AFT Brewery (whose acronym sardonically stands for About Fucking Time) is gaining huge respect among Southwestern beer affectionatos, and with their growing popularity comes the urgent task of branding and packaging. Their original efforts to self brand drew upon Irish and Celtic symbols and Irish folklore beings. Those themes were explored, but presented back in more contemporary style.
The AFT brewers hold deep respect and attachment to Celtic-Irish history as well as the Irish beer-making tradition. Their first branding and packaging attempts as a startup craft brewery leaned toward folklore narrative images. So when they approached me, I returned their folklore characters reimagined completely. — rather than choose between a serious depiction and a comical one, I portrayed both.
The micro brewery / craft brewery category worldwide displays an unrestrained kind of creativity that defies, and in fact ignores, the rules followed by major national beer brands. The most noticeable difference is the disregard for subtle color palettes that define traditional packaging. Instead, the craft breweries uses bold, and often psychedelic colors to woe consumer attention to the cold case.
The packaging is frequently branded in non-beer themes using symbols, illustration, photography, and typography that is closer to entertainment or editorial graphics as a way of diverging from their stodgy major brand counterparts.
Following this, I ignored the Celtic-Irish themes altogether and used the brewery location — Arizona and the great Southwest — as a branding topic, because the imagery and symbols to choose from are endless and inspiring.
The overall goal was to create a powerfully branded shelf presence for the brewery and systematize the beer types they offer for variety expansion. Three varieties were shown for each concept. However, the brewery offers nine types of beer including pale ale, lager, IPA, dark ale, Hefe, and others.