Lakefront Brewery Brand + Creative

Lakefront Brewery is one of Milwaukee’s oldest microbreweries, operating since 1987. A true innovator, Lakefront created the first ever USDA-certified organic beer and the first government-approved gluten-free beer, while earning modest sales growth.

Looking to launch a seasonal wheat ale in June 2009, Lakefront hired Boelter + Lincoln to create a name, label and packaging design. Monkey Wheat Ale became an instant success, with sales so strong the brewery was forced to make it a year-round brew. Following that triumph, Lakefront asked B+L to create another new brand from the ground up, this time, an American red IPA. Fixed Gear was an even bigger success, becoming the brewery’s no. 2 seller.

Next, B+L was given an even more daunting task – redesign packaging across the breadth of the brewer’s product portfolio while continuing to use existing (and dissimilar) logos.

  • Create awareness for the Lakefront brand and its selection of products
  • Develop packaging that promotes Lakefront brand and unifies all of its products
  • Boost sales of Lakefront products
  • Created name, designed label and designed packaging for Wheat Monkey Ale:
    • Gained editorial coverage through public relations efforts
  • Created name, designed label and designed packaging for Fixed Gear
  • Created unified “family” of products through packaging design
    • Each beer maintained its unique logo, but cohesive packaging concept united them
  • New label format
  • Various ad hoc PR assignments, including product launches and events
    • Wisconsinite beer
    • My Turn series beers
    • Black Friday event

RESULTS

Barrels sold have increased an estimated 338 percent since B+L began working with Lakefront:

2008 (year before B+L)

10,970

2009

12,979 (up 18 percent from prior year)

2010

17,641 (36 percent)

2011

23,576 (34 percent)

2012

33,368 (42 percent)

2013

40,496 (21 percent)

2014

43,881 (8 percent)
  • Lakefront Brewery is planning to build a second production facility to keep up with demand
  • The resulting design deftly unified the disparate label designs in to a unified “family” look. Retailers, in turn, began displaying the products together and more prominently, giving Lakefront more punch at the consumer point of decision
  • Wheat Monkey Ale, originally expected to be a seasonal beer, was so successful that it became a year-round beer
  • It was Lakefront’s second-best selling beer for several months after the launch
  • Fixed Gear quickly climbed to Lakefront’s second most popular product
  • Labels/packaging have won design awards