Big Brands Re-Imagined as Craft Beers

In recent years, beer trends have changed beyond all recognition. Where big brewery conglomerates (such as Anheuser–Busch InBev (Budweiser, Stella, Corona) and Carlsberg) once dominated the market, now smaller ‘craft’ breweries are taking on their market-share and tantalising consumers with big flavours, bolder styles and exciting branding.

Initially the larger breweries disregarded the trend, perhaps thinking it would be short-lived; a fad that would run its course with little harm to their profits. But as more and more craft breweries were founded, the bigger breweries had no option but to take action.

One way for big breweries to take a slice of the profits involved buying up successful breweries, both domestically and internationally. Molson Coors bought the successful, but relatively small, Sharps Brewery in Cornwall for £20 million, in another example Anheuser–Busch bought up Goose Island Brewery, known for its world-famous and well-respected Goose Island IPA.

The worrying part of all this is that bigger breweries are, on the whole, taking over these companies with relative secrecy. So whilst your average drinker may enjoy his pint of craft beer, he may be totally unaware it is owned by a global conglomerate and is in many ways being deceived.

Another way big breweries are getting a slice of the action is by setting up their own smaller craft breweries and effectively re-branding their old range, hoping a new exciting label or name will help sell an old beer. This is happening with increasing regularity and often the consumer is paying a premium for a not-so premium product.

So far, the majority of the big breweries have resisted re-branding their own globally recognised beers to any major extent. There have been subtle attempts to shift old logos and brands into the 21st century, including gimmicks with can & bottle shapes and in-can technology, but what if these brands decided to entirely re-brand and embrace the craft beer paradigm?

To give you a little idea of what we mean, we’ve had a go at re-branding some of the big guns ourselves:

*Please note that we have no affiliation with Fosters, Carlsberg or Budweiser. This was a for fun project and is in no way endorsed by any of the brands mentioned.

Budweiser

beer on the table

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Simplified from their complex, macho branding. The colours are flat, the script font gone and in its place a straightforward, no nonsense approach. The Anheuser–Busch logo, once almost impossible to see is replaced with a simpler approach ‘AB Brewing Co’ complete with stylised crown.

This is still the beer of the labouring man, he’s just a bit more sophisticated.

Carlsberg

Cold beer bottle with drops, frost and vapour on black

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The famous logo is gone, in its place is a smaller, less dominating one. Where in the original you would order “a pint of Carlsberg, please”, now you can order a bottle of ‘Punchy Pilsner’. You can still order Special Brew, though now adorned with Churchill’s face (his favourite tipple) but with a touch of anarchy.

The fonts are big, loud and in-your-face to match the style and flavours of the craft beer revolution.

Fosters

Glass of beer on a sunset

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Fosters, like the other two above examples, are probably quite happy with their demographic of lager swilling lads. The current branding is brash and all primary colours, so any craft rebrand would have to go right back to basics and strip the look right down. Using the handcrafted look brings a touch of bespoke to the beer, whilst still in keeping with Foster’s relaxed style, it also adds a certain laid back elegance so far unseen in this brand.

Forget the classic, shiny, bevelled metallic look of yester-beer. If a large global lager brand wanted to re-imagine itself as a craft beer, there are several pointers they could take.

Small measures:
Cans and bottles in 330ml (355ml/12 fl oz. in USA) are in, big cans and bottles are out.

Fonts:
Choose something bold, loud and big. Don’t be afraid to cover your entire label in text, just keep it interesting and varied. Angle your text up, across, diagonally if you like – you are making a statement, not a whimper!

Colours:
There are a few approaches available here. The first being a flat colour, with pastel or muted tones. Ditch the gradient, the highlights, the metallic borders, avoid drop shadows or bevels. Make use of old letterpress styles and a handmade approach. in great contrast, the second approach is loud, full of neons, blasts of colour and distressed overlays. Bring a touch of anti-establishment to your branding. Interestingly both these techniques have served Brewdog well in their branding.

Textures:
Labels should reflect the ‘craft’ concept, making use of textured papers, swing tags, rough twine, embossed text and spot varnishes. Move away from glossy labels and metallic foil finishes, lo-fi is where it’s at.

