As you’ve more than likely noticed, the look of Woodcock Brothers’ beer has gone under the knife; well the packaging at least. As the brewery drops new two iterations of their beloved XPA line, versions 10 and 11, the visual evolution for the Wilson, New York brewery continues. From XPA to Niagara Lager to Red Head Amber Ale, all of Woodcock’s take home brewers have recently seen a facelift.
On a side note, Woodcock’s new design netted them a trio of gold medals at the Advertising Club of Buffalo’s annual ADDY awards, which honor the best achievements in marketing and design for the region. They took home gold for Packaging Campaign Design, Integrated Brand Identity Design and Copywriting.
Ok, now back to your regularly scheduled program.
So, why a rebrand? Why make a conscious effort to change something that customers are so accustomed to seeing?
“It’s actually less of a rebrand and more looking at our brand as a whole for the first time (look, colors, personality, voice, etc.),” the brewery says. “Before this, we just developed a beer’s look as we needed it. But now we’re bringing everything together. The look is much more engaging, better connects with our customers and most importantly, imparts a fun, semi-irreverent personality to the Woodcock Brothers brand.”
“Our ultimate goal is to create an identity that fully encompasses who we are as a company and family – one that connects with our current customers, the community we’re part of, while drawing in new fans. We want everyone to love the beer just as much as we do, and appreciate the people behind it.”
Woodcock says that they aren’t concerned with switching things up this far into the game, because, simply put, it’s what on the inside that counts. Well, the inside of the can that is.
“First and foremost, it’s what’s inside the can that matters. We take immense pride when people tell us that Niagara Lager permanently took the place of their Labatt’s Blue or Budweiser in the fridge. Or that XPA is their absolute favorite IPA, or even favorite beer period. So we really weren’t too worried about it at all. We knew the names were going to say and we felt that’s what held the most recognition.”
The rebranding, if that’s what you can even call it (‘it feels more like an evolution rather than a complete overhaul’ Woodcock admits), is more than a simple design change, it’s a mindset that starts all the way at the very top of the brewery – with its ownership.
“The owners and brothers, Mark and Tim Woodcock, always said it’s all about having fun. It’s why they started the brewery in the first place because they believe that’s how beer should be enjoyed – socially, around others, enjoying conversation. With the craft beer explosion it’s not only fun to drink beer, but it’s fun to talk about, discover more of and bond with friends and family over too. That was always our top priority when we started the process with our design team, just making sure we all had fun.”
“Also, the last name Woodcock, as you probably guessed, was the punch line of every joke. So instead of ignoring it or hiding it, we embraced it. Also, the writer on the creative team (Devon Slobodzian) developed fun, imaginative stories for each beer, which add to the humor and shed light on how the beers came to be.”
For those that may thing that Woodcock is all hops, you’re wrong. There’s also malt, barley and water. OK, bad beer joke aside – the brewery’s core offerings really do offer something for each and every beer drinker.
“With a Lager, Amber, Porter and IPA as our core lineup, we can connect with almost every type of beer drinker. There’s something for everyone – from light to dark, from a traditional German lager to a super hoppy American IPA. We rock it all across the board. We’ll also be releasing some of our popular recurring seasonals in the future as well.”
And all of that that brings us to XPA 10 and 11. Here’s what to expect from each version:
XPA 10.0 (Simcoe, Chinook, Centennial hops, Pilsner, white wheat malt, Simcoe dry hop)
“This version is an ode to some of the original hops in the new American IPA game,” Woodcock says. “These hops are packed with flavor but can sometimes be under appreciated. Lots of great earthy, citrusy dankness from the Simcoe blends perfectly with the light, floral flavors of centennial and spicy pine flavors of chinook. This is an incredibly drinkable version we’re excited for our fans to dig into.”
XPA 11.0 (El Dorado, Lemon Drop, HBC 682 hops, Pilsner, white wheat, oats, caramel malts, 2x dry hop with all 3 hops)
“The combination of flavors from these hops results in a huge blast of fruity, tropical, lemony zest and lots of earthy, herbal flavors and clean, soft, but well-rounded bitterness. We bumped up the malt bill with oats this version to give it a full, silky mouthfeel that works perfectly with all the intense hop aromas and flavors. We have a sneaky suspicion XPA fans are gonna love this batch.”
Brian Campbell is a co-founder/Brand Manager of the BNBA’s enthusiast arm, Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter at @buffbeerleague, on Instagram at @buffalobeerleague and on Facebook at @thebuffalobeerleague.