Branding & Marketing Beer in a Weird New World

14.08.20

Amid a pandemic and a shaky economy, it’s a scary time for craft breweries. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re riding out the storm, here’s eight tips for branding and marketing beer.

Tip #7: Know what people are picking

The world being in turmoil doesn’t mean craft beer aficionados have given up on seeking out what’s next. Whether it’s low-cal hazy IPAs or quality NA’s, keep your ear to the ground and try to offer the latest trends.

Tip #6: Double down on the merch game

You need your walking billboards more than ever. Give customers a chance to show they’re wise to craft beer trends by making your online shop easy to navigate.

If you’re sitting on old stock, encourage people to make their first online order with a giveaway (free tees perform miracles).

Tip #5: Lean into local love

In the wake of economic destruction, consumers are rallying for the little guy. In many areas of their lives, people are hesitating when they reach for brand names and saying, ‘maybe I’ll try something local.’

Make that your opportunity to become a staple in their beer rotation.

Tip #4: Plan on pick-up for the long haul

Don’t mistake pick-up and delivery for temporary, situational phenomena. Brands like Starbucks are planning their real estate futures around pick-up-only locations—are you?

Tip #3: Dig in on social media

Now’s the time to go all-in on social media engagement. Craft beer is a space where consumers love a behind-the-scenes look at what’s going on. Pick a platform and check in daily to share your beer making process.

It doesn’t have to be a massive commitment—one quick video a day is a big step up from none!

Tip #2: Get you beer on people’s doorsteps

Maybe you’ve got the packaging, but how do you get on board with deliveries? Team up with local restaurants to offer beers with their food deliveries. If you’re a bigger operation, look into pairing with specialty delivery services like Drizly.

And anyone can do local deliveries themselves—even if it starts with you doing it yourself with a bike and a basket!

Tip #1: Find new ways to package six packs

Carry beer away

Consumers are more comfortable than ever picking up and having products delivered straight to their door—beer included. Rethink how you bundle beers and take advantage.

You might offer variety packs and other incentives. And of course there’s the packaging itself. Pair up with designers to make sure every six pack your customers carry down the street is a billboard for the best beer in town.

We’ll release a new tip every week, but you can get a sneak peek from O Street director David Freer.

How to Pass the Nine Foot Test

06.07.20

Here’s how to pass the nine foot test:

1 Catch the eye
2 Put brand first
3 Test for legibility

A brand where we recently put the nine foot test to work was Full Circle Brew Co., where we had the advantage of A/B testing can designs as we developed them against craft beers already in the market.

But what exactly is the ‘nine foot test’? It’s a simple idea. When a person stands three meters away from a shelf at the pub or shop, your product should stand out and your branding should be recognizable. That’s it.

And while the idea is simple, execution is a different matter. That’s why we’ve got a few tricks to help beer cans and whiskey bottles sell in a crowded market. Not surprisingly, they’re timeless design tactics.

1 Catch the eye

Whether it’s bold colour, a geometric layout or an unusual material, the first step is to catch the eye. Take this whisky for the otherwise traditional Glenglassaugh; in a market where the ‘proper’ whiskies tend to play it safe, the circular and textured tree illustration grabs your eye.

2 Put brand first

A strong visual brand helps loyal fans find your product. When we branded Fyne Ales, we created the ‘farm house’ graphic to anchor every can, bottle and cask tag. Even when product names and auxiliary graphics change, the brand consistently attracts repeat customers.

3 Test for legibility

A poster or billboard is only effective if it communicates from a distance while the user is moving—treat your products the same. Put your label designs up on the wall and walk by to see if they can be read at a glance. Wherever you can adjust typography to make it more legible, do it. We recently used this test for McHenry Brewing Co.’s new crowler cans to help introduce them into local markets.

While there’s no surefire way to win the battle of shelf recognizability, putting nine foot test to work will give you an advantage. What’s your favourite example of a product that pops off the shelf?

We Got a George

02.07.20

The O Street team is chuffed to announce we’ve added a new designer to our Glasgow team. Meet George Creese.

