Theatrical isn’t a word you’d normally use to describe a beer. It is, however, a word that Duncan Barton relates strongly to. A former actor who left entertainment to brew his own beer, Barton approached the team at the London agency Carter Wong Design looking to somehow convey his past as an actor in his craft beer’s branding.
"This is where the inspiration for the ticket concept originated," says Phil Carter, Carter Wong’s creative cirector. "He was also very keen to find a name that was equally memorable, had a link to theater (with the ticket concept), and was fun and not too serious (very much like himself!)."
And so the name TicketyBrew was chosen. A play off the phrase ticketyboo—which means everything is hunky-dory, to swap one idiom for another—the brand uses a ticket motif for both its beer labels (there are two: TicketyBrew Pale and TicketyBrew Dubbel) and business cards.
With the ticket motif as a guiding principle, the primary challenge lay in the most effective way to take advantage of it. After researching tickets of various shapes and sizes, the team thought that it would be better for the beer’s labeling to be presented as a run of tickets as opposed to a single one.
"We also saw this as an opportunity to think outside the conventional," Carter says. "Plus, we liked the idea of the run of tickets working and wrapping themselves around the physical shape of the bottle, encouraging the consumer to read all the information contained within them."
An unconventional label also led to unconventional problems. With TicketyBrew using a run of tickets in lieu of a traditional label, the design team had to go through several iterations in order to get the first and fourth tickets—which contained the branding and brew, the most important information—facing the front. Once that problem was solved, the only remaining hurdle was a logistical one: Being a startup brewery, all of the TicketyBrew labels had to be applied by hand. Given TicketyBrew’s unique label design, this proved to be a bit tricky, but Carter and the team soon devised a little rig for easy application.
However, the world’s pubs suffer no shortage of craft beer, and Carter Wong is cognizant of how challenging gaining a foothold in a crowded market can be. "Brand building in our experience comes with time and a relentless pursuit to make sure every brand touchpoint gives off all the right messages and says all the right things consistently, and not just from the packaging and branding," Carter says. "To us, Duncan is key to this, as he is ultimately not only the owner of the business but the brand’s spokesman, and being the enthusiastic, exuberant person he is (he was an actor!), we’re convinced the beer will sell well."
Time and an audience will tell if TicketyBrew ends up being a limited engagement or a seasonal favorite. But if Duncan and Carter are right, perhaps a touch of the theatrical is all TicketyBrew needs.