thunder::tech helped a new microbrewery develop an identity that supported its roots while propelling it into the future


The founders of Goldhorn Brewery had a crazy idea: build a microbrewery and tap house that serves delicious seasonal beers deeply rooted in the district’s Slovenian heritage and also create a space where the diverse local community can come together to laugh, share stories and enjoy each other’s company. Oh, and the brewery’s mascot would be a magical goat.
Slovenian folktales tell the story of Zlatorog (the “Golden Horn”), a pure white goat with solid gold horns who lived high in the mountains and guarded a great treasure. The tale gets dark as a young maiden spurns the love of a brave hunter who then climbs the mountains to claim the Goldhorn’s treasure. It does not go well for him.
Armed only with a name and this folktale, the founders of Goldhorn came to thunder::tech to bring their brand to life.

A new brand rooted in old values

After researching the legend of the Goldhorn, thunder::tech created a logo that reflected the folktale with a noble white beast atop a rocky mountainside. The typeface is traditional yet contemporary to represent the brand’s commitment to the past while serving customers in the present moment. Additional branding elements were introduced to support the old world, hand-crafted nature of the brewery, including distressed wood textures, hand-drawn illustrations and a muted color palette.
As part of the initial branding work, thunder::tech developed a manifesto for the brewery. The aspirational statement served as a rallying cry for the brewery and an engaging way to introduce the brand to the public. The manifesto supported the aims and goals of the brewery, including bringing back the traditions and techniques that thrived in the Slovenian neighborhood’s past and using them to welcome Cleveland back to the neighborhood.
thunder::tech consulted on the interior design while the tap room build-out proceeded. Early stage renderings helped the owners visualize the way the brand could live in the space and a plan to use it as effectively as possible. Ultimately, thunder::tech helped develop the look and feel of the space, contributing graphics, posters, coasters, table tents, apparel, glassware and other tactical elements. thunder::tech even went so far as to write a condensed version of the Goldhorn legend that was later calligraphed over a mural painted by a celebrated local artist.
Immediately prior to and after the opening, thunder::tech helped Goldhorn take advantage of advertising and promotion opportunities as they arose, including advertising in the program for the yearly Cleveland Kurentovanje (Slovenian Spring festival). The festivities started directly across the street from the brewery and included a parade that went right past its front windows—an excellent chance to introduce the brand to the surrounding community.


Beyond the tap room

Shortly after starting full production, the owners decided to start packaging their two most popular beers for sale at grocery stores and other regional retail outlets. They wanted a can design that reflected the handcrafted and rugged vibe of the brewery.
thunder::tech created a unique packaging solution for the brewery. Drawing from the natural wood and industrial touches of the taproom, the labels were designed to look like the cans were carved from dark natural wood. This allowed the rich gold and bright white of the logo and text to jump off of the dark label and catch a beer enthusiast’s eye. In addition, a color system was created to make each variety of the family of beers distinguishable.
As a fun extra touch, a Cleveland-centric illustration was added to the back of each can to match the variety. For example, thunder::tech created an accordion for the “Polka City Pilsner” can and the sharp turn sign for the “Dead Man’s Curve IPA” can.
The following fall, thunder::tech designed the uniquely different label for Goldhorn’s unusual new holiday brew: “Misfit Toys Holiday Stout.”
Want to learn more? thunder::tech can help you with logo design, marketing strategy, packaging, collateral, advertising and more. Contact us today!

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