Our Work

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The Challenge

A beer brand famous for strict adherence to German lagers branches out into restaurants, then the restaurants are brought under the umbrella of Craftworks Restaurants & Breweries. We needed to position GB in a way that spoke with a unique and relevant voice without creating friction with the rest of the Craftworks brands.

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Our Approach

We wanted to bring the spirit of perfection that comes from decades of brewing meticulous German lagers to an entire dining experience, without being stuffy or arrogant. We settled on a downtown metro feel that gave the brand a chance to move upmarket.


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Brand Refresh Concept

Even though a full brand overhaul wasn't part of our contract, we were asked to chart a new future idea for the Gordon Biersch restaurant brand, something that would inform the more incremental changes we'd make to the brand immediately. We dug into the history of fine dining and cultivated parallels between the discipline of German brewing culture and great craftsmanship in other areas. We sourced great photography featuring the often unseen moments that lead to the presentation of a great meal. Finally, we put all of this amazing quality at the leisure of the customer, promising an experience that was worth the most valuable resource of all: time.


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Brand Identity

With the restaurant’s identity tied historically (and legally) to the separate bottle beer business, we had to work within an existing visual grammar. We chose a modern, simplified variant of the barley+initials medallion logo and prioritized the “GB” acronym over the more patronymic longform “Gordon Biersch” in order to provide a just a touch of differentiation between the restaurant brand identity and the beverage brand identity.

 

 

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Video

GB worked in partnership with several movie theater chains to co-develop real estate at malls and shopping centers. We created these cool, upbeat, metro-themed videos to play as pre-roll advertising before screenings of movies. Videos were edited to spec for the media distribution company that placed the spots, and each spot was tagged with location info for each of the 30+ restaurants participating in the campaign nationwide.


 

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Website

The Gordon Biersch restaurant website shares its powerful architecture with Rock Bottom and Old Chicago, organizing content for maximum SEO and a seamless user experience. But there was a particular wrinkle to this implementation: the gordonbiersch.com domain was owned by the bottle beer business. We worked with engineers at Craftworks to create a landing page that let Gordon Biersch fans choose between the bottle beer site or the restaurant site.


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Results

Spurred by the new brand direction, GB executed a menu overhaul and shed the lowmarket ‘pub grub’ stigma that was undercutting the reputation of its superior German lagers. Response from the theatre pre-roll campaign was overwhelmingly positive; video assets created in 2012 still play nationwide in 2015. In 2013, GB opened its fourth restaurant in the craft beer mecca of metro Washington, DC.


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