George Creese

George is yet another Edinburgh College of Art hire for O Street (we swear it’s not intentional). He brings a good pair of design hands and a keen eye to the studio. It’s a strange time to be joining a design team, with on-boarding taking place over Google Meet and Slack. However, the O family is used to remote practices and George takes our video conference dad jokes like a champ.

Design folio 1 Counter Culture Poetry book George Creese Instagram

Keep an eye out for his addition to our ongoing list Love in the Time of Corona.

Love in the Time of Corona

20.04.20

An ongoing list of things getting team O Street through the days of COVID-19 quarantine

Know your trees, they deserve it!

I’ve been trying to up my Grandad skills during Lockdown. These are the things I feel it’s my responsibility to know by the time I’m a Grandad, and being able to identify trees is definitely one of those.

Inspired in part by Tessa’s post, I bought an old Observer’s book of British Trees online for £6, and have been flashing my new knowledge to my uninterested friends ever since. Trees are important, and in increasingly virtual times, trees are a real bastion of physicality and permanence. Besides, your imaginary future grandchildren will thank you for it.

-George

Release the Bats

I may be channeling my inner goth but I have a soft spot for bats. Like fireflies and silver birch, they are things of wonder. On odd slow evenings of lockdown, their antics have moved me to poetry. Sorry about that.

Sleek imperceptibles are back

Instantaneously around and past my window

At this height they are in their city element

Dancing

Weaving splendour

Glimpsed only at the bank of a turn TV slowed

You will crash into me

Then graceful a halt

Away

Where I used to hear in the child woods

Insanely fast at the back of your head

And fragments of mayfly bent

Tiny pips squeaks chatter rattle

Sadly I no longer detect

Old sounds

Out of old range

Leaves

Just a black dizzy blur

Quick

Beautiful

And gone

Tarred

To the back of mine eyes

— Neil

MOM I CAN’T SAVE, IT’S ONLINE

When I was in secondary school, there was a period where I played a lot of Halo 3. There was a group of us who strived to make the time between saying goodbye to each other at school and greeting each other on Sandtrap (the best Halo 3 map don’t even argue) as short as possible. This period of life is long gone, as other things just took precedent, such as pubs and the great outdoors.

Turns out as soon as those are taken away again, I’m back to shooting strangers with friends, and it has been an extremely comforting form of escapism. Apex Legends is the game that has stolen my heart, and too much of my time, perfectly riding the line between ‘challenging enough to make a win feel just fantastic’ and ‘really fun gameplay that makes it enjoyable to play regardless of skill or lack thereof’. This is great when you lose 98% of the matches you play, and what’s even better is when you are losing all those matches with GOOD FRIENDS.

– Jonny

Crafty Carving

“Every year since moving to Glasgow, Jason has cycled round the Isle of Cumbrae for his birthday. We couldn’t go this year, for obvious reasons, so I made a wooden representation of the island (and local seals)for him.”

Anna has been carving wonderful creations. Follow her magic over on Instagram @annalisedunn, and get inspired to get a saw for yourself!

– Anna (sort of)

The Super Smooth & Soothing Sounds of Hiroshi Yoshimura

A pioneer of Japanese ambient music, Hiroshi Yoshimura perfectly blended minimal electronic music with babbling brooks and singing birds. It’s exactly what you need right now. Trust me.

As a starting point, listen through his best regarded on Spotify, settle into a chill evening with the perfect track Dance PM, or melt into the floor to the sound of my personal favorite, Quiet Forest.

– Josh

Freer Bros. Decade Playlists

As the most competitive four brothers this side of the Clyde, the Freer brothers have combined two lockdown clichés into one epic battle: online quizzes and playlists.

For the past four weeks we’ve agreed a decade and each voted for our fave song in each year, then all voted on the final ten at the end of the week. We’ve limited ourselves to choosing an artist only once a decade (no need to create another Bob Dylan greatest hits playlist!) and have scrapped it out on a zoom call if there is a draw on any years.

