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Vichy bottle complements bold beer labels

A new West Yorkshire brewery producing some of the UK’s most eye-catching beers is selling its ales in elegant Vichy bottles supplied by Beatson ClarkVocation Brewery in Hebden Bridge launched in April and is already causing a stir with its distinctive branding.

The brewery’s Leeds-based branding agency Robot Food chose Beatson Clark’s standard 500ml amber Vichy bottle as its aesthetic appeal complemented the brewery’s colourful labels.

“We brew punchy and distinctive beers, and in a crowded market you’ve got to find any way you can to stand out,” says Vocation director and head brewer John Hickling. “There are lots of pieces to that jigsaw, and an important component is the shape of the bottle.

“So many breweries use the same shape of bottle for practical reasons, especially if they’re contract bottling which makes it difficult for them to be creative with the bottle design.

“As we bottle our own beer on site there’s an opportunity for us to be a little bit different. I gave Robot Food a selection of bottles which suited our technical requirements and they chose the bottle which best fitted the brand’s aesthetic. The look of our bottled beer is very important and I’m trying to tread a fine line by creating a brand that appeals to a younger market without alienating older drinkers.”

Vocation Brewery are bottling two beers at present – Heart & Soul and Pride & Joy – and John expects to be bottling others soon. “We’ve only been up and running for three months and sales are already going really well,” he says.

Simon Forster, creative director at Robot Food, said he recommended Beatson Clark’s Vichy bottle as it is seldom seen in the craft beer market: “It suits our designs as it gives us maximum label area, but more importantly it has a unique silhouette,” he said. “There’s really no-one else in the craft beer sector using this type of bottle shape with straight shoulders – it has a traditional colour but at the same time it feels quite unique and contemporary.”

Chris Palmer, business development manager at Beatson Clark, says the key driver for new business at present is smaller breweries looking to differentiate themselves from the competition: “The craft brewing sector is a really strong growth area for us at the moment, and now that our new amber furnace is in full production we have additional capacity to meet the extra demand.

“It can be hard for smaller producers to stand out on the shelf, and the key to that is defining your brand through eye-catching packaging. With our extensive standard range and our in-house creative design team we can supply distinctive bottles that really help beers to get noticed.”

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4 August 2015 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor