be both practical and versatile. Leveraging large type, a tall, narrow profile, and bright contrasting colors, the tap handles are immediately visible from across a crowded bar. A unique magnetic nameplate for each beer allows for the production of a single tap handle for the entire line, making the roll out of new seasonal brews more cost effective.