Established in 1996 as a back-room-size home brewery by two friends, Ballast Point is now a 120,000-barrel-capacity microbrewery in San Diego, CA, producing over 40 different types of beers — all named after fish — as well as a whiskey, a gin, two rums, one vodka, and one bloody mary mix. Sometimes they even mix their whole product line in creative ways like aging its rum then its beer then its rum again in the same barrel. Mmmmm. Ballast Point is considered one of the best microbreweries in San Diego and is known all around the U.S., even taking Brewer of the Year in 2010 at the World Beer Cup. Growing bigger in the national market, Ballast Point has introduced a new identity and packaging for all of its products, designed by San Diego, CA-based MiresBall.
Please note the different links in the three quotes that will take you to the three different case studies.
The refreshed Ballast Point brand identity incorporates a bolder typographic approach for improved legibility and shelf presence, while retaining the brand’s iconic elements in an expanded system of visual assets. The new identity unifies the growing family of Ballast Point brands—beers, spirits and the Home Brew Mart retail store—under one corporate banner.
The logo update aspect of the project is not nearly as impressive as the packaging below, but it’s still a very welcome update. The old logo was a big mess with its poorly rendered typography on a curve, non-matching typography on a banner, and a barely-decent rendering of a nautical sextant. The new logo ties all the same elements together in a visually cohesive way that is more pleasant, contemporary, and easier to reproduce at different sizes. The amount of elements is still too much but at least they work together as a populous unit — and perhaps my desire for simplicity makes the logo looks best in one-color applications than it does in full color. If you are not a fan of Emigre’s Brothers type family then you are probably going to find this logo and the rest of the packaging utterly annoying because it’s the only typeface in use. Me? I love Brothers, so this is like catnip. Or beer.
MiresBall highlighted the brewer’s signature fish illustrations and angling-inspired beer names and refined the brand voice with a clear focus on the process and passion. The new labels, cartons and cans create an unmistakable billboard effect, and give audiences a more potent taste of the dedication that goes into every brew.
I just absolutely love all this packaging. There is a really nice, un-minimal, 1990s look to it that has been missing for a long time. The big, bold, realistic illustrations; the expressive typography; the detailed logo; the cream (NOT white) background; the soft (NOT bright and primary) color accents. It all comes together quite amicably without the irony or hipsterism that we’ve come to expect. And in terms of evolution, this couldn’t be a better case study of what a difference design can make in elevating the shelf appeal and expectations of a consumer product.
With the packaging of an all-new whiskey, Ballast Point needed to boldly claim its position as San Diego’s first small-batch distiller. Building on a top-to-bottom brand refresh, MiresBall tapped into the stories behind the spirits to align a disparate group of new and existing products. The results telegraph a clear, simple message—Ballast Point is uniquely dedicated to the craft.
More Brothers more of the time. These separate lines of spirits could be critiqued on their own but, as I’ve made it known in the past, packaging is not my forte or biggest area of interest and since I’m not much of a whiskey, rum, gin, or vodka connoisseur I’ll just stick with gut reaction: I would buy any of these by design alone if pressed to make a selection at the store. All around this is an excellent project with remarkable brand consistency without it limiting different flavors — pun — to come through.
Photography by Studio Schulz.