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Behind the Scenes: BREWSKI Rebrand

​​Creating BREWSKI has been a labor of love, from recipe development to canning. Today, Brianna Litchfield, graphic designer with the BREWSKI team is walking us through the design process, which got its start with the first SKI soda can design in the 1970s.

My first look at the original BREWSKI can design was overall a favorable one. I loved the retro, 70s mood and the subtle throwbacks to the early days of the soda it was named for, SKI. So when I was tasked with creating a can design for a limited time flavor, a summertime shandy, I was thrilled. A couple rough concepts had already been created, but there were still many design decisions to be made.

The summertime shandy was to be the fourth addition to the BREWSKI line.

A few weeks into the process, we decided this was not a direction we wanted to continue pursuing. While BREWSKI had done well in markets that were unfamiliar with the soft drink SKI, the communities rich with die-hard SKI fans were not impressed. Their issue? BREWSKI didn’t taste like SKI.

Image of facebook comment stating, "I'd rather drink flint Michigan water."
Some SKI fans took this discrepancy as a personal insult and weren't afraid to show it.

Armed with this information, we decided to dive head-first into the shandy business and give the consumer what they really wanted: SKI, but make it alcoholic. This change of direction also meant that BREWSKI needed a new look. We had to show the fans that we had changed. We listened to the feedback and were ready to give them the beverage they deserved — and that included a brand revamp.We didn’t want to fully rebrand; after all, BREWSKI was a perfect name, and those lines borrowed from 70s SKI had to stay. BREWSKI just had to reflect its new, energetic flavor.

Image of logo process for BREWSKI
The process isn't always as straightforward as it seems.

First to be reworked was the logo. We wanted to more clearly showcase that BREWSKI was beer plus SKI citrus soda. The answer was as simple as the addition of a “+” sign, and I felt it fitting to use the current SKI logo script. “Brew” was a different matter, though. We wanted a retro look and Cooper Back was a great starting point, but we altered the letterforms to reflect the brand’s relationship with the water by adding subtle waves and other flourishes.

Original SKI advertisement from the 60s

Now, for a while, I had been wanting to reimagine and modernize SKI’s mascot, the skiing lady, to bring her back and celebrate SKI’s history. I hadn’t found the right application for it until it came to recreating BREWSKI, and I decided it was time to introduce the idea. I took to viewing retro shots of synchronized skiers and model shots for boat advertisements, taking ideas and elements from each to create a new skier. The wasp-like waist became a more natural female figure, the white bob turned into a windswept set of locks, and a modest one-piece was traded in for a sporty bikini. The result is a refreshing take on a classic, a versatile mascot for a tasty alcoholic treat.

Some label concepts that didn't make it to the next stage

After reconstructing the logo and mascot, we built the rest of the brand in the context of the can label, which would lay the foundation for the rest of BREWSKI’s identity. The most important thing was to get BREWSKI into the hands of our fans.

After we had a new mascot, final touches came in. Inspiration also came from the beloved soft drink when it came to choosing a color palette. Electric yellow became a warmer, more approachable hue, orange had a bit of pink mixed in, and the deep forest green made a turn for a lighter, blueish tint. A friendly yet slightly quirky and irreverent language was adopted to complement the passion behind BREWSKI. Old tag-lines such as “Brewed from the water” were brought back and new ones such as “A match made in the kettle” were added to round out the brand’s voice and purpose. Complementary illustrations and a smart-but-playful type pairing also came in to tie it all together.

Before long, flavor profiles were set and the recipe finalized. The brewing process began and labels were printed and shrunk onto cans. The result is a charming front that stands out on the shelf and urges shoppers to try the new and improved BREWSKI for themselves. We’re not calling it done yet, though — keep your eyes peeled for new, exciting flavors coming soon!

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