Guest Post: The story of the Eight Degrees packaging design

A photo from Caroline caught my eye a couple of weeks ago, it was of the packaging for the just launched Eight Degrees craft brewery range:

I liked it a lot and so it gave me the shove I needed to organise my first guest post. And so Erik Johansson kindly wrote the story of the brand for me. This is he

and this is his post.

When the Green Man met Scott & Cam:

I answered the phone one day in August 2010 to soft antipodean voice of Scott Baigent – a Kiwi living in North Cork. He told me about how he and his business partner Cameron Wallace, an Aussie, had received support from the Ballyhoura Enterprise Board to open a microbrewery in Mitchelstown and would I be interested in creating a brand for them? He didn’t have to ask me twice! Branding and Beer – Perfect!

I immediately set to researching the beer market and it took me to the Microbreweries in the guys native Australia and New Zealand as well as the U.S. where the industries are well established and thriving.  During the many student summers I spent in the U.S, the locals would comment on how Ireland had so many great beers. In reality, at the time, you could count all the Irish beers on one hand.

In America however, the brewing industry was thriving and most small towns would have at least one or two local breweries producing some amazing brews; ales, wheat beers, porters, reds and some unusual seasonal brews. My favourite beer was Number Nine – an apricot beer from the Magic Hat brewing Company in Vermont. The memory I have of all of these beers was not only the taste but the strong and individual personality behind each of them. They had something special. You got a sense that the people behind the brewing of the beers were passionate about what they did and did it for the love of it. Passion and determination…
So How does a brand develop from a phone call to a six-pack in the fridge?

It started with the perfect brief. It read something like this:

“The brewery will be called Eight Degrees Brewing Company and will produce a range of 4-5 Ales ranging from a Pale Ale, Amber Ale through to a Porter.  The company name originates from the longitude of Ireland (8 degrees west of Greenwich), but nicely coincides with the ideal temperature to serve our beers. Our catch phrase is ‘Naturally Adventurous’ which nicely pulls together the main values of the business: natural ingredients and different flavours that will appeal to the adventurous in spirit.”

So with images of thirsty mountaineers in mind the creative process began. Doodle, draw, design and more design, Scott and Cam selected their iconic 8 Degrees brandmark that would brandish each of their beers. And then to naming their adverturous beers.

For anyone who has every tried to name anything, you know what I am talking about… The process involved the lot of fun, pots of coffee, home made cookies, and a large canvas of yellow stickies. The finalists survived the age-old rivalry of Aussies v’s New Zealand, with any vague bias to one being swiftly caught and vetoed by the other. In the end it was Howling Gale Ale, Knockmealdown Porter, Sunburnt Irish Red and Pioneer Ginger Beer that made the cut.

Names and brandmark in hand the design of the bottle labels were the perfect platform to show off their unique brand personality. Irishness was important, so the tale of the lads being lured to Ireland, as so many before, by Ireland’s best cailins, was told. Their Aussie/New Zealand sense of fun  came through in their thirst provoking tasting notes. This week we have finalized the six pack carriers – don’t forget to read the underside! And the website is currently in development.

The Result….
Eight Degrees Brewing Co was officially launched at the Franciscan Well Easter Beerfest in Cork City in April this year and the first commercial batch of Howling Gale Ale was very well received. My first sip was not just good…it was great. The taste brought me back to those halcyon summers days of my college years, a welcome antidote to the banality of mass produced beers. Cheers guys!


Eight Degrees Facebook Page:

The Green Man Studio Website:

If I can get my ass in gear we will be treated to more of these guest posts 🙂


6 thoughts on “Guest Post: The story of the Eight Degrees packaging design

  1. Even though I’ve heard so much about it from the Eight Degrees boys (over dinner, over breakfast, on car journeys, while brushing my teeth…), it’s great to read about the branding from Erik’s perspective. Imaginative branding and great beer – what’s not to like?!

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  6. I’ve tried a few of the beers and enjoyed them. The branding does really make it stand out. I actually didn’t get the 8 degrees link before now – great idea.

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