In 2016, Dave McCormack of Waukeshaw Development was looking to open his second brewery. And this time, he wanted to do something radically different. In a craft market overrun by a kaleidoscope of complex, palate-exploding brews, he wanted a product and brand that felt simple, unpretentious, nostalgic. An “anti-craft, craft beer,” as he put it. Most of all the brewery had to be driven by a vision that influenced every decision and shaped every expression of the brand.
Early strategy defined our target audience as the “curious craft drinker” — a large and growing contingent of consumers that were interested in craft beer, yet a bit overwhelmed at the variety of choices and steep learning curve required.
Joe Smith knew the brewery had to be steeped in a real sense of place. Digging into local lore, we came across the legend of the Beale’s treasure, rumored to be buried somewhere near the brewery. This provided the spark of inspiration that would influence every expression of the brand-to-be.
Joe Smith began by creating a naming architecture that honored the source material as well as the intended strategy of radical simplicity: The flagship lager would be Beale’s Gold, with Silver, Red, Black and Brown rounding out the signature styles. A brand platform codified the brand purpose, personality and positioning, summarized by the tagline “Simple Thrills for Curious Folks.” Visual identity and packaging married a nostalgic familiarity with subtle touches of mystery. Finally, Joe Smith designed a taproom experience and signature touchpoints to engage customers in a uniquely Beale’s way.
The response has been overwhelming. Curious folks continue to flock to the brewery, causing Beale’s to beat sales projections twice over. They doubled production of Beale’s Gold to keep up with demand, and ramped up distribution statewide.