“You can have the best beer, but a label is what sells the product,”

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by sandiego67, Jul 20, 2012.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Crusader (736) Dec 9, 2011 Colorado
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    You mean the Swedish Bikini team's career is over? Oh, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
  2. mdomask

    mdomask Aspirant (274) May 27, 2012 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    That attitude is exactly what many craft brewers play into. In a way, it's just as much marketing as girls in bikinis and Spuds McKenzie :slight_smile:

    Look at all the "edgy" and "extreme" labels out there. A lot are pretty much the craft beer equivalent of Hot Topic.
    meefmoff, Providence and Longstaff like this.
  3. BOBPINCH666

    BOBPINCH666 Initiate (0) Feb 21, 2011 New York

    Non-packaging is packaging.
  4. brewbetter

    brewbetter Initiate (0) Jun 2, 2012 Nauru

    I think labels are as important as other forms of marketing, which is very important to the vast majority of people. That being said, my experience in craft beer leads me to believe that a lot of people check ratings and buy entirely based on that such that the label makes no difference to a certain group of buyers.
  5. Longstaff

    Longstaff Initiate (0) May 23, 2002 Massachusetts

    Well if the dusty bottles of Lost Abby beers I see in my area are any indication of his theory, LA must have sucky labels.
    TMoney2591, dumptruck81 and mdomask like this.
  6. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,034) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Beer Trader


    this beer must suck...
    djsmith1174 likes this.
  7. Longstaff

    Longstaff Initiate (0) May 23, 2002 Massachusetts

    That would be Citra (and centennial), and not Simcoe you were tasting in Headwaters. Citra has a similar herbal character as simcoe, but not as intense.
  8. mattsander

    mattsander Zealot (551) Feb 3, 2010 Alberta (Canada)
    Beer Trader

    So you're saying that Stone's marketing isn't marketing?
  9. mdomask

    mdomask Aspirant (274) May 27, 2012 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    I think it's textbook ad copy.
    brewbetter, Danielbt and mattsander like this.
  10. Danielbt

    Danielbt Initiate (0) May 4, 2012 Texas

    Yep. Differentiation. It's a thing.
  11. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Crusader (736) Dec 9, 2011 Colorado
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    It's marketing but with a Stone twist - not what you learn in marketing 101.
  12. Steelcurtain

    Steelcurtain Initiate (0) Aug 11, 2009 North Carolina

    Im slightly influenced by the bottle style. The cork and cage motif will almost get me every time.
  13. sandiego67

    sandiego67 Initiate (0) Feb 25, 2008 California

    Making people think that they are part of an elite club (or using products that will get you in an elite club) is one of the most basic forms of marketing.
  14. marquis

    marquis Crusader (726) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    Yes , I knew a man in marketing who said-make it cheaply, make it bland ,sell it at a high price and tell people how smart they are to buy it.
  15. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Crusader (752) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    True, but the whole point is to get you to buy it the first time.
  16. 5thOhio

    5thOhio Zealot (500) May 13, 2007 South Carolina

    This. To summarize what others have been saying, a label can get someone to try a beer once, but if they don't like the beer, they won't buy it again.

    And to those of you who think the same dweebs you know who work for advertising firms have some sort of cabalistic knowledge to get people to buy things they don't like or want, try doing a search for "New Coke" and "Edsel" to see the results of the magic of advertising witchcraft on bad products.
    drtth likes this.
  17. RBassSFHOPit2ME

    RBassSFHOPit2ME Meyvn (1,126) Mar 1, 2009 California

    And in this case, whether Tomme decides to show up at my house or not...there's still a very high likelyhood that the product in this very artistic bottle is flat.
  18. JustBill

    JustBill Initiate (0) Jul 28, 2010 Vermont

    the best marketing is making a great product. And vice-versa.
  19. Kinsman

    Kinsman Champion (873) Aug 26, 2009 California

    I'm going to agree with this and call bullshit on anyone who thinks they are not affected by label designs in some small way at least. A good beer store is going to have its shelves packed with hundreds of different beers and a poor unattractive label can easily get lost in the fray.
  20. BrownNut

    BrownNut Devotee (423) Jul 11, 2011 Florida

    Realistically we're all susceptible to advertising to some degree, which is what labels are. Sometimes that turns out great - Samuel Smith's classy labels are what stuck out to me the first time I tried them back in the 90s and that's what got me into good beer. The beer could have been crap, but the label did its job. But if you're an established beer nerd, you're mostly shopping based on what you've heard about irrespective of art. Lots of beers can have great labels and be some crapass fake craft beer or just some forgettable micro - we've all been burned by that. And others can have horrible amateur labels (looking at you Hoppin' Frog) and have great stuff inside. I think the average BA gets that after a while though and doesn't get swayed by labels.
  21. aaronCS

    aaronCS Initiate (0) Feb 20, 2012 Oregon

    Simplicity is good design. It doesn't have to look like Darklord for me to notice.
    DrDaves49 likes this.
  22. JimDH

    JimDH Initiate (60) Feb 7, 2011 Kentucky

    New Glarus's labeling, with a single six-pack carrier, is deplorable. But the beer is good and it sells.
  23. Genuine

    Genuine Devotee (460) May 7, 2009 Connecticut

    I remember trying great divide's brew for the first time because I liked their labels, same as sierra Nevada and dog fish and southern tier. I have stayed away from beers made by flying dog because I think their labels are weird.
  24. mikecharley

    mikecharley Devotee (401) Nov 6, 2008 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I think that a beer's name is half the battle too. Think of some of the beers on the following list:
    Veritas series
    Russian River's -Tion series
    Midnight Sun "Bar Fly"
    Imperial Biscotti Break
    Dark Lord
    Sexual Chocolate
    The list goes on...