Beer Names:
Where ‘Joe Blogg’s Sparkling Pale Ale’ may have been a perfectly adequate name for a beer in the Victorian age, consumers now want interesting names with stories and intrigue attached to them. Swear words and controversy are optional but regularly occurring in the world of craft beer.

Logos and Brewery Names:
Slight adjustments to your brewery name to include the words ‘Artisan’, ‘Brewing Co’ or even ‘Craft Brewery’ can help your operation seem more humble. Logos can be resurrected from a bygone age (if your brewery is old enough) or simplified/flattened to add further nostalgia to your brand.

*Please note that we have no affiliation with Fosters, Carlsberg or Budweiser. This was a for fun project and is in no way endorsed by any of the brands mentioned.

Cocktail Favourites: Sunswirl

Last but most definitely not least, to round off this series of our cocktail favourites we have a great cocktail which we think is the perfect way to end. This drink just looks like happiness! The holidays are over, a new year is beginning and what better way to start than to enjoy a delicious cocktail like the Sunswirl? This drink is a tasty interpretation of the classic Hurricane; a sweet combination of rum, lemon juice and passion fruit.

The Sunswirl was created during lemon month by Joey from Rated R Cocktails. Using a combination of two rums (El Dorado and Matusalem), pomegranate liqueur, lemon juice, pineapple juice and passion fruit syrup, Joey concocted a drink that has us salivating while writing this post. I mean seriously, what’s not to love?! Joey’s passion for cocktails began in college and he soon realised that he was serious about creating great drinks. His blog is full of amazing recipes an he also contributes to Liquor.com’s Drinkwire.

We love updated classics and when we saw this recipe, we knew it was a drink we would undoubtedly order from a menu. With 2.5oz of liqueur, this cocktail is sure to pack a punch whilst still tasting delicious thanks to the nice combination of fruit juices.

A combination of two rums, fans of the spirit will enjoy this cocktail. Rum is a popular ingredient amongst many Caribbean and tropical drinks due to its predominance in the Caribbean and Latin America. This much loved beverage is made through the process of fermenting sugarcane byproducts and is produces in different grades ranging from light to dark.

El Dorado is an award winning rum produced in Guyana. Their rums are blended from different batches and the age statement on El Dorado products (15 years) refers to the youngest rum in the blend. Matusalem was founded in Cuba but is now produced in the Dominican Republic. The Matusalem Silver is a blend of triple-distilled rums which are then filtered again once combined.

The Sunswirl belongs to the Tiki group of cocktails, of which Joey specialises in. Tiki culture is a Polynesian style that became popular in the 20th century. It has seen a recent surge in popularity again, especially in Tiki cocktails which are typically a mix of rum, syrups and fruit juices.

If you’re a fan of rum then you have to try out the Sunswirl! We promise you won’t be disappointed! Let us know what you think in the comments below or by Tweeting us @Rest_Choice! Don’t forget to send us photos of your beautiful Sunswirls and stay tuned for what we have in store for you next.

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Cocktail Favourites: The Best Amaretto Sour in the World

The Amaretto Sour; a classic enjoyed by many, we’re sure there are many enthusiasts out there that are picky about the ingredients and methods used to make timeless favourite. Just a few simple tweaks and you could be turning your regular sour recipe into something quite extraordinary. Egg whites in your drink might sound unappealing to some, but it’s quite standard and ingredient for serious mixologists who aim to perfect the cocktail experience as a whole and not just give you a sub-standard tasting beverage with questionable alcohol content.

We’re lucky enough to be featuring cocktail expert Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s recipe for The Best Amaretto Sour in the World. Jeffrey is the bar manager at Clyde Common in Portland, Oregon and he’s been in the industry for almost 20 years and writing about it for 10. His passion for bartending ran so deep, that after gaining his degree in interior architecture he decided to pursue a career as a professional bartender. His blog is full of great recipes and Jeffrey loves his readers to participate in the discussion and give their opinion, too!

As the Amaretto Sour is a classic, we just had to include this updated and improved version. A combination of amaretto with a kick of bourbon, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup and egg white; this is a great recipe that can be easily replicated at home!

