Using Science to See What Packaging Works and How Your Brewery Can Sell More Beer

2020 Craft Brewers Conference Seminar Preview


Cody and I graduated from college in May 2009 and founded CODO the following Monday. We landed our first brewery client in 2010 and have gone on to work with more than 50 breweries around the world, to date.

One of our earliest opportunities in this space was a local brewery in planning. It was two guys, one of which had reached out to discuss their naming, branding and packaging. We met with him and hit it off. He was friendly, his plan seemed viable and the budget and timeline were perfect. So we put together a proposal and met with him and his partner (whom we were just meeting for the first time) the following week. 

And somewhere in between ordering our first round of beer and the obligatory pre-meeting small talk, his partner looked at Cody and I and said something that we still think about, laugh about and and quote often. He said, “Branding is for people who don’t know how to make great beer.”

Boom. Headshot. 

He had dismissed us and our carefully-crafted proposal before we could even discuss the thing. Now that we’ve moved past our young, battered egos, it was a funny moment (perhaps made funnier by the fact that they never opened and we’re coming up on our eleventh anniversary). 

We like to open up our conference presentations with this story to read the room. We want to see if anyone agrees with that statement—that branding is for people who don’t know how to make great beer. 

No one ever does. 

We’ve presented at brewing and cannabis and distilling and wine and CPG food and beverage conferences around the world and everyone in every single seat in every single room we speak in agrees that branding is crucial to their business (the fact that they’re sitting in a seminar on brand strategy, notwithstanding). 

We like to ask a followup question for the designer and marketing/communication folks in the room: how many of you, when designing packaging are 100% confident that what you’re making is perfect? That it will sell like crazy and revolutionize your brewery’s business? 

No hands go up. Ever. 

How will we know what we’re designing is appropriate? Never mind will it tell our story and attract more people to our brand—those are important outcomes, but very qualitative. Will the design decisions I’m making *right now* result in more sales? How will I know what branding and packaging trends lead to people picking one beer to bring home over another? 

This is what our 2020 CBC Seminar, “Using Science to See What Packaging Works and How Your Brewery Can Sell More Beer” is all about. This back of the mind, insidious, deep-seated concern. What package design elements actually work?

To answer this, we’ve partnered with a packaging research group called Package InSight to run an off-premise shopping study. 

A quick overview of the study: 

Package InSight equipped 96 shoppers at a bottle shop in Greenville, South Carolina with specialized eye tracking glasses to measure things like how fast someone’s eyes pick up a particular package, how long they spend looking at it, and how many times their gaze returns to it.

Then, using in-store sales data and exit surveys from all participants, we mapped these findings to see what did (and did not) convert to actual sales. Using this data, we identified several packaging and design trends to correlate with sales. 

This is our attempt to define as objectively as possible, what packaging works and what doesn’t and how your brewery can use these trends to sell more beer.

Here’re a few videos to give you an idea of the type of data we gathered.

The study results ended up being extremely detailed and, frankly cumbersome. It was a challenge to decide which info and date to discuss in our CBC talk—there’s so much interesting stuff here. 

Because of that, we’ll be creating an ongoing series, beyond the CBC talk itself, throughout 2020 to dive into each of these metrics and branding trends at length to answer that nagging question once and for all—what package design will directly lead to sales?

Brewers Association members will be able to watch an exclusive seminar diving into the specifics of this study on May 7 at 12pm Eastern.

Register for the seminar here.

Download the preliminary study methodology and findings PDF here.

Learn more about Package InSight here. 

And if you’d like, you can sign up for our Newsletter to be notified when new pieces in this series are announced. 

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