Our beer in 2022

Dec 28, 2021
 

In many ways, the past two years has been one of our strongest periods in terms of beer consistency and quality.

Despite all the challenges the wider business has had to face up to, our team has done a fantastic job to ensure our beer didn’t show signs of the stresses and strains we have all felt.

A number of our most well-received beers have been created since the start of 2020, including brands - such as My Continuous Improvement, A Place In Your Heart and our TIPAs - that have grown into ongoing series and now feature heavily in our long-term planning.

The decision to phase out our signature range of always-available beers earlier this year was designed to give us the space to explore how we could evolve our approach to a wide range of styles. We felt those signature beers no longer represented our highest aspirations and that too much of our attention had become focused on the stability and consistency of a narrow range of beers, rather than always striving for the best possible result for drinkers.

By doing this, we definitely feel we have taken some significant steps forward over the past eight months but, on reflection, the balance possibly shifted too far in the opposite direction.

Although demand for one-off beers and special releases remains high, feedback from a number of retailers suggested their customers also crave beers they can come back to time and time again.

So, over the course of several months, we have developed a number of regularly-brewed beers, such as How Wonderful!, Somewhere Within, Clear Break, Volley and Pilsner, in addition to our long-standing Helles. But, in viewing 2022 as a chance for something of a fresh start, we’ve now gone a little further than that.

After listening to feedback from colleagues, trade customers and drinkers, we’ve made a number of changes to our beer strategy, primarily focused on providing clarity and reliability without sacrificing excitement and evolution.

We’ve broken down the changes below so we can give you all a clear idea of what to expect from us next year.


What will we be brewing?

We are aiming to produce seven beers regularly during 2022, covering a range of styles and experiences. Our intention is for these beers to always be in stock and, although we may tweak or add to this line-up over time, we’ll make sure any changes are clearly communicated.

How Wonderful! and Somewhere Within aim to capture our approach to modern hoppy beer at both session and IPA strength, while Clear Break and Volley act as their West Coast-style counterparts. To expand this hop-forward offering further, we’ll have a monthly cask release in the shape of A Place In Your Heart, a 4.4% Pale Ale that will feature a rotating hop combination.

Helles has now been joined by Pilsner in our regular Lager offering, while Light Lager will become seasonal and Hoppy Little Lager put on pause for the foreseeable future.

Finally, we’ll be ensuring Step Up, our easy-drinking Stout created in collaboration with Rock Leopard, remains a regular fixture and we’ll continue to donate 5% of proceeds to charities and causes that help those facing society’s biggest hurdles.

These regularly-brewed beers will be joined by a selection of recurring favourites - beers such as The Interior Life And The External World, I Have Become The Boat and The Light Grey One that have worked their way into the rotation due to popular demand and will be released more than once a year.

We’ll be aiming to release a string of one-off, seasonal classics throughout the year in keg, can and cask that pay respect to tradition and the trailblazers who laid the path we walk today. These are styles we love to drink at specific times of the year and will aim to be faithful representations of beers that have been enjoyed, in some cases, for hundreds of years.

Of course, we’re planning regular releases of our decadent dessert Stouts, My Continuous Improvement and Persistence Is Utile; Bitter Chocolate Edition and we may look to supplement the old favourites with some new additions. In a similar vein, we’ll also bring you a number of annual specials, which are best described as occasion beers that have developed such a strong following it’d be remiss of us not to bring them back.

Finally, we’ll also be working on a number of celebratory beer sets throughout the year that are either linked to special occasions, such as our birthday, events like Oktoberfest or initiatives, including our Together Again series focused on independent pubs, bars and retailers.

Even considering all of this, there will still be plenty of space for one-offs that will allow us ample opportunity to continue evolving our approach through experimentation with new recipes, processes and ingredients.


How will the beer look?

To accompany this shift in approach, we’ve also reviewed our branding and, although you won’t be seeing any drastic changes, we’ve made a few tweaks to improve clarity and accessibility.

