Steel Bender Brewyard and The Alison Group Collaborate on Retro Style Tap Handles

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — As part of its 2020 marketing campaign, New Mexico-based craft brewer Steel Bender Brewyard drew on its local roots—and roads–for inspiration in the design of their custom tap handles. The family-owned brewers recently teamed up with The Alison Group to bring the whimsical custom tap handles to life.

The vintage concept for the tap handles, three unique designs in all, is based on old Route 66 business roadside signs and compliment the award-winning graphics on their beer cans. It’s meant to evoke a 1930’s-1950’s American-spirit nostalgia.

“Albuquerque is part of historic Route 66, which used to be the artery through America. Along the southwest part of 66, gas station signs, hotel signs, restaurants would all have gaudy neon signs trying to grab travelers’ attention,” said Ethan Chant, whose family founded the two-year-old brewery. “The towering signs would evoke bright colors and (neo) Art Deco sensibilities and were basically an abstract version of the vehicles of that time. Tap handles are the modern highway sign.”

The iconic custom tap handles are a key component of the craft brewer’s long-term marketing plans and will go to draught accounts throughout the state.

Already awarded with several ADDYs for its packaging designs, Steel Bender will use the new tap handles to promote their core offerings along with specialty/seasonal flavors such as Raspberry Dynamite and their new line of ciders.

“We originally thought we were only going to be a brewery taproom but as it became apparent that we could sell our beer ‘in the wild’ we wanted to make sure our brand was represented and stood out in a sea of amazing New Mexico craft beers,” Chant said.

To bring the funky vivid tap handles to life, Steel Bender went to the design and POP experts at The Alison Group.

“The tap handle is a brewery’s calling card,” said Tony Azar, regional vice president of The Alison Group. “It should be special enough to stand out in a dark room so the client sitting in the back thinks, ‘Hey, that’s a cool looking tap. I have to try that beer.”

Steel Bender has collaborated previously with The Alison Group on a variety of POP-related projects. With decades of experience, the Alison Group provides a complete array of promotional, design, manufacturing and fulfillment services, both domestic and international, and across all industries. Visit for details.

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