From the early days when Great Raft Brewing was just an idea on a sheet of paper, we knew that in order to stand out in the exploding craft beer market, we would need clean, powerful design and a strong, consistent brand. We extensively researched some of our favorite beers and beer brands to get ideas. Of course, the beer will speak for itself, but it’s also important to build a strong brand with which the public can identify. We knew from the start that we wanted to work with a designer who could not only help us build the Great Raft Brewing brand, but also had experience within the craft beer market. That’s why we’ve been working with DeRouen & Co. out of Austin, Texas from the get-go.
DeRouen & Co. has done some amazing work for other craft breweries such as Shiner and Hops & Grain Brewing, and we knew that we wanted them to be part of the team in this effort. Not only were we impressed with their previous work, but the company is based within a few hours of Shreveport. Knowing that we could pack up and meet in person to collaborate on projects as needed was appealing.
“Our initial brand assignment was to playfully reference the history and heritage of Shreveport paying special attention to the brewery’s namesake the Great Raft. This 180-mile logjam obstructed the Red River and was finally cleared in 1838. After its founding in 1836, Shreveport grew to become a center of steamboat commerce and a vibrant part of the Deep South. After immersing ourselves in the history of the region, our representation of a steam snagboat fell into place as an iconic representation of Great Raft Brewing. Paired with hand drawn type, the logo is a contemporary take on older, more traditional beer typography. Tap handles, growlers and supporting elements pick up this thread and play off of Southern tradition and the visual style and culture of the steamboat era,” Derrit DeRouen, owner and founder of DeRouen & Co. said of the project.
When naming the brewery, we wanted to pay homage to our hometown of Shreveport. The Great Raft name allowed us to do that, and also created some interesting creative opportunities as we further developed the brand. The tap handles are smoke stacks, much like those on the steam boats found on the river once the Great Red River Raft was cleared. The tops of the tap handles hold the brand names of each individual Great Raft beer brand and are shaped like clouds of smoke above the smoke stack.
We didn’t want the Great Raft Brewing brand to live completely in the past, and DeRouen & Co. has done a great job of adding a clean, modern edge to the brand. Our slogan is “Drink Real Beer. You Deserve It” and our mission is to educate consumers that “Real Beer” is becoming more widely available in a variety of styles, and encourage them to try it instead of what TV advertisements tell them to drink. The growler designs are sharp and have the modern vintage look we wanted.
Derrit and his team have done nothing but exceed our expectations with overall brand development, and we are excited to show you the latest in the Great Raft Brewing brand development – our can designs.
Great Raft Brewing and DeRouen & Co. have been working on can designs for nearly six months. The process started with me and Andrew brainstorming about what types of design and imagery to which we were drawn. We always knew that we wanted our beer to be different and stand out on in this market, and similarly, we wanted our cans to be bold and stand out on the shelf.
The full-can illustrations from other breweries such as 21st Amendment and Half Acre stood out to us. We wanted to bring that artistic element to our cans here in Louisiana to represent our brand, and most importantly, the beer inside.
It didn’t take long for us to determine the artist with whom we wanted to work. We reached out to Justin Helton at Status Serigraph to help us create can designs for our Commotion Pale Ale and Southern Drawl Pale Lager. We have some of Justin’s concert posters framed at the house and found that his prints embody the south. We shared our initial thoughts with DeRouen & Co. and they managed that process and what has resulted is truly remarkable.
“Decidedly tongue-in-cheek, the cans are a collaboration between engraving illustrations by Justin Helton overlaid by our typography. This visual representation imbues the spirit of a brewery that brings creative and finely hand-crafted beers to a new audience most familiar with Big Brewery lagers,”Derrit added.
We are excited to announce that these cans are currently in production and will hit the shelves of northwest Louisiana in February.