A New Notch in the Beer Market

by Holland-Mark | April 23, 2010

Chris Lohring is, in the local parlance, “a wicked cool kid.” A longtime consumer brand guy and FOH-M, Chris was also a co-founder of Tremont Brewery, and is a beer snob like many of us at the agency.

A few months back he and Chris Colbert were having a conversation about a category Chris L. felt was about to take off in America, the category of session beers.

Session beers are so named because they’re built for a session at the local pub. Low alcohol but full flavored, they’re the one beer to have when you’re having more than two. Quoting Martyn Cornell’s great Zythophile blog:

“I love session beers. I love the way they make a good evening down the pub with friends even better. What makes a good session beer is a combination of restraint, satisfaction and ‘moreishness.’ Like the ideal companions around a pub table, a great session beer will not dominate the occasion and demand attention; at the same time its contribution, while never obtrusive, will be welcome, satisfying and pleasurable; and yet, though each glass satisfies, like each story in the night’s long craic, the best session beers will still leave you wishing for one more pint, to carry on the pleasure.”

Brewing a good session beer is tricky, because getting just the right balance of alcohol and flavor requires some vigilance over the brewing process, and a practiced hand at the barrel. Chris Lohring – having two such hands – came to us with his vision for the first great American session ale, and the product of his labors in a pair of re-used but properly chilled dark quart bottles. He asked our help in building the brand around “the liquid.” We signed up on the spot.

After assembling a message model in record time, including a One Simple Thing™ that was pretty straightforward (“Session”), we kicked around some brand names before finding one that said everything we needed to say: “Notch.” From there we worked up some creative treatments for the mark, then labels, then a web front-end, etc., all culminating in the brand identity you see at right.

Meanwhile, Chris focused on perfecting the recipe and timing for Notch, and on securing the right production and distribution partners. He worked the content marketing channels on his blog, Twitter, and Facebook, telling the stories of both session beer and the birth of Notch. Together we chose Boston’s SlowFest as the perfect venue to bring our creation to the public, and tonight is the big night.

Every client is special, and every project has something in it that you can bring a little bit of yourself to. But, speaking for the whole agency, Notch feels like our baby almost as much as it’s our good friend Chris Lohring’s. Bringing his vision to life and to the world has been a real privilege and a lot of fun for all of us, and we wish him and this brilliantly crafted tipple the win they so richly deserve.

Please join us to celebrate tonight with an ice cold Notch at the SlowFest VIP event