Off Color Improves Experience Through Packaging Innovations

Posted March 5, 2019 by Keith Seiz

There are two types of packaging innovations. The first: gimmicks designed to increase product sales. Think Coca-Cola putting people’s names on cans. Super cheesy, but also super effective. The second: structural or graphical enhancements designed to improve the flavor, freshness or experience of a product. Think tuna being sold in pouches, because honestly, who has a can opener in their office?

In the beer category, packaging has evolved quite a bit in the last five years. Branding has become as important as what’s in the can, large-format bottles stopped selling, variety-packs started selling and everyone in the industry (consumers and brewers) decided that cans were the ideal vessel for packaged beer.

Well, almost everyone. Off Color Brewing in Chicago, a brewery known for blazing its own path, has quietly introduced two new packaging innovations designed to improve the drinking experience and education.

Now, first a disclaimer. Off Color is easily one of my top five breweries. Their Apex Predator is my go-to beer, and with Eille and Scurry, they make some of the best honey beers on the market, which is pretty important to me and my clients.

Ok, back to packaging innovations and two things that Off Color has done as a response to growing population of craft beer drinkers.

Small format bottles

Ever hear a song that you were convinced was written for you? Well, I feel the same way about Off Color’s launch of small format bottles. I love beer, but I’m not a consumer of mass quantities of beer. So when Off Color downsized it’s high ABV beers to 250 milliliters I was thrilled. No more opening bombers and only getting half-way through before I’ve had enough. It’s the perfect size for high ABV beers or funky explorations when 8-ounces is the perfect amount.  

Educational badges

Beer has changed so quickly it’s hard to keep up. What’s the difference between a wild fermentation and sour beer? Is there a difference between foedre- and barrel-aged? These may seem like beer-nerd-specific questions, but they’re extremely useful to the traditional consumer interested in learning a bit more about the product they’re drinking. Off Color is taking a leading role in educating consumers by developing “badges” to go on its product packaging that detail the type of beer you’re purchasing. The badges span from “funky” and “mixed fermentation” to “blended” and “high gravity.” It’s yet another example of Off Color improving the drinking experience for all consumers.


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