I’d like to say I have dominated each playlist, but there is no account for taste, and even my misspelling of the songs on the Google form (bonus points if you spot the deliberate mistake in the pic) is not influencing their decisions. We’re back in the Seventies this week, what a freakin’ decade, the Beatles’ last album and the Cure’s first. Hell, this is gonna be hard!

(Message me if you want me to send you any of the winning playlists!)

– David

Letterboxd

It’s likely that right now you’re watching more movies than you’ve ever watched since the days of first year uni where you’d crush a couple DVDs over your morning bowl(s) of Frosted Wheaties. It’s also easier than ever, with a new streaming service to pour your cash into every couple of weeks.

To make the most of this new frontier of home cinema, we need recommendations from trusted sources so that we don’t accidentally watch all of Sandler’s back catalogue. Letterboxd.com is a social media platform created solely for watching, logging, loving, dissing, researching, scrolling and bragging about films.

And I love it! I’ve watched loads of stuff I’d never even think about if it wasn’t for a glowing review by a trusted Letterboxd follow. Get it! Follow me! @jmowatstuff! I follow back!!!!!

– Jonny

Those Quirky Old Observer’s Books

With green spaces surrounding my new rural dwelling, my latest screen distraction takes the form of bird watching. My dad gifted me this observers book of birds when I was 8, but it’s been dormant and forgotten during my years of city living.

Now in lockdown, taking a bit of time in the morning with this book and the binoculars is giving me a new appreciation for the flow of little lives , of changing seasons and the consistency of nature that is always shifting, always moving forwards.

– Tessa

‘I got blisters on my fingers!!!’

I’ve taken this enforced lockdown as a chance to sit down and learn a new tune on the guitar. Inspired after listening to the soundtrack to Devs (see previous inspiration!) I’ve been following some YouTube tutorials to learn how to fingerpick Guinnevere by Crosby, Stills & Nash.

YouTube is amazing for guitar tutorials, I wish I had had it as a teenager. Not blessed with perfect pitch or a good ear, I don’t know how the hell else I would have worked out David Crosby’s fiendish picking pattern or guitar tuning.

Not sure my wife was too happy with the first two days repeating the first three notes for hours, but now I have the pattern down, its sounding pretty good. Just need my fingertips to heal up a bit!

– David

Living on the Earth

“This book is for people who would rather chop wood than work behind a desk”.

I stumbled upon (literally, I found it outside) this 1970 hand-written and illustrated hippie classic by Alicia Bay Laurel and it’s been a magic ride lazily picking through it on sun-baked afternoons. Touching on everything from backpacking to gardening to handmade clothes to building your own funeral pyre in the woods, it’s a nice reminder that just a few decades ago, there really were people who made a go of choosing the slow—but vigorous—life.

It’s worth thinking about as a slower life is now being forced on us. Now back to the garden to water the tomatoes.

–Josh

Instant Noodles

In a time where comfort is a precious commodity, my teenage love for 3 minute noods has returned. Stronger than ever. I’m currently in the midst of a ramen packet Battle Royale, trying as many flavours and brands I can get my hands on (which is a surprisingly varied thanks to the Tesco and Morrison’s international food sections). Give it up for the quickest, tastiest, saltiest lunch out there.

–Jonny

Climbing Mountains (Sort of)

This past weekend, I was supposed to be bouncing around the hills in Torridon with a few gals from my walking group Mountain Burdz. Four days of big hikes, scrambles and cooking up mountain-fuel dinners together. With certain things getting in the way of our plans, we still wanted to do something together, something beyond a zoom call.

A trend that’s been sweeping the outdoor community during lockdown has been climbing the equivalent height of mountains on your staircase. So, inspired by this, we opted to create our own challenge of climbing 1326m of ascent—the height for Liathach in Torridon—on our various steps and stairs. We invited anyone to join us and ended up with a group of eight of us across the country messaging, sharing videos and snaps from our walks and steps.

