Beer Branding CASE STUDY | Yucatan Brewing Co.

craft brewing company startup

Yucatan Brewing Co. is a startup brewery with taste room, opening this year in Phoenix, Arizona. It provides much more than just a great beer.  You can find here something that couldn’t be found in other this type of places – fascinating experience. This beer branding case study explains what have we done to help them launching their brand.


The Mission

This is a fully self-initiated project created to present possible solutions Brandman Design develops to help breweries stand out from the competition and reach great results.

Our goal in this assignment is to create an identity for a startup brewing company run by two friends. A fresh, iconic brand look will build awareness and raise curiosity around a new local brewery located in Phoenix, Arizona.

Samuel and  Nick are beer enthusiasts. Bored by the regular retail beer offer, decided to open their own beer business. With the help of Sam’s uncle (who previously brewed a beer in his garage), they’ve learned a craft and started with their beer brand.

The brewery’s success will come from creating a modern, iconic identity that will represent the brand, crafting an unforgettable experience for those who visit the physical location and spreading the brand story through retail beer packaging. By positioning the brand as unconventional relaxing spot and arousing the curiosity within the community we will separate it from other common breweries. 

The output

Brandman Design went on to develop a catchy brand name, design logo mark and lockups, create a set of packaging designs, a collection of merchandise, and print collateral to promote the new Brand. There has been also a full marketing strategy prepared to help Yucatan with the proper launch.

The impact

It is hard to measure the impact matrix as the project doesn’t have a real business behind.

What could be described, is the position which the brand set in the industry. As most of the breweries focus on delivering just a taste experience, Yucatan merged both product and culture teaching aspects. By implementing an unexpected connection between beer and ancient Mayan culture it becomes the most interesting taste room in the area. 


  • Yucatan Brewing Co.


  • Brewery Branding


  • Naming
  • Brand Research & Strategy
  • Brand Identity System
  • Packaging Design
  • Promotion / Launch
Yucatan Main Logo Lockup
Yucatan Logo Lockups

exotic ancient accent in modern brewery

Many different directions have been explored to develop an authentic name for the brand. In one of the conversations with the founders, we have realized that both of them wanted do become archaeologists when they were kids and both are passionate with ancient Mayan culture. We’ve decided to follow this path and look for some ancient elements that might be incorporated into the brand.

Hereby some name examples we have considered:

1. yucatan brewing co.

A very important region for the Mayan civilisation, which reached the peak of its development here. Located NE part of Mexico.


Yucatan name developing images
Yucatan Stamp lockup

2. bacab brewing

The old god of the interior of the earth and of thunder. The sky-carrier, fourfold.



3. nakum brewery

Mesoamerican archaeological site, and a former ceremonial center and city of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization.



4. the bahlam brewing co.

Jaguar – in Mayan. The symbol of ferocity, strength and valor. 



brand definition


  • exotic
  • welcoming
  • original


  • beer enthusiast
  • adventurous
  • curious


  • iconic
  • cultured
  • modern


  • relaxed
  • fulfilled
  • eager

brand attributes

Yucatan brand attributes
Yucatan work - Illustrator
Yucatan project in action

target audience

beer for people.

people for beer.

The main target audience of the brand is local male in age 23 – 35. Even though, during one of the exercises from strategy session we have found out that Sam and Nick talk about two typical clients they try to attract: local beer enthusiast and student willing to expand their cultural knowledge in a relaxing environment.

To extend the reach for both genders there has been 2 customer profiles developed during this exercise: Bryan Hopgeek and Claire Brown.  

customer profiles

bryan hopgeek

30 years old   |   IT specialist

Bryan is the beer enthusiast. He knows a lot about how the beer is made and likes to experiment with different flavors. Beer is his main beverage, no matter on a party, watching movies home or after work. He likes to meet with his friends at a local bar (both from neighborhood and football team he’s a member) and chat about what’s actual.

William customer persona

claire brown

23 years old   |   student

Claire studies at local University. Even while the beer is not her favorite drink she likes to try new things, especially when she might learn something new. She makes grocery at the local market and knows what is going on locally. She’s curious and loves to learn about different cultures. She’s not afraid of showing her opinion and sharing the experiences with friends and family.

Claire customer persona


iconic connection between past and present.

The Logo symbol has its base in the iconic shape of the hop (one of the beer ingredients) merged with the plum (the ritual Mayan hair wear made of birds feathers). The hop has been flipped upside down to form a crown/plum shape. Middle plum feather has an eye in the middle. It reminds a peacock feather – the symbol of pride. 

Why those specific elements? There has been a lot of elements on the table during the discovery session. There are many sources where you can read about Mayan culture. All of those confirm together with Mayan statues that the plum was a symbol of their position in the community and kind of connection with their gods. As this element resembles hops in its shape, we have decided to explore this way. Adding such a small detail as an eye in the center of the symbol (on one of the feathers) refers to the peacock – seen by Mayans as the king of birds.

Logo reference images
Logo reference images
Yucatan logo symbol development process
Final Mark Development
Yucatan mark exploration
Other symbol explorations

” When people use your brand name as a verb, that is remarkable!”

– meg whitman


message has to sound good but also look good.

Choosing the correct typefaces for each brand is a tough job. To sustain the brand voice, there is a need to follow previously set guidance. But when your logo includes both mark (symbol) and wordmark there is no space for beeing to fancy. To keep legibility in all sizes, Brandman Design picked simple and clean typeface as primary. Because most of the written words will appear on small spaces like can packaging, the choice fell on sans serif font called “Prometo”.

This classic, bold type will be used to present the company name, slogan, and main brand messages. It is also the first choice for all data presented in a variety of media, from print to web purposes. Prometo exists in 14 different weights (including italic for each weight). For spheres where it might be difficult to upload Prometo, the brand will use another typeface – PT Sans (as support).