Fresh egg whites are more or less tasteless so don’t worry about it affecting the flavour of your drink! The addition of this ingredient is purely for texture; it gives a rich silkiness and a foamy top to boot! It can be, and is, added to many different cocktails and the Amaretto Sour is a great example of egg whites being a perfect addition to really just push the drink to being that little bit better. The bourbon in the recipe is added to give the drink more body as amaretto alone is quite weak.

So on to the main ingredient, Amaretto! Many people love the sweetness of this spirit and it’s a popular alcohol to mix with coke for a kind of cherry coke flavour (this of course cannot be compared to an amaretto sour). Amaretto is an Italian liqueur made from apricot pits, almonds or sometimes a mixture of the two. The legend of the origin of Amaretto is that, when the Saronno Church commissioned Bernardino Luini to paint their sanctuary in 1525, he used a model that gifted him with a concoction made of apricot kernels steeped in brandy. And thus, amaretto was created.

Be sure to share this recipe with your friends and let us know what you think by leaving a comment below or tweeting us @Rest_Choice! Also check out the video below of Jeffrey talking about his Amaretto Sour!

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Cocktail Favourites: Cinnamon Sour

Last week we gave you The Best Amaretto Sour in the World. This week’s cocktail is another spin on the classic drink which we think is perfect for all of the Christmas celebrations! Did we really just say that? It’s Christmas already! Anyway! With a few changes, including the addition of yummy cinnamon, this recipe makes an excellent spicy beverage to complement all of the rich flavours and scents of Christmas. The sweetness of the Amaretto blends so beautifully with warmth of the spice; we’re drooling just thinking about it; and the addition of whole cinnamon sticks looks delightful, too!

The Cinnamon Sour is a recipe from Elsie at A Beautiful Mess (if you haven’t heard of it, what do you do on the internet?! Don’t answer that…).  A Beautiful Mess is a lifestyle company and blog which features all topics ranging from food and home to crafts and fashion. A quick look through Elsie’s blog posts and it’s plain to see she’s a fan of cocktails and she has shared many creative and unique recipes!

We figured the Cinnamon Sour would be a great drink to share around Christmas time, when all things cinnamon are most often enjoyed (although we do like the fact that cinnamon flavoured sweets seemed to have gained popularity recently!).

Similarly to Jeffrey’s Amaretto Sour, Elsie has included Jameson Whiskey to give the drink a little more oomph. Jameson is the bestselling Irish whiskey in the world with the USA being the largest market. The company was established in 1780 with annual production at about 30,000 gallons. In 2013 surpassed 56.4million bottles!

The addition of cinnamon is what sets this cocktail apart with both ground and whole being used. We know, cinnamon can be one of those love it or hate ingredients, but trust us if you love it, you’ll love this recipe!

Cinnamon is used in all sorts of recipes ranging from drinks and desserts to savoury foods particularly with meats. A fact that some may not know, cinnamon is actually the inner bark of trees from the Cinnamomum genus. Cinnamomum Vera or “true cinnamon” is one of these trees and makes up about 30% of the world’s global annual production. 80-90% of “true cinnamon” is produced in Sri Lanka and it is the only species grown there.

Why not try out the Cinnamon Sour for Christmas and let us know what you think? Leave us a comment or Tweet us @Rest_Choice!

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Food Movie Puns Posters

If you haven’t yet had a chance to rummage through our archives and check out the IFDb (that’s the Internet Foodie Database), then do it now as in today’s post, we recover five of our favourite movie posters to coincide with their new foodie pun names.

Here at Restaurant Choice we are, quite clearly, massive food fans. We also happen to love films too. After spotting the #foodmovies hashtag on Twitter, we couldn’t think of a better way to spend a day than pulling together the very best funny food titles in to one epic list. Thus, the IFDb was born; 250 movie title puns in one place.

This month, we decided to bring the IFDb back to the surface so we picked five of our favourite movie title puns and mocked up our own versions of their promotional posters. Each film is celebrating a special birthday this year, but what film posters would you like to see us make next? Continue reading

Cocktail Favourites: Hibiscus Rum Buck

It’s that time of the week again! That’s right, it’s another edition of our cocktail favourites and this week we’ve got a tasty drink that looks super exciting, too! With the tropical and Caribbean influences of hibiscus syrup and white rum, this sweet and refreshing recipe is a great one to have in your repertoire as it’s sure to be loved by all. Not to mention its cool dual layer look will almost certainly leave a lasting impression on your guests!

