In 2014, a law passed in Virginia designating a new class of craft brewery, the “Farm Brewery.” Exactly as it sounds, a Farm Brewery must grow some crops on the same land as the brewery. This can include tomatoes and cucumbers for the tasting room menu, or hops for the brewery itself. There’s little limitation which creates a wide open, exciting opportunity.
So in November 2014, we began working with Marty and his team to name, brand and position Virginia’s newest Farm Brewery, B Chord Brewing Co. We kicked off the process with a fun trip to beautiful Loudon County, VA and returned home to explore ideas surrounding the history of the area (heavily tied to bluegrass, jam music, and blues music), as well as agriculture, community, local art, and the idea of traveling to a destination brewery.
After a long naming process, we discovered a bit of old Bluegrass slang in “B Chord”—meaning that something is the best of the best. This fun piece of musical history perfectly matched the laid back concert venue component to the brewery.
Knowing the craft beer (and design) industry like we do, we realized that while the concept of a Farm Brewery might be novel right now, within the next 5 years, there will likely be dozens of them throughout Virginia. This meant thinking beyond common farm indexes for the overarching branding—no red barns, tractors, or roosters. This worked out well, because the name expressed a much more compelling, differentiated, and ownable attribute than simply being a brewery on an idyllic farm—the area’s tie to bluegrass history.
From there, we dove into art direction and identity design. Overarching ideas included a sense of history, an idyllic escape to pastoral farmland, and a hard to quantify musical coolness & funkiness. We looked at early bluegrass record sleeves and gig poster while experimenting with making sound visible. The final logo could just as easily be art from an old record as it could the maker’s mark inside a Martin guitar.
So far, we’ve developed the name and brand identity. On deck is a responsive website and full packaging line.
Follow along as Marty’s team builds B Chord from the ground up here.
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Interested in branding your own brewery? Check out our comprehensive craft beer branding guide over at www.craftbeerbrandingguide.com