Branding Checkup: Brooklyn Brewery’s New Look


Graphic design legend Milton Glaser and Brooklyn Brewery co-founder Steve Hindy

The iconic Brooklyn Brewery brand is getting a makeover for the first time in 28 years. The company this week announced the launch of a full-scale revamp for its entire line of packaged products.

Intended to refresh Brooklyn Brewery’s look and bring uniformity to its packaging on the shelf, the new artwork was designed by the company’s longtime creative partner, Milton Glaser, who also designed Brooklyn’s logo and original label artwork when the brewery was founded in 1987.

“The new packaging is unmistakably Brooklyn Brewery, but it links our diverse portfolio together on the store shelves in a colorful billboard effect that has ‘shelf authority’ and is sure to inspire others,” Steve Hindy, co-founder and chairman of Brooklyn Brewery said in a post on the company’s website.

Brooklyn Brewery, the nation’s 12th largest craft beer company, is the latest in a long list of established brands updating their looks. Ninkasi and Uinta Brewing both announced similar branding updates earlier this week, and Full Sail Brewing unveiled its new logo and label designs last month. Others too, like Deschutes Brewery and Bell’s Brewery have also recently rebranded.

Matt Taylor, founder and creative director of Varnish Studio Inc. in Denver, believes the growing number of upstart breweries entering the space has pushed older brands toward more modern designs.

“A lot of the new guys are coming in with some pretty cool branding,” Taylor told Brewbound. “There’s a lot more visual competition right now and it’s becoming a crowded market.”

With more than 4,300 craft breweries currently operating in the United States, Taylor explained that many are looking for new and creative ways to stand out on the shelf — whether it be a completely redesigned logo or more uniform packaging intended to group products into clear brand families.

“I think it is good to do a brand check-up on a somewhat regular basis and to look at [the brand] with a critical eye,” he said. “But change for change’s sake is not something to do in any circumstance.”

Brooklyn Brewery new packaging Lager 6 pack

Taylor, who has designed award-winning packaging for The Lost Abbey and The Bruery, praised Brooklyn’s new packaging and explained that similarly well-established brands should avoid making too many changes to their brand assets. He also praised Glaser, who at 87-years old remains a graphic design legend after producing the ubiquitous “I ♥ NY” logo.

“I’m glad that they stuck with the ‘B,’” he said. “The ‘B’ is very iconic and I’d say it’s the strongest part of their brand. They chose to make a small-step move instead of something radical which is probably a well-advised decision with someone this established.”

While not every brewery has been lucky enough to launch with the help of a prolific designer, Taylor said that some owners may want to reconsider using the artwork a friend or family member might have made for the brewery when it first launched.

“You’re really not going to hold back on your ingredients,” he said. “In the same way, a good designer will be able put together the best ingredients for your visual brew so to speak.”

Brooklyn Brewery’s American Ale will be the first product available in the new packing. The company plans to release new six-packs of Sorachi Ace Farmhouse Ale next, followed by the remainder of the lineup.

Check out photos of the rebranded look below. Additional details are available on Brooklyn’s blog and in a lengthy feature from Fast Company.

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