The Boston Beer Company helped to launch the craft beer category in 1985 with the introduction of Sam Adams Boston Lager. Today, they are the 2nd largest craft brewer in the United States with more than 60 styles of Sam Adams beer and a brand portfolio that includes category leaders like Angry Orchard Hard Cider, Truly Hard Seltzer, Twisted Tea Hard Iced Tea, and more.
The Challenge: Put Sam Adams on the Hazy map.
Sam Adams Wicked offers a bold, Bostonian take on the hazy IPA craze. There was just one problem: the Sam Adams identity needed a hot new look to fit in with the hot new trend. The Boston Beer Company approached us with a simple request: give the Sam Adams Wicked line the personality it deserves—one reflective of the “wicked” nature of the liquid inside.
The wordmark needed to stand out, while the typeface remained legible within the wedge-shaped section on the front. Moxie Sozo was also looking to the future—how would this design suit other products in this line? On top of that, the team needed to include key Samuel Adams elements.
The new Sam Adams Wicked stays true to the Sam Adams brand while bringing fresh personality to the category. The packaging introduces a broader, more playful color palette reflective of the craft IPA shelves on which it competes, and the typography lends an “unapologetically Boston” cheekiness to balance the legacy of the brand. Perhaps most importantly, the design system lays the foundation for further Wicked brand extensions.
The result? According to Gregory Pizzi, creative director for The Boston Beer Company (makers of Sam Adams, Dogfish Head, Truly, Angry Orchard, and Twisted Tea), a piece of packaging design that features the most prominent images of Sam “the man” than on any other of its offerings. Wicked beers don’t appear like they’re part of an equation of brand design; instead, custom typography and asymmetrical layout immediately tell drinkers that this is beyond the status quo.
When asked what, exactly, has made the Wicked design so successful, Gregory stated, “The unique, organic, and flowing illustrative art forms encapsulate each beer’s flavor while retaining the brand equities of Sam Adams. An essential aspect of developing creative for the Wicked line was to ensure we'd be distinctive in an unexpected yet fun way while being recognizable to drinkers.”