Inside the Copywriting of Balter (Or, Opening a Can Of Words).
Balter Brewery is known for winning multiple awards for its beers and packaging designs. Everything they do, from product planning to marketing execution, is well thought out, and delivered in a way that feels natural. That kind of combination takes a lot of skill and a bloody lot of hard work. The mastermind behind much of this is Balter's creative director Stirling Howland (although he'd be the first to say it's really the team that makes it happen).
I was fortunate to work with Stirling way back when we were both cutting our teeth at surf brand Billabong. When Balter very first started, he reached out to see if I'd like to have a hand in helping with their copywriting and creating their brand 'voice'. I jumped at the chance. Stirling's aim was to try to bring across the multitude of interesting personalities that made up Balter in a cohesive way. So, together we decided the tone should sound like that friend you have who is super passionate and knowledgeable about what they do, yet still loves to have a laugh and doesn't take themselves too seriously. For me, that concept is best articulated in their beer descriptions.
Here's an example from their IPA.
Drinking this IPA is like frolicking naked through a spring forest, then dive bombing off a mandarin-scented waterfall. We’re not even kidding. Its clean hoppy base offers a relentless, yet refined bitterness complemented by pine and citrus aromatics. Here’s cheers to a big refresher after a hard-won day.
The breakdown of how these descriptors are written comes in three parts:
1. An intro that grabs the attention and is a bit of fun.
Drinking this IPA is like frolicking naked through a spring forest, then dive bombing off a mandarin-scented waterfall. We’re not even kidding.
2. Some tasting notes in beer geek language (I always get these from their Head Brewer, Scott, and then tinker with them a bit to make it all fit in).
Its clean hoppy base offers a relentless, yet refined bitterness complemented by pine and citrus aromatics.
3. A call to action that doesn't really sound like a call to action.
Here’s cheers to a big refresher after a hard-won day.
That combo allows some personality that hopefully makes people want to share what they've just read. Yet, it still shows that Balter knows beer, without coming across as a dickish expert.
Here is my favourite beer descriptor that I've done for them. See if you can tease out how that same format applies to this one:
Black Metal Disco
Like thrash being played on the jazz flute, this stout may seem vicious, but its sweet notes make light in the dark of night. The roasted barley and subtle hops mix deliver espresso, chocolate, and vanilla aromas, all wrapped in a creamy mouthfeel and satisfyingly dry finish. Throw out your preconceived notions of what’s possible, strap on your mirror ball helmet and dive into club sweet stout. This is Black Metal Disco.
I'm lucky enough to continually be involved with most of Balter's copy, although their social media genius is all in-house. To check out more on Balter, and read other samples of their copywriting, head to their website here.