Half Lion Brewing Co.
Design Director for PNW Craft Brewery
Half Lion Brewing Company was in its fourth year of brewing craft beer and had just opened their first restaurant location. The company reached out and asked if I would take on the design and marketing because I had designed their logo and first edition of beer cans when they had just started. Their product was great, the company's potential had a solid trajectory, and they were primed to be a leader in the craft beer industry relatively quickly. They just needed a brand and design strategy to align with its growth strategy and someone like me to execute upon it.
Take inventory of the major key elements of the business that needed the design triaged immediately. Build a team to execute on marketing and design initiatives so I could focus on big picture ideas. Attend meetings with executive leadership to align goals and set metrics. Research current and future design trends in the craft beer industry and carve out ways for Half Lion to dominate each angle. Revamp the merchandise vertical of the business to make sure Half Lion had leading apparel designs and an online ordering and inventory system that worked seamlessly.
This was a great opportunity for me to pull from my network of friends in the food and beverage industry to leverage their expertise, gain valuable knowledge of industry trends, and figure out how Half Lion could lead in each category soI called on everyone I could and started piecing together how my personal network could benefit the growth of this company.
Next, I got started on taking all of the brand elements that were already live including their phrase The Rugged Luxury of Real Beer, all of the design elements within the brewery that made it unique, and everything else I could gather that made the brand stand out including stories and anthropologies of the people who made the brewery possible. I refined all of this into a book of Brand Guidelines which was used as a North Star for outside vendors, agencies, designers, and photographers when creating for the Half Lion brand.
I then count inquiries to several custom apparel companies around the PNW and got to work on a fresh line of branded merchandise including flannels, t-shirts, headwear, and accessories. This led to the sourcing of several other vendors and a robust network of providers was sending in new merch and accessories regularly to keep our inventory stocked and fresh.
Throughout the research phase I was able to connect with some friends who had connections within the professional sports industry. I was able to link up Half Lion with the Seattle Thunderbirds AHL team and designed two custom beers for them which they sold in their arena. I also landed a sports partnerships with the Tacoma Narrows FC indoor team. This led to Half Lion getting exclusive rights to brew the Tacoma Stars official beer and distribute it in retail locations. And then I was able to link Half Lion with the sports marketing team for the XFL and the Seattle Dragons. Half Lion soon became the Official Craft Beer sponsor of the Dragons and the next thing we knew we were drinking Half Lion beers in CenturyLink as our OOH video graphics enveloped the stadium and lit up the field.
When Covid hit, I doubled-down on the branding of the company and hired a design team to start the initial new can designs for our flagship lineup. After a few iterations, I cleaned up the final elements and we launched an entirely new lineup of beers in grocery stores, stadiums, and retail locations. We also launched a hard seltzer which I designed, sourced, and marketed an industry-first clear hard seltzer can.
With a brewery now backed with great design, their customers, staff, and the rest of the beverage industry really started tracking Half Lion as a leader in this space. Stores and restaurants alike loved the new designs and started buying Half Lion out of product (especially with the seltzers) so the brewery doubled its production capability and hired a whole slew of new brewers and packaging assistants just to fulfill purchase orders and get enough product out the door. Web sales increased 300% for merchandise and Half Lion was now shipping its branded merchandise around the country. Several more sponsorship opportunities arose including Half Lion sponsoring a professional Polo team, hosting official watch parties for the Seattle Seawolves rugby team and Seattle Dragons, and bigger talks have sparked back up with the XFL now that they have new ownership.
Overall the brand is strong and the trajectory for where this brewery can go is now limitless.