Brian Koch is the owner of North Portland’s Lombard House pub, and like many others he is grappling with a pandemic, a pivot to delivery, and worldwide protests of an unjust system that have implications far more important than beer and bars.
Washougal, Washington’s 54-40 Brewing has undergone a brand refresh for a fresh new-but-vintage, look. 2020 looks to be a big year for 54-40, they are also adding distribution to the Bellingham, Washington-area and a new professional brewer to their ranks.
“After four years of growth making easy drinking beers, we’re extremely excited to marry those beers up with branding that fits our philosophy,” says Bolt Minister, Founder and Head Brewer, 54-40 Brewing. “It’s refreshing to finally see cans and a website that reflect the comfort that folks find in drinking our beers with family and friends.”
The fresh look for 54-40 has developed from a great friendship that Bolt Minister started with freelance creative, Jordan Wilson Designs. Wilson and Minister worked together at Old Town Brewing in Portland, where Wilson designed materials for Minister’s tribute beer festival to George Jones.
“Jordan has always understood the aesthetic of the beers I make, and his insight has been huge in realizing the vision for the brand,” Minister says.
“There’s a lot to consider when tackling a large-scale rebrand. For us, it was important to take a step back and try to see the bigger picture.” says Jordan Wilson. “Bolt and his team at 54-40 were already operating under a culture of values and ideals – my part was to help translate these pillars into a visual language.” Speaking to the overall system, Wilson shares that the 54-40 brand is structured by one simple idea. “Putting the ‘Easy’ back in ‘Easy-Drinking’ was our call to action,” he says. “It’s not about a light lager, but a mindset; a place of comfort that is accessible low pressure, and fun. The use of nostalgia helps visualize that feeling. We looked through a vintage lens to help develop color palettes, type specimens, and flavors throughout every touchpoint of the brand.”
The updated look of the cans brings continuity to the packaged offerings for 54-40, so loyal fans of the beer will be able to easily spot styles offered from the brewery.
The new packaging of the year-round beers can be found around the Northwest now, and include 12oz six packs of:
Kascadia, a German-style Kölsch; 2018 Silver Medal GABF
Half Cocked IPA, a West Coast-style IPA
Red Zeppelin, a dry hopped American Amber Ale
Upcoming seasonal packaged offerings include:
1862 Mexican-style lager
River Road Pilsner
Crushed Velvet IPA
In addition to the new cans, Wilson has also left his mark on 54-40’s online presence, building a new website from scratch. “The old site was pretty bare bones and didn’t offer much in the way of personality,” mentions Minister. “Jordan’s site has a ton of great information and functionality, but he has also put the personality of the brewery front and center.” Visitors to the newly launched 5440beer.com can explore events at the taproom, reserve dock sales, find distributors for their region, shop merchandise, and more.
“54-40 is busy.” says Wilson. “Whether it’s one of their weekly events, new food items. beer tappings, merchandise drops – there’s a constant state of new things going on. Our main goal was to provide a space for customers to easily engage and connect with the brand and the exciting things that frequent the brewery.”
54-40’s brand growth has also led them to partner with Dickerson Distribution out of Bellingham, Washington. “Having a terrific craft focused partner in Dickerson, allows us to distribute beer the entire I-5 Corridor from Southern Oregon to Northern Washington,” Minister notes. Dickerson joins, Craig Stein Beverage and NW Beverage for the brand’s Washington distribution, while Point Blank, Summit, and Fort George Distribution handle the brand in Oregon.
Lastly but certainly not least, 54-40 Brewing is excited to announce the hire of Seth Swihart as Lead Brewer. Swihart has been working in production breweries for the last decade, including Big Sky in Montana, Portland Brewing, Hair of the Dog, and most recently Ecliptic Brewing. “Seth brings a know-how to the brewery for increased production along with an enthusiastic and creative nature,” Minister said. “We’re excited for this next chapter of growth, and couldn’t be happier making it happen with great people and partners on our team.”
About 54°40’ Brewing 54°40’ Brewing was born from a love of enjoying easy drinking beers with friends and family. This mindful attitude informs everything we do here, from crafting our latest recipe, to having a cozy place to enjoy a pint when you come to the pub. So whether you’re swinging into the taproom, or grabbing a six pack for the weekend, we’d like to say thank you, from our family to yours.
Find 54°40’ beers around the Northwest at local retailers, and visit its Taproom located at 3801 S Truman St in Washougal, Washington – at the gateway to the Columbia River Gorge.
Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding.