Brewing, Branding & Marketing: Why These Brewers Got Their Hands Into Every Aspect

Dockside Brewery brewers Nick Russell, left, and Dylan Salvatore. Photo courtesy Dockside Brewery

Dylan Salvatore admits that for the most part, brewers brew the beer, and the marketing and branding are taken care of by someone else at Dockside Brewery. But for the release of Dockmaster, a new NEIPA released by the Connecticut brewery this spring, it was done a little bit differently.

From recipe to branding and marketing, to label design Salvatore and Nick Russel got to put their hands on everything

“The fitting of all the pieces together — going through everything we’ve done in the past, everything we have out right now and make something different, but still be the same — that was very difficult for me,” he told Brewer in a recent podcast. Being able to put his own spin on things as the brewer and in what he prefers to see in a brand, on top of all of that was really difficult.

Working with the artists, Marketing Director McKenzie Frank, and owner Bob Chicoine, Salvatore said the hardest thing was being vulnerable enough to just throw out ideas. 

“I think I came up with like 20 different ideas and all of them got shot down,” Salvatore said with a laugh. “It’s just like, oh my god, guys, I can’t come up with any more ideas. 

“We were trying way too hard to build something. I came out with like a dog because El Capitan (the brewery’s Mexican Lager) has this sailor as the logo. So I thought, alright, I’m gonna do the sailor’s dog. But it ended up looking like the same logo from a brewery up in Maine. I’m like, Oh, God, come on, man!’ Eventually, the word Dockmaster happened. The master of the dock. We had mooring lines and cleats, just spell the word out and call it a day. And it looks great.”

Despite putting a lot of effort into the creation of this beer, Salvatore agreed a simple look on the design worked best. 

READ MORE: Why Dockside Focused on the Aesthetics of This Beer

“We made it very, very simple because that’s how Nick and I felt about this, we like simplicity,” he said. “We don’t like overdoing things at all. Putting that simplistic label on a beer that is supposed to be very good and very robust in its own right, but still very simplistic and still speaking to the space to the brewery’s brand mattered. 

“Our No. 1 seller is an American Light Lager. So we’ve got to make something a little bit more akin to that. Balancing all those things together was very difficult for me as a brewer who doesn’t normally do this. It was very interesting doing everything from start to finish, but still pretty rewarding. I’m quite happy with how everything’s turning out.”

Salvatore said he learned from talking with other established breweries, like Allagash that your brewery really has no control over your brand.

“Only your consumers do,” he said. “They’re the ones who dictate at the end of the day. The best you can do is just influence it. It has to look the same, but yet slightly different. So when it goes up on a shelf it’ll look like Dockside, but it won’t blend in with the rest of the Dockside beer.”

Watch more in this Brewer Mag Video Podcast

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