Pyramid's New Branding & Upcoming Beer Releases

In July, I wrote about Pyramid’s plans to revamp their branding. They recently finalized the new look for their packaging—and here it is.

The new designs are now rolling onto grocery stores shelves. Personally, I like this much better than the old “sports drink” or “lifestyle” look. For an in-depth history of Pyramid’s branding going back to the 80’s, check out Jeff Alworth’s recent post.

Ryan Daley, Pyramid Brand Manager, gave me the reasoning behind the change and provided a preview of upcoming beer releases.

Why did you originally adopt the recently ousted "lifestyle" look and what prompted to go back to the "heritage" look?

Ryan Daley: It’s tough to say with complete certainty why the “lifestyle” look was introduced a few years ago, but from what we’ve gathered in the last year of working on Pyramid, it was an attempt to connect with consumers in the Pacific Northwest and their love for the more adventurous side that the geography offers.

The other addition to the “lifestyle” look was the names that were introduced. Specifically, Pyramid Hefe became Haywire. This was an attempt to start to establish a better bar call name for the beer as well as differentiate it from other Hefeweizens in the market.

Needless to say, neither were good choices. Going back to the “heritage” look is really about being true to what the Pyramid brand is and stands for.  Pyramid has built a strong heritage of brewing great beers in the Pacific Northwest dating all the way back to 1984 in Kalama, WA, and consumers have come to recognize over the years the consistency of the brews being sent to the market.  The new look is really designed to reinforce all of the elements that help communicate this strong heritage to the craft beer community.

There's a perception in the craft beer community that Pyramid has an identity crisis.  What are you doing, in addition to the branding changes, to set Pyramid apart?

RD:  With such drastic changes implemented over the last few years on the brand, there was definitely a significant effect on how Pyramid was being perceived by the craft beer community.  For us, we feel comfortable that the place we're taking Pyramid back to is a sincere and authentic place and is a true reflection of Pyramid’s identity.  In terms of setting Pyramid apart from other craft brewers, our focus isn’t really to separate ourselves from the others as much as it is focusing on who we are and how we can bring that to life in an exciting way.  From a brewing perspective, that means getting back to a more pioneering spirit of delivering new and exciting brews to the craft beer community on a regular basis.  In 2012, we are introducing eleven new beers and bringing two well received brews into more significant roles.   

In July, you told us to expect changes to your seasonal beer lineup and some experimentation. Can you elaborate?

RD:  For 2012, eleven new beers will be released and two prior releases will be “promoted” into bigger roles. Without giving too much of the year away, let’s just take a look at our next round of beers scheduled to hit the market February 1st.

Outburst Imperial IPA is going to be launched as a new year-round beer. Discord Dark IPA (part of our 2011 Ignition Series) will be introduced as the new spring seasonal. Our variety pack will include a Maibock (only available in this program) along with Hefeweizen, Outburst, and Discord. In our small batch draft Ignition Series, we are introducing a Smoked Lager. That’s just the first season of the year. Three more to go.

Any other info you'd like to share?

RD:  Just that we are really excited with where we are heading, both from a brand and a brewing perspective, and that we will continue to work hard to deliver excitement to the craft beer community.

Thanks to Ryan for his insights!  I profiled Outburst and Apricot last year and was impressed by both.  According to Pyramid’s website, they will also release a Red Wheat with Fig later this year as part of their Ignition Series as well as an Oktoberfest as their fall seasonal. I like where Pyramid is going…


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