Hardknott Brewery Case Study

“Our goal is to make the most stunning beers that have ever come out of West Cumbria.”

One of the first things Hardknott said to LemonTop was “Our goal is to make the most stunning beers that have ever come out of West Cumbria.” That was quite a bold statement as there were already some quite formidable beers and brewers in the area but Dave’s passion was clear to see. Dave liked the way LemonTop added a twist of creativity and originality to everything we do so asked us to create the whole package, starting with an initial fresh brand identity for the brewery, all the way through to labels, point of sale and promotional literature.

The perfect opportunity to stretch our minds and stimulate our creativity.

The brewery team at Hardknott had long since noticed people were becoming bored with mainstream drinks and were being drawn into the craft brewery sector so everyone was keen on creating something new and different with a fresh approach to both their beer and brand identity. We knew it would be an interesting challenge going up against some of the UK’s best beer brands, but it’s this type of test that inspires and excites us as well as giving us the opportunity to stretch our minds and stimulate our creativity.

The rural and rustic area gave us the perfect platform.

The design of Hardknott’s brand identity began by a visit to one of the most stunningly beautiful locations you could imagine. Hardknott’s birthplace was at the foot of the notorious Hardknott Pass, from which they took their name. Visiting this part of Cumbria was inspiration enough for our creative team who marched forward with a number of logo designs to kickstart the branding process. Dave himself will tell you he’s a bit of a perfectionist, so from the outset he played a big part in the branding. It’s always nice to have a client who knows what he wants the brand to achieve and Dave was always quick to respond to our ideas and visuals, giving us all the information we needed to create something really special. The final logo, branding and colourways were perfectly suited to the rural and rustic area and gave us the perfect platform to design and launch the range of beers Hardknott were producing.

Modern Range

Dave wanted to create sessionable beers that you could enjoy with friends and was influenced by a whole world of beers like Belgian Monastery beers and American Craft Beers. Starting with Azimouth, an IPA blending hop varieties from around the globe, we put together a few ideas that would tie the beer to the Hardknott brand. At first it seemed like a complex job because of all the different characteristics and flavour points of these new ales, but once we got to know the stories behind each one, the creativity began to flow. We had a lot to consider, especially when looking at the range of competitors labels but we love a challenge.

It’s a science

Dave believes that brewing beer is more than an art, it’s a science, so he gave his initial range of beers very scientific names. This gave us a great starting theme and allowed us to be really creative with imagery and colours. Using the same unique shape of the logo we created a range of 6 unique beer bottle labels as well as matching pump clips and keg badges. Each label was designed around the name and ingredients, but all were designed with the same look and feel giving us an eye-catching, colourful and unique range.

Inspired by science fiction

The natural progression of the next set of labels was to create a bolder, more illustrative art style but remain within the Hardknott brand guidelines. As Dave was still keen on using the scientific theme throughout the brand he came up with names that reminded us all of the futuristic space themed TV programmes we watched in our younger days. We drew on the style of vintage science fiction posters, giving us scope to be more illustrative and innovative in the creative process. Each of the labels is detailed with a variety of different characters in science fiction themed settings. Dave was delighted with the end product so it will be interesting to see what he has in mind for his future beers.

Brewing beer is more than an art…it’s a science!

Now located at the foot of Black Combe, which dominates the skyline of the Duddon Estuary, Hardknott continue to develop, invest, innovate and drive forward with their goal of creating stunning craft beer.