I started this feature off a few weeks ago with the best craft beer logos in Ontario, and this time I'll rank the best full-line branding. This top ten will be looking at all packaging; cans, bottle art, bottle shape, boxes, tags, and caps, and determining which breweries have the best overall presentation for their beers. Some pics are mine, some are from the brewery, but I've also borrowed some from the interweb, so if you see one of your pics and you want me to take it down, just let me know.
10. Sawdust City Brewing Co.
Sawdust City has always been pushing the limits with some extremely long and quirky beer names. Now they're taking their graphics game to the next level as well. Cool looking graphics, bright colours, and "Old West" inspired fonts now have their labels living up to such grandiose names as "The Princess Wears Girl Pants" and "Long, Dark Voyage To Uranus." Definitely some cool shit happening here.
9. Collective Arts Brewing Co.
Huge points for originality here. The whole premise of this brewery is "art + brewing," so it's kind of cool to see a brewery further its own brand by promoting artists. The bottles are simple, the logo is simple but good, but the fact that every bottle's label is literally a work of art has to put Collective Arts on this list. As the old saying goes: "Collect 'em all!"
8. Steam Whistle Brewing
When you're a brewery that only sells one beer your marketing game better be strong. Steam Whistle's is, and they've slapped their now uber-recognizable logo and colours onto every conceivable beer related item you could think of. From their suitcase 12-pack to their fleet of classic cars and trucks, Steam Whistle has made sure their pilsner won't soon be forgotten.
7. Nickel Brook Brewing
Much like Great Lakes Brewing, Nickel Brook recently took their branding from terribly dated to next-level. The difference is undeniably effective, and it brings much more credibility to Nickel Brook's rather vast line-up of excellent beers. Particularly awesome is Nickel Brook's lineup of vintage-looking cans, and their new "scientific" logo also scores big points, especially when you compare it to their original artwork.
6. Amsterdam Brewery
Amsterdam Brewery's line-up of products are yet another that have been completely re-branded. Their old products weren't really that bad, but the new stuff is definitely a huge improvement. Variety is the spice of life, and there is some serious variety going on here. Different bottles, different colours, different label styles, and completely different design elements from product to product make Amsterdam's line-up possibly the most diverse in Ontario.
5. Great Lakes Brewery
GLB did some much-needed re-branding a short while ago, and they instantly went from 90's-looking cheesy to the company whose new bottles you can't wait to see. The bottle for Karma Citra is a work of art in itself, and their new cans bring instant credibility to a line of brews that used to look like they might have been made on Microsoft Paint. If anyone doesn't think branding is important then take a look at the can on the left, and compare it to their new gear down below. What product would you buy first?
4. Royal City Brewing
Because of Ontario's fucked up beer distribution system, folks in Ottawa can't get a beer from a Guelph brewery unless it gets purchased by a macro-shit-conglomerate, or the LCBO decides to randomly carry it. So, I've never had a beer from Royal City, but it's one of those breweries who's packaging automatically makes me think that the beer will be good. Compare that to Trafalger, which brews ok beer but who's packaging makes me think that everything is made in some dude's basement. That is the power of good branding, and Royal City's shit looks amazing.
3. Muskoka Brewery
Another brewery that completely re-branded, Muskoka now has one of the sharpest lines in Ontario. The new bottle shape only adds to the quaint cottage feel that they've achieved with their amazing northern Ontario package scenery and monotone but bright colour schemes. Between their completely original look and the unmistakeable and iconic chair, Muskoka is one of the most easily recognizable brands by far.
2. Bellwoods Brewery
Although Bellwoods didn't make my list of top-ten logos (it was very close), their over-all branding package is one of the best out there. Each label is a work of art in itself, and despite the fact that there is definitely a retro-industrial theme that laces all of these together, there is also a uniqueness to each one, as well as a massive variety of colour and shape. I love the 500ml bottles, and the simple white and red cap with the prominent "bell" logo is sharp as well. Although there's a "bell" on a million logos out there, I think that the Bellwoods bell could really starting to get some stand-alone brand recognition.
1. Beau's All Natural Brewing Co.
I have no clue which brewery started the trend of making an amazing new label for every beer they release, but Beau's has got to be one of the originals. Amazing labels, bottle tags with real twine, unique bottles, eye-catching boxes...you name it, Beau's has mastered it. Trying to show every cool bottle and bottle cap that Beau's has released over the years would probably destroy your data for the month, but here's a selection that illustrates why nobody can touch these guys when it comes to branding.
Spearhead Brewing Co.
Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery
MacKinnon Brothers Brewing