Established in 1340 in Limburg, the southernmost of the 12 provinces of the Netherlands, Brand Bier is the oldest Dutch brewery. Its main product is a pilsner and it also produces seven other — Heavy Blonde, Double Bock, Lentebock, Up, Imperator, Sylvester, and Weizen. This past July, Brand introduced a new line of packaging designed by Amsterdam-based VBAT.
There is a press release here but doesn’t really say much.
The main element of the logo — the stunning and bad-ass blackletter — has been kept the same in the evolution but everything else has been well refined. Most refreshingly, the logo has been taken out of its constricting oval and given room to breathe. The shield, although now with more elements and complex, feels cleaner than before and the typography overall has been vastly improved. The only fault is the drawing of the barley-hops-thing, it’s like they ran out of energy on it as it looks nothing like any of the other elements.
The previous look wasn’t offensive in any kind of way but it wasn’t memorable either. The heavy oval with the brewery name or beer kind on it was a bit oppressive and the consistency in type application left a lot to be desired for. The new bottles, on the other hand, are quite amazing. The mostly-label-less bottle has been embossed with a large version of the logo that wraps around the full front and provides (I’m imagining) a great tactile experience with the product. The only distinction now between the beers is the neck label and color-coded caps. It might be a little more difficult to distinguish quickly but it’s a really elegant and cool approach.
Each beer kind now has its own logo derived from the main logo, with a more consistent (and heavily ornamental) typographic approach that give the 6-packs a commanding shelf presence.
A lot of craft and care has gone into the design of the bottle and Brand’s brand architecture. While the non-label concept and embossed bottle is not new — see Carlsberg — the execution for Brand has been expertly extended to a large range of beers.
Thanks to Marc Nijborg for the tip.