For starters, we’re aiming for greater consistency across our range, creating distinct threads that should give you a better understanding of what to expect from each beer but all fit neatly together as part of a consistent whole.

To facilitate this, we’re applying a consistent template across all our labels, with the only exceptions being our charitable or issues-driven collaborations, which will all fall under our Beer With Big Ideas banner, and our celebratory sets of seasonal specials, such as Oktoberfest and our New Zealand hop series.

This allows us to explore various creative directions, whether through photography, commissioned artwork or graphic design, without sacrificing familiarity and recognition.

As part of the changes, we have also specifically addressed feedback regarding readability and clarity of information, which has become more common, especially since we’ve moved to an approach that’s more heavily weighted towards photography.

So we’ve taken steps to address this, first by adding a style strap at the top of the label that clearly communicates what type of beer you’re buying, then by reducing the amount of information on the front in order to emphasise what’s important. The name of the beer will be displayed more prominently and a very brief summary of the beer will appear above the information on ABV and volume. All of the necessary information will be summarised on the back of the label too, alongside more in-depth description copy.

The format for our Barrel Project labels will remain the same, maintaining a focus on clarity of information and brevity, providing the details customers need in the most concise way possible.

We’ve created a visual summary of the rebrand to help you better understand what you’re looking for when you see our beer on the shelves.

Planning for the year ahead

We also realise the communication around our beer can improve too, and we’re keen to provide a longer lead in to beer releases, giving you all a much better idea of what to expect and when to expect it.

Due to the nature of our work and the large number of one-offs we produce, our schedule will inevitably change and situations will emerge that we haven't accounted for. However, we felt it was important to put more of a structure in place for our brewing output, so that our trade customers can plan ahead with more certainty and drinkers can feel a little more connected with what we do.

So, for the first time, we've put together a release schedule for the coming year that plots out some of our key releases and provides insight into what we'll be working on.

This schedule may change but we'll keep it updated throughout the year and add to it as our plans progress and grow.

Hopefully it’s pretty self-explanatory but you’ll see it includes the beers we’ll be making available year-round at the top and then rows for each of the different beer categories we’ll be working on.

Recurring specials are beers you know and love, which haven’t made the jump to being available year-round but will make more than one appearance throughout the year. We’ll also be looking to build on the popularity of some of these beers (I Have Become The Boat, New Normal, The Light Grey One and I’ve Forgot My Name, for example)  in order to give you more of what you want by developing new recipes that draw on the same characteristics that made the originals so popular.

One-offs are new beers that are intended to make a single appearance but may become recurring if popular demand dictates, while seasonal classics are beers with more of a traditional focus, brewed to tie in with specific times of year.

We’ve included a separate row for cask as we’ll be creating a series of beers throughout the year specifically for this dispense method, rather than simply repurposing beers that have been designed for keg or can.

Our celebratory sets mark events and occasions throughout the year, or are brewed for an initative such as Together Again, which celebrates  independent pubs, bars and retailers. Finally, we’ll be bringing our regular charitable beers together under the Beers With Big Ideas banner, brewing one-offs that raise funds and awareness for causes that are dear to us and you.

Check it out and let us know if you think it's missing something we should be turning our attention to. You can come and chat to us at one of our A Beer With Friends events or send us feedback via info@cloudwaterbrew.co

 

DOWNLOAD THE BEER RELEASE CALENDAR IN A BIGGER FILE SIZE

(easier for viewing on mobile devices).

Proper DIPA

Our 8th DIPA in our  Proper DIPA series is out this week, called Proper DIPA NZ edition, a perfect example of the beautiful things that happen when modern meets tradition.We've infused Southern Cross and NZ Cascade to accentuate the JW Lees yeast strain.This DIPA excels in both body and hop intensity, delivering a hearty hop medley characterised by quintessential NZ hop aromas of white grape, all culminating in an exceptionally dank finish.Enjoyed in the video by JW Lees brewer Matthew and available in our webshop now. 

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