Service Brewing Co.

Local brewery Service Brewing Co. approached us for fresh new can designs for their seasonal brews. The veteran-owned and -operated craft brewery brews, cans, and distributes large-scale beers year round, but our task was to dress cans for the small batch innovative seasonal ales. With a brand built in homage to American military history and dedicated to honoring veterans and first responders, the seasonal ales are named for historical military narratives. Thus, the can designs needed to transcend traditional marketing and packaging to become instruments of storytelling. Each beer warranted a wholly unique look, but one that complemented the Service brand and elements of their visual identity.

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The can designs needed to transcend traditional marketing and packaging to become instruments of storytelling.

We embraced the opportunity to diversify the can designs with drastically different styles, meanwhile maintaining small consistencies through the application of the mark and secondary design elements at the tops of the cans. Design elements on each can reflect both the story of the beer’s namesake as well as key ingredients of the seasonal offering. All of the designs feature custom type, with the exception of the Savannah Banana beer, where we had to employ the trademark team logo.

Design elements on each can reflect both the story of the beer’s namesake as well as key ingredients of the seasonal offering.

General Sherman torched much of the South on his 1864 March to the Sea, but he spared the city of Savannah, Georgia, presenting it as a gift to President Lincoln. Aptly named Lincoln’s Gift, this seasonal beer is a sweet stout brewed with locally harvested May River oysters. The use of ink in the can design tied together two concepts: the ocean where the oysters grow, and the representation of a signature from a historical document. The lines found across the can represent lowland topography and mimic the shape of the oyster.

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The best designers are the ones that can interpret your vision, brand, or story and create a final product that is beyond what you imagined.

Meredith Sutton, Creative Marketing Director, Service Brewing Company

One of the greatest military honors is serving with the 3rd U.S. Infantry—the Old Guard. Sergeant Heather Johnson was the first woman to guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and joined the ranks of the Old Guard in 1996. She is depicted on the can in an illustration reminiscent of old engraving styles for U.S. currency. The can colors and brass typography reflect not only the pristine and ornamented uniforms of the Old Guard, but also the colors of the copper brew. This Bière de Garde is a malty farmhouse ale accented by wildflower honey. Hence the honeycomb pattern crowning the can.

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The Focus Lab team has a genuine excitement for design. They kicked off our project with great communication and kept us up to date throughout the entire design process.

Meredith Sutton, Creative Marketing Director, Service Brewing Company

Responsible for loading artillery rounds in battle, the Gun Bunny is a brave and pivotal player on the battlefield. Can design was appropriately inspired by the explosive-themed design elements of vintage Blackcat fireworks packaging and includes bursts on the top ring over hand-drawn orange slices, a key ingredient in the classic Belgian-style witbier. The sketches of bombs and hand-scrawled lettering flanking either side of the central portrait harken a military tradition of writing names on bombs before they are dropped.

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Service Brewing partnered with local community baseball team, the Savannah Bananas, with this refreshing session beer that is brewed with Belgian yeast and—you guessed it—bananas. The can design highlights the main ingredient and team mascot. Secondary elements of stitching and pinstripes adorn the can and tie in the baseball theme. The trademark team logo and type accompany the Service logo.

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Legend has it that ferocity and fearlessness of Marines in World War II earned them the nickname Teufel Hunden, or “Devil Dogs,” by the Germans. That spirit of fortitude was carried forth into the can design for this Oktoberfest-style Märzen lager. The spray paint effect overlaying the illustrated “devil dog” feels elusive, underground, a force not to meddle with. The primary blue ties into the Bavarian flag pattern crowning the can, honoring the Oktoberfest offering.

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The market response has been beyond expectations and we feel like we have found a great design partner to be by our side as we continue to grow and creatively develop new beer styles.

Meredith Sutton, Creative Marketing Director, Service Brewing Company
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