As well as the white rum and delicious hibiscus syrup, the cocktail also contains lime juice and ginger beer which wonderfully complements the subtle floral and fruity notes of the syrup. This beautiful creation, the Hibiscus Rum Buck, comes straight from Todd at Honestly Yum. Todd is the Drinks Editor and has a serious passion for fine food and drink. An experienced mixologist, Todd now enjoys experimenting and creating cocktails at home and shares his delicious recipes on the blog!

Seriously, we didn’t even read what was in this thing before deciding that we were going to include it in our cocktail favourites; it just looks that. good. But don’t think that this drink is all show and no substance because it’s just as tasty as it is pretty!

The original Buck is a simple combination of rum, brandy, gin or whiskey; lime juice and ginger ale. The history of the drink is a little sketchy but seems to have come from Mamie Taylor; a singer around 1900 who popularised a drink consisting of scotch, lime juice and ginger ale. As time passed and Mamie was forgotten, the drink was renamed as a buck and a rum buck can also be called a Jamaican Buck or a Barbados Buck, which refers to the type of rum used.

The addition that sets this Rum Buck apart from the rest is of course the delicate flavour and vibrant colour of the hibiscus syrup. The beautiful hibiscus flower is native to warm-temperate, subtropical and tropical climates around the world and is very symbolic in many countries. The national flower of South Korea, Malaysia and Haiti; it is also celebrated in India, the Phillipines, Tahiti and Hawaii where women wear the flower behind their ear to signify whether or not the woman is married or in a relationship.

Aside from the syrup, hibiscus is enjoyed around the world as a tea which contains vitamin c and other minerals and is often used as a traditional medicine. Doesn’t this seem like a great way to get some more vitamins and minerals into our diet?! Dried or candied hibiscus is a delicacy in Mexico and certain species are now becoming more popular for use as a natural food colouring!

Don’t you just love the look of this cocktail?! Try it out and let us know what you think by leaving a comment below or tweeting us @Rest_Choice. Don’t forget to send us the photos of your cocktail creations!

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Cocktail Favourites: El Ganso

Is it really the end of November ALREADY? It seems like only yesterday we were enjoying our summer holidays, lying by the beach sipping on a tasty cocktail. This week’s beverage of choice would be perfect for just that and not only is a light and refreshing enough for those summer days, it’s also not so sickly sweet that you couldn’t drink it during any occasion! In fact, the addition of Mezcal, with its smokey, earthy notes, make this cocktail a great one to be enjoyed all year round.

Along with the unique and intriguing Mezcal, other ingredients of this cocktail are lime juice, salt and gooseberry soda. So few ingredients but such an interesting flavour combination that earned this great concoction a spot in our series of cocktail favourites! The El Ganso comes from Andrea, a journalist in Denmark with a serious weakness for gin (hence the name of her blog, Ginhound!). Gin isn’t the only thing you’ll find on there, as this delightful cocktail proves, and Andrea uses her blog to share her recipes and bar reviews.

A nice addition to this cocktail is the gooseberry soda, which we don’t often come by in the UK. The acidity of the gooseberries balance the depth and smokiness of the mezcal. In cooking a good substitute for gooseberries is rhubarb although we are not sure how this would work out in a drink! They are often described as being like sour grapes and are native to many parts of Europe, Asia, Northwestern Africa and America.

Mezcal gives us all the alcohol in the El Ganso and is a great spirit which has seen a growth in popularity in recent years. As mixology is being seen more of an art and a lifestyle, many non-experts are enjoying it and trying out lesser known drinks.

Mezcal is similar to tequila in that they are both Mexican and they are both made from the agave plant. There are, however, three main differences between them. Firstly, they are made in different states of Mexico; Tequila being made in the region of Tequila. The way in which they are made is different, leading to the distinctly different tastes and if you’ve read our other cocktail favourites posts, you may be aware that tequila can only legally be made from blue agave. Mezcal, however, can be made from over 30 different kinds. This actually means that technically, all tequilas are in fact mezcals!

