Dogfish Head Brewery is a craft beer company based in Milton, Delaware and founded by Sam Calagione. It opened in 1995 and has since grown into one of the top 15 largest craft breweries in the country; still proudly independent to this day. Dogfish Head made a name for itself by being unconventional, “off-centered,” wildly creative and fiercely independent. But over its 21 year history, Dogfish’s amazing stories would slowly become lost in a sea of inconsistencies.
Interact partnered with Dogfish to refresh its amazing library of beers and stories with a packaging redesign. We started by visiting our fast friends on their turf in Delaware, spending time at the Dogfish Inn, brewery, brew pub, campus and even their homes. We immersed ourselves in their incredible culture, their growing competition and discerning consumers. What we learned was clear: no brewery told a better story through its ingredients and beer than Dogfish.
As it would turn out, the ingredients would become the star of the redesign, showcased in playful illustrations that create realistic and authentic flavor expectations. Their prominence, along with a revised brand identity and reorganization of key information, such as beer style and ABV, make it easier to find exactly what you’re looking for. “We wanted to create some uniformity across our portfolio without falling into the trap of being predictable and sterile,” Calagione says.
We channeled Dogfish’s off-centered innovation and used it as inspiration to challenge the category while catering to consumers. Craft beer drinkers are increasingly interested in the transparency of food and bev and Dogfish has always embraced its ingredients’ authenticity and integrity. You’re now able to see what goes into each bottle by viewing the side panel of the carrier, which highlights the specific ingredients and unique brewing processes involved in creating that beer. The handle area is also a unique feature, offering you a literal handful of the ingredients when proudly holding a 4 or 6 pack.
Dogfish Head has always had a rich history of working with talented illustrators to tell stories across many of its beers. Even Sam (founder) would pitch in, painting and narrating Namaste, Noble Rot, Sixty-One and countless other beers. So when it came to the redesign, it was imperative we develop a style that was uniquely Dogfish.
We partnered with Denver-based John Vogl to co-create a bespoke visual language; unrefined, expressionistic, approachable. It celebrates the human hand at work and the candidness of creativity.
One of the subtle but powerful evolutions in the redesign came through the consistent use of kraft behind the brand identity. As a color and material, kraft is the perfect metaphor for the ethos and authenticity of the ingredients and liquid inside every bottle of Dogfish.
The iconic Dogfish Head “shark and shield” logo and proprietary “Doggie” font are two recognizable design elements from the old packaging brought into the new style.
The end result was a refined positioning that not only celebrated the ingredients, brewing and personality that’s made Dogfish so beloved but also shepherded people’s interest in beer in general.
Our redesign culminated in 30+ designed SKUs, spanning Dogfish’s bottles, 6 & 4 packs, shippers and a soon-to-be nationwide release of 60 Minute cans…and a ton of late night beers. Cheers.