LOCAL TIMEZONE
CAPE TOWN
KENYA
GHANA
BUILDING A BEER BRAND

by | Jan 31, 2022 | Beer

OUR VISION FOR LOCAL BREWERY & CO

 

We love beer. We’ve always loved beer. (One would hope – starting a beer brand in a pandemic would have proven all the more difficult should we not love beer.) But as a woman drinking beer, I can’t count the number of times a stranger felt the need to tell me how strange it was that a woman was drinking a Lager.

The perception of masculinity in a glass is, of course, absurd. There are whole swathes of us pouring our cold one of choice on a hot summer’s day – including our own grand doyenne of beer in South Africa, Lucy Corne. To quote her Good Beer Hunting profile, Lucy “is a BJCP judge, author of two books on South African craft beer, co-founder of the African Beer Cup and the continent’s first certified Cicerone.” If that’s girly business, I want in.

When it came time to think of how we wanted to represent ourselves in market, we wanted to steer away from this glaringly incorrect stereotype. No manly-man chest-beating for us thanks.

During research phases I dared to Google “marketing beer to women” and was horrified at what I found – surely not everything needs to be swaddled in pink for it to be accessible? Not only this – what about anyone outside of the binary who also just want to be able to comfortably enjoy a pint?

These are the pain points we communicated to Daniel Ting Chong, the designer who would take our desire to look different to heart. We wanted to be accessible, neutral, and playful. You could be a metal-head biker, or our moms, and still feel at home with one of our products.

 

It does bear mentioning that I never experienced any of the above prejudices from actual beer industry stalwarts, who have been nothing but welcoming.

LOCAL Brewery & Co: a beer that's universally local. White font on black background.

WHAT’S IN A NAME: OUR LOCAL

 

Euan and I are creatures of habit. No matter where we find ourselves, it will take us approximately 11 minutes to find the nearest bagel joint. We have a favourite beach, coffee shop, sandwich spot – the comfort of arriving at a home away from home is what we wanted to communicate most in our own business. Everyone has a local – if you’re like us you’ll have more than one, each serving its own purpose in your life. 

After many rounds of Where everybody knows your name, but Cheers was taken” jokes, we settled on LOCAL. Your local, our LOCAL. 

The concept of “a local” looks and feels different to everyone, but no matter where you are, who you’re with, or what you drink, there is always a place that feels like home. We wanted to be that. Inspired by this, Daniel drew from passport stamps and various other design elements to showcase that no matter where you go, you have a bit of LOCAL with you. Along with this, he looked to the curves of a beer glass, bringing those lines to the forefront in our brandmark – we all know the appeal of a bead of condensation sliding down the contours of a glass. 

And so, LOCAL was born.

Daniel Ting Chong's pencil sketch logo experiments for LOCAL Brewery & Co

Various red and blue LOCAL wordmark logo experiments on white

BRINGING LOCAL TO LIFE

 

Beer brands all around the world sometimes run the risk of looking similar to their peers, because there are traditional nuances in typography and shapes that brands incorporate into their design that reinforces what beer should look and sound like. 

Daniel aimed to achieve something different for LOCAL – not to be different for the sake of it, but to raise the question — “Why can’t a beer brand look like this?” and intersect a frequently masculine design approach. 

 

“I wanted to create a beer brand that was inclusive and felt familiar to everyone.” – Daniel Ting Chong

 

When Daniel presented us with his direction, we were immediately uncomfortable. True to the brief, it wasn’t what we knew a beer brand to look like. However, each of the values that we felt strongly about had been brought to life, and once we understood that, we came to love it. He left no stone unturned in his design decisions. 

LOCAL Brewery & Co's wordmark - blue LOCAL lettering on taupe background, encases in a red grid format.

It was colourful, playful, poking a bit of fun – the palette was inspired by the deep and vibrant colours that we find all around us at home and as we travel. The colour and iconography sets were designed to be modular, allowing us to switch out any colour or element and still have it feel like part of the LOCAL design family.

LOCAL Brewery & Co's colour palette inspiration: rows of images in the brand's blue, red, yellow, cream, and pink.

LOCAL Brewery & Co's colour palette inspiration: columns showcasing the brand's blue, red, yellow, cream, and pink colour scheme codes.

The concept derived from Pangea when the world was once connected – no one was a foreigner and borders didn’t exist. This was important for the concept going forward as you simply can’t represent something as specific as a “local” to everyone. It could be your local soccer team, the local painter who only does sea murals, the local train that is always late to the local café where you have breakfast every Saturday. 

We never wanted to homogenize the experience of something so personal and diverse, but we did want to build something that felt personal to everyone we touched in some small way.

 

“We needed to create a new world, a LOCAL world for everyone.”

 

LOCAL Brewery & Co branding mockups as wheat paste posters on a wall showcasing the bottles, cans, and colours.

We would like to extend a very big thank you to the South African beer community for your warm welcome and support in these early days. We are so grateful that many of you have already turned our taproom into your local, and can’t wait to see where this journey will take us.

 

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2 LOCAL Lager drafts on a concrete bar counter in the Local Brewery & Co taproom in Woodstock. Founder Euan Johnstone is in a blue tshirt, handing the viewer a beer. standing in front of his silver fermenters.
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