    Imagine if Foothills named that beer "Chocolate Stout".

    I know that a name isn't everything (Rare would still be... well, Rare), but it DOES have an impact on perception

    EDIT: Think if the Bruery didn't name it "Partridge in a pear tree" and instead it was called "Christmas ale #1"
    dennis3951 likes this.
  25. OneBeertoRTA

    OneBeertoRTA Devotee (490) Jan 2, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    It's as textbook as you can get.
    EllisDTripp likes this.
  26. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (5,116) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Supporter Beer Trader

    Well, the pig IS blind.:rolling_eyes:
    4balance likes this.
  27. Hanzo

    Hanzo Initiate (0) Feb 27, 2012 Virginia

    When I first got into craft and was building mix sixers label had a ton to do with what beers I'd look at. As an example I passed by Smuttynose Finest Kind countless time, not thinking a beer with two old dudes in lawn chairs on the label could be any good. Turns out I was passing by a truly world class beer. Same with Two Hearted....
    DrDaves49 likes this.
  28. kmello69

    kmello69 Defender (618) Nov 27, 2011 Texas
    Beer Trader

    I'll readily admit that there have been times when I've been in a store, staring at several beers I've never had and know nothing about, and decided which one to go with in part based on how attractive the labels were/weren't. If you know nothing about the beers, the quality of the label can certainly impact a decision.
  29. gatornation

    gatornation Poo-Bah (3,310) Apr 18, 2007 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    Label IMO is an afterthought its not important to me i like many styles research and read about beer i will try new brew based on this knowledge not on the label,having said that i do like labels and enjoy them from a marketing/visual aspect
  30. SerialTicker

    SerialTicker Poo-Bah (1,760) Jun 18, 2012 Michigan

    It's true, but look at some of the most critically acclaimed beers. Pliny. Two Hearted. Not the fanciest of labels, but the beers are insanely high in quality.
  31. beancounter

    beancounter Initiate (0) Jul 12, 2010 New Hampshire

    It's important only to a point. If the beer is lousy, no amount of marketing is going to sustain it in the long run.
  32. TheBeerSnob

    TheBeerSnob Initiate (0) Jun 13, 2012

    Utterly disagree with the quote.

    I find no correlation between label quality and beer quality, and often I find the fancy labels are trying to sell shitty beer
    DrDaves49 and GoGators like this.
  33. andrewinski1

    andrewinski1 Savant (941) Apr 14, 2009 New Hampshire

    Labels sell. I don't care about a label now, but back in the day (when I just started exploring) I bought Dead Guy and Heavy Seas mostly because the labels were silly. I didn't really bother with Sam Adams. That's just one example but the point is if you know little to nothing about the myriad choices of beer on a shelf you will start by looking at the labels that catch your eye the most.
  34. TheBeerSnob

    TheBeerSnob Initiate (0) Jun 13, 2012

    QED? Brewing beer is a business, but it's still an art first and a business second. Art is about the creation, the creation of brewing is beer, marketing does not affect beer quality, marketing is irrelevant to the creation of beer. QED
  35. andrewinski1

    andrewinski1 Savant (941) Apr 14, 2009 New Hampshire

    I'm not sure I agree that brewing beer is art, but I wouldn't be an expert on that anyway. Marketing does not affect the quality of a beer, sure. That assumes that people enjoy beer in a vacuum where only taste matters. The fact is that people look at the bottle before, and the presentation of the bottle affects perception of taste, no matter how hard one may try to separate the two. Labels matter, even if we don't want them to.
  36. TheBeerSnob

    TheBeerSnob Initiate (0) Jun 13, 2012

    Maybe they matter for you. The only thing I worry about on labels is abv% and style/ingredients.
    DrDaves49 likes this.
  37. Shadyf0o

    Shadyf0o Initiate (0) Jul 28, 2012

    Just tonight I bought Hoptimum because it has the coolest label I've ever seen, and it's been catching my eye for a while now.
  38. sunkistxsudafed

    sunkistxsudafed Initiate (0) Apr 30, 2010 New Mexico

    my psychology degree tells me that there is truth to this statement... my economics degree tells me that this is only true in the short run and quality of product is dominant in the long run.
    BMMillsy and 5thOhio like this.
  39. HumphreyLee

    HumphreyLee Initiate (0) Jan 15, 2011 Pennsylvania

    You can't judge a book by its cover, but who wants to own ugly stuff?
  40. cmmcdonn

    cmmcdonn Initiate (0) Jun 21, 2009 Virginia

    Your user name is also TheBeerSnob. To the rest of the majority beer drinking population, marketing matters in a big way. If it didn't the macros wouldn't put have millions into a can that turns mountains blue or has a punch top.

    I personally do not find a correlation between taste and clever name/label, but the clever people get my money first.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.