Marketing to the Modern Craft Consumer: Design

July 9, 2020
Willie Richter

Everyday associations are often the framework for how we interpret products we see on the shelf. If we see a mountain, for example, then a feeling of crispness and freshness is elicited in our minds. If we see an explosion then we expect the taste of whatever we are drinking to be strong and slightly offsetting. 

In the world of craft beer, your bottle and package artwork is often the main marketing medium. Consumers who interact with your brand will most likely do so because they are interested in the design of your bottle, can, or box. Let's take a deep dive into how to make a consumers first interaction with your beverage memorable.


Labeling often begins with a broad idea of a company's goals. There is the big decision of minimalist or popping design. Then the color scheme, the content, and the structure. With so many possibilities in the discussion it is important to narrow the scope of your design as quickly as possible. 

In order to facilitate the process of filtering your design decisions, it is important to buckle down in the goals that drive your brand. Some brands are passionate about their roots and want to show off where they come from. Others are passionate about their flavors and need to encapsulate these flavors in every aspect of their design. 

The art you choose should be a reflection of these ideals. If you want to show off your roots then it is worth considering using a local artist to craft your artwork. If flavor is a top priority, then incorporating a fruit or hop in your artwork is probably a good idea.

Information Display

Artwork is a powerful tool to get your beer from the shelf to the consumers hand. What comes next is up to the content that you display on your bottle or can. Consumers will often look at the ABV, IBU, calories, and other metrics to determine whether they might like your brew. If this information is hard to find or not available at all then a customer will be turned off to that bottle/can and potentially your brand. 

One common way of displaying these metrics quickly without compromising your design is to use a grid-style pattern. The shelf-like look of grids can be easily incorporated into your design and will give you the ability to highlight your brews stats quickly and concisely.

In a world that is constantly focused on health and wellness, consumers expect to see how your brew will affect them. If they are looking for a lot of rich flavor they often look for a high ABV. If fitness is a top priority then low calories will be of the utmost importance. Either way customers want to find information, you might as well make it look good.

On the Box

As cliche as this sounds, the way to properly take advantage of what you put on the box is to think outside of the box. In the same way that a can or a bottle functions as a primary means of advertising, the box is an essential opportunity to let consumers know who you are. 

Many brands have explored using very bulky boxes to pop out among the rest of the boxes in a retail setting. Others have used clever means of making their box useful even after it is open and empty. You’re probably sensing a common theme at this point but it is essential to let your goals as a company direct your packaging decisions.

If you have created a brew that is meant to be consumed on a hot summer day in an outdoor setting then it is worth considering a box that can double as a cooler/drink holder. If you have crafted a brew that is centered around sharing with friends and family then an overly sized box that emphasizes room to share is a possible design. 


At the end of the day you most likely didn’t get into the craft business to become a tycoon, you had a passion for craft beverages and wanted to share it with the world. This should be evident in all that you do when it comes to the design of your brand. Craft consumers seek consistency. 

If you know a friend that changes their personality in different social settings to appease the people around them you know how irritating that can be. People respect those who stay true to themself, despite outside influence. Although it is important to appeal to consumers needs it is also important to play a role in shaping those needs through a consistency of choice.

Make sure that your design reflects this consistency. One way to do this is to have a few elements of your design that stay true despite your beer style. Once you have found those elements, make sure that you incorporate them in every label to string the products together and craft a simple idea that holds your brand together.