How Alternate Ending​ Created a Unique Look to Tap Into Its Community

​Creating eye-catching designs that tell a story and draw in a consumer can be the first step toward ​capturing that person toward an enjoyable stay at your taproom.

Design and pop culture while also connecting to the community was on the mind of Alternate Ending Beer when the Aberdeen Township, New Jersey brewery staked its home in a local movie theater.

“We have tried to incorporate movie and theater elements into many aspects of the brewpub,” explained Marketing & Creative Director​, ​Alexis Castellano, “some in subtle ways, some in obvious ways, without making it too “themey” — [we’re] just trying to keep the magic alive.”

Castellano, along with brother Scott Novick — the brewery’s founder — grew up going to the theater (then named Bow Tie Cinemas) so they knew in planning out the space that it would incorporate certain elements of the theater to keep the nostalgia and memories alive.

“This was extremely important to us since many of the local people were quite attached to the theater, as it was a staple of the community for many years,” Castellano said.

The design was formulated in the minds of the AE group along with bringing in designers BoyBurnsBarn and Skuback Design to get ideas and an outsider’s perspective to what would be capturing to a consumer.

“Both of them listened to us intently, really understood our vision, and brought that vision to life,” Castellano said. “They were able to add their own fresh ideas and perspectives, and together we collaborated on making this old space into something new, beautiful, fun, and experiential.

“The beauty of partnerships and collaborations is that you circle around ideas and they just build and build until you end up with something even more amazing than you expected.”

READ MORE: The Design Insights Behind This Netherlands Brewery’s Brand

​The brewpub’s look recently caught the eye of the Craft Beer Marketing Awards‘ judges as the new facility grabbed a Platinum Crushie for the work done in the “Most Creative Signage, POS & Brewery Accessories” category.​

The most unique things ​to AE Beer’s look are the dioramas built into the walls. Castellano​ said they​ reached out to some local artists to help create beautiful visual displays.

The one in the movie room is based on JAWS and is titled “What If Brody Missed?” —​ ​because​, like Castellano said: ​’We are all about alternate endings here!​’

“We are very community-oriented, and many people believe that the movie JAWS is partly based on the real-life shark attacks at Matawan Creek in the early 1900s,” she explained. “Matawan is the adjoining town to Aberdeen, where AE is located, so most locals know something about this story. We had a local historian write a blurb on the shark attacks, and have it on display next to the diorama, so our guests can learn more about the inspiration behind it.”

They also have two other dioramas, one is a replica of the original Bow Tie movie theater, and another is an homage to the last scene of The Sopranos and New Jersey in general.

Castellano​ also shared a list of some design thoughts that helped tie AE’s name to the theater and its community:

  • ​Novick contacted the owners of the Bow Tie to see if he could purchase some of the seats. ​”​We had them reupholstered to fit with the brewpub’s aesthetic but keep the movie theater vibe going. They are now known as the ​’​booths​,’​” she said.
  • ​Above those booths are original lightboxes from the theater. Those boxes ​are ​used to display movie names above each theater entrance, and our designer John Turner​ from BoyBurnsBarn​ redesigned them to fit in with ​AE’s branding and color scheme.
  • ​The brewpub also utilized original movie poster lightboxes that were displayed outside the theater to show what movies were showing; ​there are two of them by ​the host stand, which was built to look like a concession stand in a movie theater.
  • ​Turner ​also ​designed “movie” posters based on ​the brewery’s can designs, so ​they can show what beers are “​Coming ​Soon” — just like a movie theater​.
  • ​​The host stand displays AE merch and traditional movie theater candy, which is a big hit with ​kids​ and during ​the brewpub’s monthly movie nights.
  • ​​Within the brewpub, ​they have a movie room with a 200​-inch​ screen, where movies are always showing in the background. ​”We designed our theater room to have a cozy, homey feel,” Castellano said.

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