All in all, a weekend of running up and down steps isn’t quite the same as climbing one of Torridon’s finest hills, but we gave it our best shot anyway and had a fun time walking ‘together’ from home. It’s a weird time we find ourselves in, but it was great to do this as a way of staying motivated and feeling connected even though we’re apart.

We’re taking on a similar challenge this weekend, this time in aid of raising donations towards Women’s Fund Scotland. So, if you’d like to help us stay motivated as we do hundreds of reps up and down our stairs, please donate if you are able!

– Tessa

Bob Dylan, Murder Most Foul

On Nick Cave’s ‘The Red Hand Files Issue #91’, Douglas from Glasgow wondered whether Bob’s new recording ‘Murder Most Foul’ might be a masterpiece. I listened to the song over and over and found myself in agreement. I had the sense of everything being drawn down; all the music Dylan has ever made; everything everyone else has ever done, copied or borrowed from the things Dylan has made.

The books of modern America distilled into permanent poetry and all this rolled into one mesmerising assembly. Perhaps the demands of this record go some way to explaining why Bob is Bob? Why the rest of us listen to great music and also terrible music? For a medium with a singular vinyl groove, Murder Most Foul seems very non-linear. It follows its own abstract path.

Coming as it does in a strange and disjointed time of virus, it feels as if something seismic is forming. Both comforting and distressing, it is a profound reminder of the power of song. I wonder where the path will take us?

– Neil

Baking Sourdough

Yeah yeah, every dude and betty is baking during quarantine. However, the fascination with sourdough among the fellas at O St predates the epidemic by months and we have the ‘sourbros’ Slack channel to prove it.

If you’ve been resistant until now, we do heartily recommend you meet your inner sourdough baker. There’s something essential and elemental about the physicality, science and self sustainability that makes it a perfect storm of a hobby.

Jonny recommends this wholesaler for flour, and Pizza Camp if you want to take the journey to the next level.

–Jonny

Radiooooo

As a global studio, being stuck at home has been frustrating. To help create the illusion of international (and time!) travel, we’ve all been dipping into this map of musical hits spanning decades and the world! I highly recommend Cuba in the 1970’s for some fun, or Mongolia in the 80’s for a trippy chill out!

– David

(Radiooooo is also a free mobile app and we suggest using it for social distance street parties with your neighbours.)

Devs

Devs is a tale of Silicon Valley dystopia from visionary writer and director Alex Garland (who gave us Ex Machina — it’s time to see that as well if you’ve missed out). Nick Offerman plays a brilliant tech founder haunted by personal loss in a tense, beautiful drama that only asks for eight hours of your life.

It gets into the weeds of parallel universes, determinism, free will, and living in a simulation, so make sure don’t you watch it with your theoretical physics enthusiast friends. They’ll spend the whole time blabbering over the beautiful soundtrack.

– Josh

GSFF2020 – A Retrospective

03.04.20

Like many festivals, The 2020 Glasgow Short Film Festival has been postponed. Rather than leaving short film fans with another disappointment to deal with, they generously hosted 12 short films over 5 days on their website.

I’ve always been meaning to make more of an effort with short films. There’s loads out there for free on the World Wide Web, and it also feels good to support independent filmmakers (shoutout to our filmmaker pals Just Trek & Pretend Lovers). Anyway, here are some highlights to share from my 5 days of visual feasting.

How The Earth Must See Itself (A Thirling) – Directed by Lucy Cash & Simone Kenyon


“Such illusions drive home the truth that our habitual vision of things is not necessarily right. It is only one of an infinite number, and to glimpse an unfamiliar one, even for a moment, unmakes us.” This quote stuck with me, but didn’t really understand everything else. It looked stunning though, especially with it all being shot on film. Love those grainy frames!

 

Maneater Directed by Sandra Isacsson & Caroline Wallén

Repulsive and beautiful in equal measure. A great experiment pushing the boundaries of your everyday bloke. So dang awkward and so dang funny. And so many dang vests.

