Our co-conspirator Ryan likes beer, and you know City Dining Cards likes beer! 


As the weekend approaches, my mind—and I suspect many people’s minds—begins to wander towards thoughts of the myriad delicious adult refreshments that I could be enjoying in the coming evenings.
As a designer, beer drinker and full-time hell-raiser, the marketing of these products has always fascinated me, now more so than ever with the craft beer revolution in full swing. This explosion of micro-breweries has created an unfathomably competitive market with thousands of major players where the look of your product is somehow even more paramount than it always is in any other market. Your bottle label now has to tell a complete narrative about where your beer came from, how it was made, what kind of values your brewery holds et cetera in order to inform would-be consumers awash in a ocean of craft beer to choose from and inspire them to pick your sixer over the others on the shelf. That sure sounds like the perfect recipe for some really cool packaging design and marketing to me. 
In my opinion, one company who is really championing this idea and successfully executing it with the utmost in taste and elegance is the Spoetzl Brewery, the Texan producers of Shiner Beer. They are a long-standing player in the craft beer game with roots dating back to the turn of the century (and I mean the 20th century) but they recently had a bit of an identity crisis following some big expansion which caused them to fall out of favor with the modern beer drinker and his obsession with small craft microbrews.
In a stroke of brilliance, they hired the amazing Austin-based agency McGarrah Jessee to completely refresh their brand and rethink everything from their logo to product development and put together a fully integrated advertising campaign—totally a dream job for me (I can think of a few Buffalo breweries I’d love to have a crack at). The results they came up with are beautiful, elegant, successful and, most importantly, delicious (the Wild Hare IPA is a personal favorite). One look at any of their beers or the marketing collateral built around them and you instantly get the following facts about Shiner loud and clear: a) It’s definitely from Texas; b) It’s also somehow German (think Christoph Waltz as Dr. King Schultz); c) It’s been around for a really long time and has a rich, proud history, d) It’s clearly not made by a corporate giant; and e) It’s super cool/hip/modern/exciting/and probably a really great beer. All that in a beer label. Now that’s good design!  

You can see McGarrah Jessee’s complete campaign for Shiner here, or you can dive right into the awesome web experience they designed for them, complete with full-frame video, gorgeous environmental product photography, and all the things that really get us hot & bothered here at Block Club. 

The European Union has begun grilling cheese-makers in the U.S. to alter their naming practices. Seeking to separate some curds from whey, 180 cheeses have been strung together under Europe’s “protected designation of origin” label. NPR and Slate have more coverage on what some States-side see as grating restrictions.