A to Z of CEE beer: A beer design primer.


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Cocoon Group has been designing beers in ‘New Europe’ for almost 2 decades. In that time, we’ve built up a pretty good understanding of what makes beer design work in this part of the world. On the fol- lowing pages, in an easy-to-follow A to Z format, we showcase some of our favorite recent (and not so recent) beer projects, as well as share some of our knowledge of the category and the region. Please sit back, relax, and we hope our little show gives you a better sense of what makes a truly great ‘New European’ beer design. For more of our beer work, please check out azbeer.cg-eu.com

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A to Z of CEE beer: A beer design primer.

  1. A primer onBeers of New Europe Central and East European beer design
  2. INTRO Cocoon Group has been designing beers in ‘New Europe’ for almost 2 dec- ades. In that time, we’ve built up a pretty good understanding of what makes beer de- sign work in this part of the world. On the fol-lowing pages, in an easy-to-follow A to Z format, we showcase some of our favorite recent (and not so recent) beer projects, as well as share some of our knowledge of the category and the region. Please sit back, relax, and we hope our little show gives you a better sense of what makes a truly great ‘New Europe- an’ beer design. CG.
  3. Art Nouveau
  4. Bottles Clear Brown Conveys newness, refreshment. Green Conveys tradition, heritage. Most common for on-trade andConveys both naturalness and premi- Soviet and historical beer bottle summertime beers.umness. Mainstream brands and core color. For most core brands, brown Great for intrinsics and showing lagers continue to migrate toward seems cheap. However for brands rich beer color, but some skepticism green bottles for their portfolios. looking to highlight tradition, remains as to whether clear bottles brown is an excellent choice. maintain beer quality over time.
  5. CraftsmanshipA finely crafted label instillsconfidence that the product insidehas received at least the sameamount of care and attention.High quality materials, gold print,and the right embellishments andquality cues speak volumes aboutthe liquid inside. This even if thedrinker remains largely unawareof the hidden influence of design.This seems to be especiallytrue here in New Europe, wheretradition and heritage are stillthe premiere indicators ofquality. Craftsmanship in productand design stand as the mostvisible outward indications of acommitment to creation of the best possible product.
  6. Dark BeerWith a sweeter caramelizedtaste which typically appealsmore to women than to men,dark beer labels typicallyref lect the dark productinside, as does the choice of a dark bottle color.
  7. EvolutionSteeped in the deepest beer makingtraditions and insulated from the pressing needto innovate during communism, New Europe ishome to some of the most conservative beer culturesand beer brands in the world. That said, the pressurefrom market forces has recently opened a floodgateof innovations that would have been unheard of justa decade ago.Plastic PET bottles, new formats, unfiltered beers,and even flavored beers have now become commonas local brewers recognize there is more value to befound on the cutting edge of an evolving categorythan as guardians of a non-developing one.It is our expectation that over the next fewdecades, Central European beers will parlaytheir experience and beer making expertiseinto global innovation leadership ­­ just as — the Swiss and French did with chocolate and wine.
  8. Fonts
  9. Gold “You from within our glasses, you lusty golden brew, whoeverimbibes takes fire from you. The young and the old sing your praises.Here’s to beer, here’s to cheer, here’s to beer.”Bedrich Smetana, The Bartered Bride
  10. Heritage
  11. Intrinsics Taste, color, tradition, quality, refreshment, origin. These are examples of intrinsic values that serve as the foundationfor any great beer brand. A beer brand without intrinsicsis nothing more than a commodity with a catch-phrase. InNew Europe, intrinsic values are heavily weighted toward quality of product, as evidenced by a long tradition and strict adherence to standards and practices set forth by previous generations. While most brands pay lip service to other intrinsic qualities (such as refreshment) - these brands must still sound the right notes with regards to quality and tradition - generally in the form of universally recognized quality cues and design elements.
  12. Joy
  13. KithLabels often ref lectthe soci a l r itu a lswhere beer is present,evoking the joy andsubtly transportingthe buyer to theexpected moment ofconsumption.
