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Establishing a brand in an overcrowded craft beer market
Market Research
Client Vandenbroek brewery, Leek (the Netherlands)
Date October 2015 - January 2016


Vandenbroek brewery brews a variety of unique types of beer. Most of them are brewed with wild fermentation and are subsequently aged for several years in oak barrels. To bring his beer to market, the brewery asked me to develop a brand, labels and an accompanying website.


Since the sour beer is a niche market, I initiated this project by reviewing the competition. I gathered data on their background, branding and communication.

Next, I took the opportunity to roam around in local pubs that already served Vandenbroek beer, talked to beer enthusiasts at beer festivals and read more about wild fermentation and the history of sour beer.

I noticed that those already familiar with Vandenbroek beer were frequently referring to the authentic character of the brewer himself and his particular way of brewing. Lacking a long family tradition of brewing like other established breweries, we focused on the brewer and his unique process as the driving force behind the brand and brand development process.

His aversion to technology, the embracing of the unpredictability of nature, and going by feel rather than calculations, the brewer’s philosophy and way of working evoke images of an artisan. He designed and constructed the entire brewery by himself to fit his specific brewing needs such as wood-fired coppers.

Initial engraving tests for the illustration

To communicate tradition, longevity and an artisan approach to brewing, the label is inspired by engraving effect used on labels in the early 1900s and traditional German Beer labels. This resulted in a shield bearing the brewery’s name and on top an etching of the brewer as the exposition of the brand. The background colour of the shield varies according to various beer types.

Labels for product variations


The development of the logo, label and website helped Vandenbroek brewery to communicate an authentic identity. Over the past years, the brand has established a recognizable position within the (sour) craft beer market with a steady increase in sales.

Brand engagement via social media (untappd.com)

Other communication designs, such as GIFs displayed below, are aimed to familiarize the consumers with the unique brewing process to enhance brand equity.

Illustrative GIF explaining the brewing process
Illustrative GIF explaining the brewing process

The website

Product shot