Do you like the sound of the El Ganso? Try it out and let us know what you think and don’t forget to tweet us you photos @Rest_Choice or leave a comment down below! Stay tuned for next weeks cocktail favourite!

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Cocktail Favourites: Santo Remedio

Summer is over, the temperature is dropping every single day and it seems like every other week there is a new strain of flu going around amongst everyone you know. But what if there was a cure to all of this drabness? A wonderful, tasty, alcoholic cure that isn’t really a cure but gives us an excuse to drink copious amounts of the stuff. Let us introduce you to the Santo Remedio. A beautiful blend of tequila, Drambuie, maraschino liqueur and ginger, honey and thyme syrup this just has to have SOME flu fighting properties, right?
 
The Santo Remedio is the creation of Raul from Death to Sour Mix. Raul lives in Boston and started Death to Sour Mix as a way to share his knowledge and ideas on mixology with an emphasis on the importance of using fresh ingredients. Aside from his collection of great recipes, Raul has a great sense of humour which makes his blog posts a pleasure to read and his site one to bookmark if you enjoy the cocktail culture. Death to Sour Mix was the 2014 Winner of the Saveur Best Cocktail Blog so you know you’re learning from the best!
 
We chose the Santo Remedio purely because it looks and sounds delicious. Oh and we really liked the name!

The touch of Drambuie in this drink, along with its whisky, honey and herb mixture, give the sense that this *ahem* “medicinal” concoction really is a cure. Given that it’s paired with highly alcoholic (i.e. antibacterial) tequila and maraschino liqueur (cough syrup, anyone?), we don’t think anyone can say that this drink isn’t suitable for consumption whilst sick.
 
The majority of the alcohol in this recipe comes from the tequila, which is a hugely popular ingredient in many cocktails. Tequila get its name from the city of Tequila, Mexico as it is produced in this region. It’s very similar to Mezcal but uses only blue agave plants. By law, spirits named Tequila can only come from Mexico but nowadays it is enjoyed all over the world. The origins of tequila go back a long way, with the Aztecs having made a drink from fermented agave plant. Tequila was then first produced in the 16th century when the Spanish conquistadors began to distil it.
 
Do you love this cocktail as much as we do? Try it out and share it with your friends! Let us know what you think by tweeting us @Rest_Choice or by writing on our Facebook Wall!

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Cocktail Favourites: Attica Star

We’re back with our cocktail favourites and we have a really interesting recipe for you this week! There are no foody ingredients like bacon or pumpkin this week, but a really nice liqueur all the way from Greece that we haven’t really seen used in a cocktail before! The freshness of the lime, sweetness of the honeymix, kick of tequila and smoothness of the Metaxa make this a great cocktail for any occasion!
 
The aptly named Attica Star comes straight from cocktail enthusiast Helena Tiare Olsen. Helena is a proud member of the International Rum Expert Panel with a passion for tiki drinks, which we are happy to say have made a comeback in recent years. Her blog, A Mountain of Crushed Ice, is packed full of great rum reviews and delicious cocktail recipes. Seriously, it’s easy to spend hours on her site! Helena lives in Stockholm, Sweden and in 2013 won Rum Blogger of the Year!
 
Strangely enough, the cocktail of Helena’s that we chose to feature doesn’t contain rum but we were incredibly excited when we came across it as it contains one of our favourite spirits: Metaxa.
 

 
Metaxa was created in 1888 by Spyros Metaxas in Greece. This delicious liquor is a blend of brandy and wine mixed with an aromatic blend of herbs and floral extracts to create an incredibly delicious drink which is amazingly smooth on the palate. This smoothness was what Spyros was aiming for as most spirits in the 19th century were lacking this. Today Metaxa is enjoyed around the world and prides itself on surviving two world wars and being the first liquor to be consumed in space!
 
It’s unique flavour and Mediterranean origins make Metaxa a great addition to your bar and we can imagine many great recipes with this drink! The sweet honeymix that this recipe calls for is a simple syrup of 1:1 honey and water and complements the floral notes of the Metaxa beautifully!
 
What do you think about this cocktail? Have you tried Metaxa or have any other recipes using it? Let us know by tweeting us @Rest_Choice or by writing on our Facebook Wall!
 

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