Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Dundee Beer Revamped

Apparently dropping the "JW" from the name, Dundee Beer -- brewed at High Falls Brewery in Rochester, NY --has revamped their brand and changed their labels.

So sayeth Patrick Magallanes, VP of marketing for High Falls:

"If you look at our existing packaging, we sit next to Michelob and Rolling Rock in the premium beer section. Our beers are undervalued in the marketplace and we've created that undervalue. We should be next to Saranac and Sam Adams. Packaging is what sells."

While we are not sure that packaging alone is "what sells," we are glad to see Dundee stepping it up in the regional craft beer market. And I must say, their labels are gorgeous. Let's look at a couple, blatantly stolen from Dundee's much-improved website.

This label for the Pale Bock has a touch of tradition, and a touch of modernistic artistry. One internet site states that "bock" is German for "billygoat," which may or may not be true. (Any German-speakers out there? We're too lazy to Google it.)

The light orange color and attractive new typeface are the backdrop of a goat of some kind performing a fanciful, whimsical dance of some sort. The goat appears to be a dapper old-timey gentleman, wearing the garb of another era. The label makes us feel happy and thirsty.

Another nice touch is at the bottom of the label where it reads "Big and Malty." It's nice of a beer company to give a brief description of what the beer is like to give neophytes a glimpse into what they can expect. (For example, IPA reads "Bold and Bitter.")

If the Pale Bock harkens back to the Caprinae traditions and superstitions of German brewing, the Porter recalls the timeless image of a doorman -- in his traditional garb -- ostensibly counting down the minutes until he can get off of work and fill up his stein.

Modern beer mythology has always considered the porter to be the blue-collar working man's beer. It was said that porters were the beers that were too burnt for the bourgeouisie to drink, so they were given to the working class porters and servants who would drink anything they could get their hands on. This explanation is likely not grounded in any fact, however it's nice to see Dundee nodding toward tradition with this light-hearted and evocative label with this "Roasted and Robust" beer.

It should be noted, also, that the script of the new Dundee bottles evoke broadway posters of the 1920s through the 1940s: lots of serifs and flourishes. It gives us a nice, nostalgic feeling to look at.

While each of the six new labels (and the seasonals, such as the upcoming Oktoberfest) deserve equal scrutiny for their artistry and sense of history, the last one we will give a once-over is Dundee's Pale Ale.

This label is clever on a couple of levels. First, it depicts a frog on a lilypad, dressed as an English gentleman, with a double-breasted brown suit, cane and bowler hat. As Pale Ales owe much of their worldly success to their growth in England (the term was coined there in the early 1800s), so too does this label owe to the good-natured collective bloke across the pond.

And since so many of us are so enamored with beer and beer terminology that we can't see the forest for the trees anymore, the tagline on this beer is "Enjoyably hoppy." It took us a moment to realize that the term "hop" is also a verb, and doesn't need to necessarily be preceded by "dry-" to be used as such.

We checked Wegmans in Syracuse, NY today, but alas, the "JW" Dundee's beers there had the previous -- although not altogether unattractive -- packaging. Beerjanglin' and all it's beerjanglers hope that this marks a new foray for Dundee to the upper echelon of regional craft brewing.

[Update: Someone on noted that the man on the Porter is a train conductor. Based on the size of the picture, I wasn't able to see the sign that says "Arrivals." I'm a bit of an idiot.]


Adam said...

"Packaging is what sells"

Hmmm, last time I checked it was the contents of the bottle...

Bill said...

I mean, the packaging will catch the eye, but to say that labels alone somehow improve the drinking experience is suspect at best.

That said, I will totally buy more of these because the packaging is so awesome.


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