Two Central Oregon craft brewers, Worthy Brewing and Deschutes Brewery, have launched new labels to refine their brands and make their products appeal more to millennials.

In the past, the brewers would launch each style of beer with a different design. Today with a crowded marketplace of more than 7,000 craft brewers nationwide competing for shelf space and tap handles, brewers need cohesive labels.

Rebranding and designing new labels is a way for brewers to stay fresh and current in consumers’ minds, said Bart Watson, chief economist at the Brewers Association, a Colorado-based trade group. A 2016 Nielsen study focused on craft beer determined that two-thirds of those who responded said the label was extremely important to getting them to notice the beer, and 60 percent said the label was important to giving the beer a try.

“We are constantly innovating, not only with the beer that we’re making, but with our marketing, our use of technology and even within our company’s culture,” said Deschutes Brewery CEO Michael LaLonde. “Our new packaging is part of that evolution.”

At Worthy, the eclectic mix of art on the beer labels made it challenging for consumers because each beer had its own brand identity, said Meghan Hoey, Worthy Brewing director of marketing.

The old branding caused confusion because it wasn’t easy to find the Worthy logo and didn’t prioritize the company’s name over the style of beer, she said. The new cans, which were launched last month, have minimal text and connect the brand with its hop logo.

“We’ve had six years of varying whimsy on our cans, but we didn’t have brand cohesion,” Hoey said. “We needed to communicate with the consumer, tell our story and build brand awareness.”

After analyzing consumer demand, Worthy kept three beers for year-round can production: Worthy IPA, Lights Out Stout and Strata IPA. The company also added two new beers to its core offerings, Secret Spot Pacific Pale and Sol Power Pilsner.

Not only did the company name get a different look, but the new cans have designs that illustrate the style of beer, she said.

“Our new cans were hand-drawn by a local artist,” Hoey said in a prepared statement. “Each can represents a piece of Worthy’s identity, and together help tell Worthy’s story.”

At Deschutes Brewery, not only are new beers being introduced, but the brewery simplified the design of its labels and packaging in February to attract the millennial market, according to a company statement.

Deschutes dropped the word “brewery” from the label and gave the Deschutes name a more prominent placement, the company said in a statement.

“The new packaging design is a striking red and fresh blue, reflecting the colors of the soil and sky of Oregon, while also communicating refreshment, which is something often overlooked in most craft beer branding,” said Simon Thorneycroft, CEO of San Francisco-based Perspective: Branding, the agency hired to relabel Deschutes.

Four variations feature a skier or snowboarder with a person in flip-flops, another in diving gear, a child in wellies, and Big Foot.

“This packaging is much more visible, bolder and has a deeper story connecting with the consumer,” LaLonde in a prepared statement. “Our heritage brands look new and should lead to additional sampling and a lift for those brands as well.”

— Reporter: 541-633-2117, sroig@bendbulletin.com

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