The Problem
Given expanding production, how can Fort Point label its kegs in an efficient and on-brand way?

Old laminated paper tags

Inefficient Keg Tags
Previously, Fort Point kegs were tagged using laminated paper tags.
These tags posed a host of logistical problems:
1. The tags were printed in black and white which involved reading each label to identify a keg, which was inefficient given the small size.
2. The tags would tear off if the kegs were mishandled. Which meant there was no way of identifying the keg.
3. The tags were attached with zip ties which took time to tie and cut.
4. Different employees would markup the tags in different ways leading to confusion about key information about the keg.
All these issues led to more than necessary man-hours spent labeling and tagging kegs.
The Fort Point visual brand is one of the strongest and most recognizable in the craft beer industry. It's what draws consumers to the beer even before they've taken a sip. So it was incredibly important to extend the brand design into this application.
What solutions exist?
Keg collars are fairly standard across the beer industry with many vendors providing standard sizes and templates. However, Fort Point prides itself on finding ways to stand out from the crowd. As a result we needed to balance several competing needs:
1. The need to have well designed and on-brand labeling
2. The need for a cost-efficient solution given the 10+ brands that would need unique keg collars
3. The need for a compliant and labor efficient solution for clear labeling
A Well-Defined Problem
To help define the constraint for the problem, I interviewed Production Managers about where exactly the pain points were in the process.
How do the tags slow down production?
Where in the process were things going wrong?
How could we eliminate unnecessary steps and human error?

Industry standard keg collars

After compiling the information and choosing a vendor, I came up with this list of criteria to guide the design
Shape - Use a custom shape but stay within standard sizes and margins
Color & Illustration - Take advantage of existing brand illustrations and color in order to quickly differentiate kegs. We also decided to use CMYK rather than Pantone colors in order to reduce costs.
Eliminate handwriting - Federal regulations require that kegs be listed with information like beer style, ABV, keg date and keg volume. Static information could just be printed on the collar, but for the variable information we needed way to markup the collars. We decided to implement sticker guns. With this tool Brewery Technicians could label dozens of collars quickly and the date and keg size would be easy to read.
For the shape, I extracted the arch shape from the logo as a starting point. It's a simple shape that is unique in the world of keg collars and easy for our vendor to create.
We went through several iterations playing with the placement of illustration and text to how we would markup the variable information on the label.

Design iterations

After settling on a layout and marking system I set about testing the size and fit making sure that the keg collar would be easy to apply.

Cutting out a physical prototype

Test fitting. This was too big

Final Design
Once we finally nailed down the size, I applied the colors and illustrations from each unique brand into our new keg collar template.
Our Production staff were elated when we rolled out the new system. No more fumbling around with small tags, manually laminating in the office, no more zip-ties or mis-labeled kegs. This solution ultimately saved Fort Point thousands of dollars by reducing inefficiencies.
We also extended our well-known design system into another form of packaging so that our cans, six-packs and kegs all feel like part of the same family.
And lastly, our customers also benefited. Now bartenders and servers could rely on a custom shape and our brand colors and illustrations to quickly and easily get to the keg they need.
A win-win all around.
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