  14. Letters
  15. MasculineThe other universal value forCEE beer brands is Masculinity.And every inch of the label andcommunication not devoted toquality is generally devoted tocelebration of manhood andm a n l i ness. Nowher e is th ismore readily visible than in beericonography, which inevitablyfeatures a testosterone-fueled‘manly beast’, accoutrements ofmanly battle, or some geographicfeature which needs conquering (in a decidedly manly way).
  16. National pride
  17. Ornaments
  18. PETCentral and Eastern Europeleads the world in acceptance ofPET packaging for beer, wherethe ubiquitous liter and 2 literbottles have become the go-toparty format for young drinkersin these countries. This in spiteof a rocky start for the material,which was originally offered inhalf-liter sizes and touted as anall-terrain alternative to glass.While consumers were not readyto embrace a plastic versionof their beloved single servingbottles, they have been more thanready to grab a few larger bottlesfor sharing and socializing witha few friends. PET stands as atriumph of innovation based oncreating new opportunities ratherthan simply applying technologyto the same old formats.
  19. Quality cues
  20. RedRed is popular in beerdesign as a convenient andattractive way to catch theeye and focus attention onparticular design elements.In this way, icons, ribbons,signatures, and other small,yet important equities canbe highlighted. When usedas a brand color, red mustbe carefully combined withother colors since solid redis generally recognized asa cola, juice, or even energydrink color.
  21. Shape
  22. Tradition
  23. Combing through the designhistories of most CEE beer rands,you frequently come acrossexamples of upward sloping text.Meant to mimic the style of thecraftsman’s signature, upwardsloping text until a few shortyears ago was a common designelement that is lately being phasedout. In its place, most brewersare now opting for more modern,masculine interpretations of thebrand. Often this ‘retro’ designstyle still holds value for exportor limited editions, where thetraditional aspects of the brandneed to be highlighted.
  24. Varieties
  25. Wheat
  26. Xenial
  27. Young adult malesYoung Adult Males are the preferred target audience for mostbeer brands and all core lagers in Central and Eastern Europe(and the world at large). Mass market distribution has led to asort of ‘universal Universal Core Lager Drinker’ profile which isapplied, almost like a template, to the positioning statements ofmass market beers.The Universal Core Lager Drinker, as envisioned by beer market-ers, loves his friends, tolerates his girlfriend, and hates his job.He seldom thinks past his next get together with his pals or ex-pands his horizons beyond wherever his favorite team happens tobe playing this weekend.There are, of course, variations on this theme. But clear-ly, the UCLD is a god among men in the world of CEEbeers.While this may, at first glance, seem to be a less-than-flattering snapshot of any user group, it begins tomake sense when you consider that most beer vol-ume is consumed by men older than the profile -menwho may long wistfully for a time in their lives whenthey had less responsibility andmore freedom. Taken in thislight, the UCLD is less a depic-tion of a real target audiencethan an idealized versionof the carefree lad thatreal male drinkers wishthey were.
  28. Zillions We hope you enjoyed this quick look at New European beers and our work with them. However, keep in mind that these 26 pages is only the tip of the iceburg. There are a zillion things we know about Cen- tral and Eastern European beers, which we don’t have the capacity to share in this format. If you would like to know more about what we know about beer, feel free to contact us and follow us.
  29. Thank you for yourattention! FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT: Cocoon Group Douglas Kaufman d.kaufman@cg-eu.com www.cg-eu.com PRODUCTS FEATURED IN THIS PRESENTATION: Zwei Meister, (Kaluzhskaya, SAB Miller) Russia Kelt, (Staropramen Brewery, InBev) Czech Republic Niksicko, (Trebjesa Brewery, StarBev) Montenegro Staropramen Cool, (Staropramen Brewery, StarBev) Czech Republic Frisco, (Plzensky Prazdroj, SABMiller) Czech Republic Velvet, (Staropramen Brewery, StarBev) Czech Republic Bagbier, (InBev) Russia Grolsch, (SABMiller) Russia Noroc, (StarBev) Romania Staropramen, (Staropramen Brewery, StarBev) Czech Republic Jelen, (Apatinska Brewery, StarBev) Serbia Ozujsko, (Zagreb Brewery, StarBev) Croatia Bergenbier, (StarBev) Romania Borsodi, (Borsod Brewery, StarBev) Hungary Klasik, (Plzensky Prazdroj, SABMiller) Czech Republic Kamenitza Lev, (Kamenitza brewery, StarBev) Bulgaria