Tröegs Independent Brewing has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1996. It was in a little warehouse located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania where Chris and John Trogner started it all. I remember how small the original location was. You had to stand shoulder to shoulder in close quarters to get sample brews in the taproom and then continue on inside the brewery “where the magic happened” for a quick tour. Literally, the taproom couldn’t hold more than 25 people. But us loyal fans jammed in on Saturday afternoons in large numbers – making it feel like we were at a concert as we all pushed forward to get closest to the stage. The design of the space was minimal. But the Tröegs brand look was bold and creative for the ’90s – heavy in color, lots of details and complexity in the overall designs. The bottle label artwork really stood out from the plain Jane labels we were all used to seeing – mostly U.S. macros and imports from Germany, England and Belgium.
Fast forward almost 20 years later and the evolution of the beer, the brewery and the brand is something quite extraordinary. Now located in Hershey, PA, the whole building is 90,000 square feet with ample space to enjoy Tröegs beer in the tasting room. Decor is industrial with a touch of natural wood elements. Lots of natural light streams in the wall of windows where the patio is located. There’s a Snack Bar serving gourmet eats that feature the best fresh, local ingredients.
The brewery experience for patrons has come a long way. It was time for the Tröegs brand to get a fresh look, too. One that better reflects the brewery’s personality, it’s commitment to creating hand-crafted beer and food as well as emphasizing it’s independent business model in a time where craft brewery after craft brewery is getting bought up by the macros.
“Since 1997, we’ve been in a state of perpetual evolution,” said Chris Trogner, Tröegs Independent Brewing co-owner. “Perpetual IPA was created as a direct reflection of that, and it’s emblematic of how we approach beer. The new artwork is an extension in our continuous quest to make delicious beer.”
As a former art director, I know the massive undertaking of rebranding. Essentially everything that’s associated with your brand has to be overhauled: logo, business cards, signage, stationery, packaging, websites, social media spaces, and even how you talk about your product/brand – what you say, how you say it and when you say it. It’s no small task. It’s a painstaking exercise in strategy, planning and execution of the plan. Not an endeavor to take on lightly. That’s why the creative prowess of Lindsey Tweed was enlisted to collaborate with Chris and John to create the new look, which includes re-imagining the brewery’s most iconic figures like the Tröegenator and Mad Elf.
Lindsey isn’t new to the Tröegs family. She illustrated the labels for Tröegs Hop Knife, Cultivator, and Blizzard of Hops when the brews were introduced a few years back. Her take on the trio was so well received that it was a no brainer to have her take on the re-design. She also worked as an art director at Allen & Gerritsen, the same firm (then Neiman Group) that designed iterations of Tröegs beer art 10 years ago.
“The art shows our love of the process and most importantly our love of beer,” said John Trogner, brewmaster and co-owner of Tröegs Independent Brewing. “The simple logos and hand-drawn fonts capture how we brew, and the artwork conveys what’s inside the bottle.”
A massive departure from the original look, the new Tröegs logo has a homemade kind of feel with its rough edges, flat dimension and handwritten typography. No longer is it a cookie-cutter stamp. The guitar pick shape draws your eye downward to the name of each beer when placed on the bottle labels. Smart. That’s exactly what good design should do. Lead your eye to the most important message, The Beer!
The Tröegs blog space was renamed and a new logo created to tie in with the new brand look and and align with the brand personality. It’s where you can find the latest and greatest brewery news as well as get an inside look into the many adventures of John and the staff. Like when they visited Sunny Brae Hops in Carlisle, PA to pick fresh hops for an upcoming brew.
What a beautiful site! Each label ties together perfectly without being too similar or boring. Prior to the redesign, I have to admit, I thought the artwork and approach was all over the place. There wasn’t a consistent location for the brand logo on labels and each illustration felt like a “one-off.” As if each design was an add-on as opposed to being a part of the set as a whole.
Take a look at the drastic transformation of each. Of late, I’ve been a huge fan of hand-done approaches to design – especially to typography. My inner Art Director gets giddy each time I look at this new label lineup. I just love it!
What is this?
Not sure if you noticed that I omitted what looks like a new Solid Sender Ale from the before and afters above. I also didn’t see the classic Tröegs Pale Ale in the bottle photography anywhere. Could this ale be a replacement for that brew? One could speculate that maybe it’s a revamp of the pale ale recipe?
UPDATE: Tröegs has confirmed that this is a new brew in their lineup. It’s a pale ale that uses Crystal, Munich and Pilsner malts as well as Cascade and Mosaic hops.
Tröegs Pale Ale is still being brewed but will be phased out in the near future. That’s why a new label was not developed for this beer.
A refreshed website greets its daily visitors with the new artwork, logo, photography, etc. And, what’s better? It’s mobile-friendly! Nice. As you’re exploring the site, be sure to check out the Beer Finder tool that helps you track down brews near you.
And, as you might have guessed the merch store has been revamped and restocked with the new gear. Out with the old. In with the new duds. I’m eyeing up the women’s black and gray short-sleeved tee with the Tröegs logo on the front. That’s certainly going on my Christmas list.
There are also a few items with the old design for all you die-hard fans. Get them while they last.
Giving Back – Community
I particularly enjoyed the “Meet the Community” page which does a fantastic job in telling the story of the many ways Tröegs gets involved, gives back to the surrounding community and utilizes local ingredients sourced in Pennsylvania.
It’s important to me when a brewery doesn’t just reside in the community it’s located in but becomes an active member of the community. Not just by giving financially but by giving their time and donating their brew for various fundraisers like the Tröegs Hop Dash that benefits the East Shore YMCA in Harrisburg, PA and Harrisburg Beer Week.
And, I appreciate when a brewery shares that involvement on the website. Those who may not live in the area get a first hand look at Tröegs’ giving spirit.
To learn more about what Tröegs Independent Brewing is busy working on, be sure to follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. As more labels get redesigned, they post photos so you’re in the know. Can’t wait to see what gorgeous illustrations Lindsey comes up with for next year’s Master of Pumpkins!
Photography courtesy of Tröegs Independent Brewing
(Follow Me On: Twitter & Untappd: @dzyngrl | Instagram: @dzyngrl14)