In 2020, Nifty was approached by former military personnel to help build a new beer brand focused on producing high-quality brews for current and former service people: DropZone Brewery.
At the time, there was no name, no branding, no beer. We were asked to find a brewery who could whitelabel their products and build a brand.
The founders decided on the name DropZone Brewery and from there we set about finding the right products and building an online presence. We found a brewery based in Ripon, where the founders had met while serving at the army camp, and set about finding the right beers.
The main task was building a brand, and so it was DropZone was born. By focusing on the brotherhood aspect of serving in the armed forces, we approached the project with a tribal perspective – something that suited us well with our sports background and experience.
Fast forward four months and the website was launched, with a compelling brand message, the beer was ready and we’d already built audiences ready and waiting to taste it. We have since helped DropZone launch a cider and an IPA.
Design gurus will have noticed we pushed the boundaries with the brand, and even broke the cardinal rule of colour vibration in our designs.
The reason for this was simple. As Josef Albers, one of the most respected colour theorists there is, said about colour vibration, ‘This effect feels aggressive and often even uncomfortable to our eyes. As a result it is unpleasant, disliked, and avoided.’
This may not sound like a good fit for a brand but we weren’t dealing with an ordinary audience. This brand was aimed at those who were from the Airborne regiments of the British Armed Forces.
To do that, we had to imagine the position these men were in as they awaited the call ‘Red On’ (the name of the first beer) – which means it’s time to get ready to jump from a plane into a warzone.
These people have been sat in darkness for hours on a plane, with only the hum of the engines for noise. They are nervous and all their senses are heightened, with a scent of sweat and vomit in the air, waiting for one sign – Red On. When that sign comes, they need to step up, find comfort in the uncomfortable and move forward into the unknown, with only their training to fall back on.
This is not a brand for the everyday man, this is a brand for vets. The client loved the idea of breaking the mould, moving away from the norms and creating an unpleasant and dislikable feel to the label. This product is not aimed at Josef Albers or any of his disciples, it’s aimed at those who will instantly recognise the unpleasant discomfort of those words… Red On.
Since the launch of DropZone Brewery, the brand reached more than one million people across social media in the first three months, without any spends. We have generated coverage across military, hospitality and national press and generated a number of positive reviews. The brand is still young but the branding has already been shortlisted for awards for breaking the mould and looking to instil discomfort at those who see it, in a nod to the discomfort these individuals once felt while waiting to jump from a plane.