Refreshing Brand … Not Rebranding for Cigar City

After a new logo set that came out in mid-November, Cigar City Brewing unveil a refreshed look for all packaging, which will launch in all their markets soon.

“By refreshing, we were not looking to reinvent the wheel but instead optimize it and make it work more efficiently,” said Tiffany Cox, the brewery’s Creative Manager, in a release. “We had a lot of successful elements in the previous designs but lacked overall harmony, our creative goal was to make these new designs feel like a natural evolution of their predecessor, for a look that definitively screams Cigar City Brewing.”

Using elements that speak to Florida history and culture along with showcasing the brewery’s Tampa roots, Cigar City hopes they will resonate with markets outside of Florida as well.

BREWER: Why was this rebranding done?
COX: Going into this project, I actively coached my team to avoid the term “rebrand”, because that implies that things need to completely change. The goal is to make these new designs feel like a natural evolution of their predecessor, this helps maintain and nurture the brand loyalty you have worked so hard to cultivate. The primary reason we went through these changes was to have more consistency in the marketplace. Our old logo, while it served us well, contained too many colors to be presented cross-medium in a standardized fashion. Our goal was to rework this mark so that regardless of scale and the final medium, it was clearly Cigar City Brewing. Visual consistency is extremely crucial for any brand, especially when launching new markets. In that same vein, we decided to refresh our cans and other packaging to create harmony amongst our brands and create a strong visual set. Illustrations are now done in the same hand and information can be found in standardized locations.

BREWER:  How did you accumulate feedback to get started? What sort of questions did you ask yourself about your former look?
COX: Across our organization, we have so many unique points of view and years of experience, that we started with an internal survey. We asked our team to personify the brand and discuss who they think we are versus how we are currently represented in the marketplace. While a lot of the things discussed by our team were expected, they did shed light on directions we had never thought of. Throughout the process, we utilized this survey as a gut-check to make sure we were proceeding in the right direction. Outside of the great insights provided, by including the full team we were also able to ease everyone into the new aesthetic.

BREWER: How tough was to take that info in, digest it and get that true reflection of what you were to the public at that time?
COX: No one likes hearing negative things about an organization they have put blood, sweat, and tears into but feedback is the only way to understand how to improve.

BREWER: What do you consider the top things that an established brewery needs to look at right now with the way the market works to help continue growth?
COX: You have to establish a strong identity for yourself with a clear voice. Consumers need to know who you are without needing to read the packaging; this is especially true when introducing new brands. Outside of that, invest in a beer finder, make it as easy as possible for on-the-go consumers to find your products.

This interview was edited and condensed for clarity.

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