 

New Land Broken Road – Directed by Kavich Neang

This was rad, even though I have no idea what the story was or what that random shot with a cockerel was all about. A couple of great dance sequences bookending a charming scene that consists of candid dialogue and Cambodian street food. That’s a-okay with me!

 

Jealous Alan – Directed by Martin Clark

Quite odd but riveting without much actually happening. Nice shooting style to it, and distinctively Scottish without being cringey which is surprisingly hard to do.

 

Boys Night – Directed by James Price

Whoa. That was a smasher. Almost made me cry. Would love to watch a full length film set in Glasgow by these folks. Performances and directing style were class!

 

A Whale’s Tale – Directed by Giovanna Utichi and Robin Celebi

Polly: It was a reminder of what we do to the animals that live in the ocean. I really think children won’t take it for granted anymore.
Sully: I thought it was boring.

Sunday – Directed by Neil Stubbings

Polly: It had a twist and it made your mouth water.
Sully: It reminds me of pudding.

(Illustrations by Polly Freer, aged 8)

 

Thanks again to GSFF2020 for providing a place to watch all of these great films, and I hope this encourages y’all to peruse Vimeo and the likes during your lunch breaks. What are lunch breaks, I hear you ask? Doesn’t matter, here’s a bunch of my favourite videos to get you started.

– Jonny

A Design Studio’s Must-Watch Christmas Movies

16.12.19

Ah, that time of year for a seasonal blog post. Put another log on the fire and curl up with one—or six—of our favourite holiday flicks.

Christmas Vacation

Penned by the crown prince of 80s films himself, John Hughes’ Christmas Vacation is a love letter to middle-class fatherhood steeped in Midwestern American lore. Picking a favorite scene like trying to rank order the Beatles’ greatest hits: this could take hours, just put the damn thing on.

In a film that’s as tragic as it is funny, witnessing Clark Griswald burn the perfect family Christmas to the ground is a necessary reminder that the only way to make sure something goes wrong is to obsess over it going right.
—Josh

Home Alone

A pure nostalgia trip, Home Alone has become one of those annual family traditions now — just like cranberry sauce or political debates at the dinner table. Growing up we considered Macaulay Culkin the smartest kid around town and I still remember marveling at those cartoonishly violent DIY traps. Also top marks for one of the worst and best insults ever to be gifted to children: “Kevin, you’re such a DISEASE!”
—Tessa

Edward Scissorhands

After exhausting herself arguing that Edward Scissorhands is, in fact, a Christmas movie to her terrible coworkers, Anna has nothing left to say. Just go and watch this beautiful film from Tim Burton at the height of his powers.
—Anna

Hooves of Fire

Steve Coogan. Ardal O’ Hanlon. Ricky Tomlinson! Paul Whitehouse & Harry Enfield!! I mean COME ON! This weird claymation TV short somehow made its way into my Christmas in when it was released as a Comic Relief promo in 1999, and somehow never left. Claymation at Christmas is a strong Mowat tradition, and this one was the one we’d watch when we’d ran out of Wallace & Gromit.

Full of gloriously dumb gags only made possible with claymation, as well as a good bit of blue for t’dads, it’s a great family watch. Robbie “I’m a rubbish reindeer. I’m even a rubbish elf. I’m worse than rubbish. If they tossed me in the rubbish bin, the other rubbish would say…” *Cuts to Robbie in a pile of rubbish* Rubbish: “There goes the neighborhood.”
—Jonny

Trading Places

It was proved to me how badly dated this movie is when I made the younger contingent of the studio watch it with me before last year’s office Christmas party—the politically correct millennial equivalent to torturing terrorists by making them listen to Britney Spears on repeat. Through their eyes I now fully appreciate the cringe factor of the overt nudity, racial stereotypes and surface level moral lessons that are rife in the film.

But man, this movie was formative in my comedic upbringing, and it will always hold a dear place in my heart. “Shit, when I was young you had to fart in the bath to make a jacuzzi!”
—David

White Christmas

I looked at a top 50 list of Christmas movies and picked the first one.
—Neil, full of cheer