Yucatan typefaces
Typefaces choice

As the primary typeface has been crafted in different weights there was no need to combine it with a secondary font. Although to highlight the craftsmanship of the brand and their focus on selling the self-made product – craft beer, the idea of adding another type for accents, such as beer type (on the packaging) or important sentence parts, pops up almost automatically. The handwritten font called “Chameleon” became a great option because while it looks like hand-written, it might appear as kind of signature. 

Yucatan wordmark exploration
Logo wordmark exploration
Yucatan logo lockups
Yucatan Logo Lockups

colour palette

the world isn’t just black & white.

We all know that each beer appears in a different color – depending on the ingredients and beer type. Yucatan couldn’t use the too wide color palette to represent their brand, it had bo be narrowed down. To highlight exotic association and still keep the beer oriented flow, we have chosen below colors. The most focus came up to the green shades, well balanced with very dark blue and lime on the other side of the spectrum. Those colors are associated both with hops and Yucatan location environment.

yucatan colour palette
Primary colour palette


4 beers. 4 heroes.

Yucatan specializes in beer production, they also have a place where you can sit and sip this great beverage. But that’s not it. They’re starting from a higher bar by distributing their 4 beer types to local stores. To prepare the brand for this part of professional activity there has been prepared 4 can packaging designs. It’s nothing special to land your product on the shelves. What is important, to expect good sales results the product needs to stand out. 

The idea of naming the beer after local Yucatan animals seems to be a smart move. The first product which will be showed to the public in local stores will be Mighty Hawk. This Amber Ale is signed with an original brand color palette and pattern created especially to tell the “Mayan” story.

Proud Iguana Yucatan beer packaging

The whole can design has been crafted with attention to each detail. It includes the main Yucatan Brewing Co. Logo lockup and the beer name in the front. Sides of the can has been embellished with horizontal logo lockups. Rest of important details about beverage (such as taste and voltage), together with a short story and other alcohol label requirements landed at the back of the packaging. On the left side, you might see one of the designs.

To differentiate each of the Yucatan beers we have chosen to pick different colors while using the same design layout. Each can though has its personality, starting from the original name, through strategic colors and finishing at the interesting story written on the “backside”. 

This way Yucatan can sustain consistence and be ready to add new products at any time.


silent ambassadors of the brand.

It all comes to the launch process. There was no need to create typical business stationery as most of the business activity will focus on direct product sales. While looking for a good solution for proper brand launch Brandman Vision suggested “using” customers as silent ambassadors as a channel to promote Yucatan.

What does it mean?
In place of creating standard business cards, we have created the cards that will be given to each customer at the opening party (and use it maybe in the first few months of Yucatan activity). Everyone who attends and tries what Yucatan has to offer will get one to fill in their name and favorite Yucatan beer so they can share it later on with their friends. 

Why do we know it will work?
By giving the card to a friend we leave them with our recommendation and provide them with a free beverage at the same time.

Everyone who gives the Ambassador’s card at the bar and tries the recommended beer will get the second one of their choice for free.
This easy promotion will encourage customers to try other flavors and let Yucatan track the trends and build awareness at the same time.
Collecting the recommendations will work as free market research to track which flavors are the most demanded and help with finding an idea for future beer flavors.

Yucatan Silent Ambassador card
Silent Ambassador Card

brand environment

what you feel, smell & hear really matters

Those customers who buy one of Yucatan beers from the store, may experience the tropical flavors and see the brand accents on the packaging, and that’s how they will associate the brand with Mayan culture. Yucatan cares also for those who take the time to visit their physical location.

The small storage which has been transformed into a brewery has a separate tasting room with a bar, chairs, and tables. It couldn’t be just a regular place to drink a beer. The customers may expect much more over there. We have chosen specific elements to let the customers feel and be a part of Mayan culture. To learn about it in a relaxing way – while drinking their favorite beverage – beer.

Yucatan has transformed its taste room to be something special.
They indeed wish their customer to focus on the product itself, but by providing an extraordinary experience they can be sure that there won’t be other places like this in the neighborhood. That’s what makes the brand stand out.

None of the elements building the atmosphere were a huge financial investment. It took some time to find and collect the items, but the effort pays back.

Yucatan location
Yucatan Location
yucatan brand environment elements
Decoration elements


Plants  |  Flowers  |  Fruits

The space has been filled with exotic trees and flowers like:
Plumeria Trees, Kapok’s (Mayan sacred trees), Passion Fruits and Pitaya (known as DragonFruit)


Posters  |  Masks

There are some Mayan related posters on the walls (Yucatan area pictures – Mayan pyramid temples and animals like pumas, macaw parrots, reptiles – iguanas and snakes), as well as Mayan ancient masks replicas.


Music  |  Sounds

To bring some more vibes to the place Yucatan Brewery plays a piece of exotic Mayan music in the background and fills the room with some animal sounds. Just to let customers feel like they’re far from home on the tropical trip.

more applications

the result

There are a bunch of other breweries in Phoenix. Yucatan branding helps the venture stand out and drive the sales as it becomes the only place where right next to the quality beer you can also find a very interesting story and feel the extraordinary experience. This is a fully self-initiated project, so there is no possibility to track any success matrix. Although as you can evaluate there is no other brewery with a similar background, with a similar approach, focusing so much not only on delivering the best beer but also taking care of the time their customers spend either in the location like also drinking Mighty Hawk or any other beverage, signed by Yucatan, home.

Yucatan beer barrels
Yucatan Brewing Co. beer barrels
Yucatan silent ambassador cards
Yucatan "Silent ambassador" cards