Beer Packaging Design and Branding

Branding and Packaging Design for Stony Creek Brewery

Over the past 12 months, we’ve worked on a pretty exciting local project – branding and beer packaging design for Stony Creek Brewery in Branford, CT.  We’ve been fortunate enough to have worked with several other beer brands when we worked with Star Brand Imports (a now shuttered division of Heineken). Stony Creek first approached us in 2013 asking us to rework their previous packaging. Though the timing wasn’t right then, we were fortunately able to revisit this project a year later. We focused our efforts on a new approach that ultimately lead to the success that we see today which involved working with an illustrator.

The team at Stony Creek had a pretty defined vision of what they were looking for in their beer packaging – a heron with attitude. We first looked for illustrators nationwide before Andy Schwartz, brewmaster, put us in contact with his friend and local artist, Lisa Sotero. After giving Lisa initial direction and working to revise a few rounds of concepts, she delivered to us a set of illustrations that became the core of Stony Creek’s brand. These illustrations acted as the starting place for us to develop various designs for each of Stony Creek’s beer series.
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Illustrations Provided by Lisa Sotero for Stony Creek Brewery’s Beer Packaging Design

The Initial “Dock Time” Beer Packaging Designs

From this point, we were assigned to develop concepts of various styles for “Dock Time Amber Lager,” using Lisa’s illustrations. It’s safe to say that Matt Durand, senior art director, and I were excited about this project as we proceeded to generate seven unique packaging designs solely for “Dock Time.” This upfront work eventually paid off with four of the designs being adapted to work for the other beer packages in the series.

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The bottom row of concepts were chosen and repurposed as follows (from left to right): Cranky series, Flip The Bird series, Dock Time Amber Lager, Seasonal beer series. The style of each beer package design is approached differently for each series of beer, creating variation within the set of consistent illustrations.

The months after these initial selections and decisions were made included working more with Lisa on supporting illustrations, building out variations of these concepts to span across multiple packages per series, and establishing brand identity for Stony Creek Brewery. Much like the beer package design assignment, the new branding was to be centered around the heron. A few logo experimentations occurred before landing on the final lockup and badge.

A look at the Stony Creek Branding ProgressionOne by one the packages were completed and rolled out for print – another exciting process in itself. Dock Time Beer being the initial release of Stony Creek’s new branding, positioned the brewery as a significant contender in the Connecticut craft beer scene, and marked the opening of their amazing new brewery. Almost all of the beers have been released at this point.  Additionally, we built the new Stony Creek Brewery website to coincide with the revamped packaging and the opening of their amazing brewery.

A Deeper Glimpse into the Process & Progress of Stony Creek Beer Package Designs