Sid's Cider / identity

Sid's Cider / identity

Great product. Not great name. In the competitive market of alcoholic beverages, name recognition is half the battle. How do you design a new line of beverages and NOT focus on the name? Let your customers see themselves in your brand.


Sid’s Cider is a new product-line in the Shipbuilder’s Cider family. It has a style that offers a smooth mouth filling texture, lots of juicy fruit flavour and no additives.


Create a compelling story and unique packaging experience in a crowded market place.


To understand what we were up against I conducted a competitive analysis. I looked for design trends, language, story elements and quality claims on the packaging and social media presence. Analysis revealed that most cider brands skewed male, no brand talked about an origin story, and the majority of cider labels were modestly designed (there were no risk takers). Additionally, no brand put an emphasis on quality or craftsmanship—This is important because analysis of NSLC sales showed “crafted brews” is their number one area of growth.

The name alone proposed a challenge, and it was something the client would not budge on. I decided that the package design should rely more heavily on story, and less on name recognition. The idea came to me as I was standing in line for a coffee. On the counter, the baristas had two tip jars, one for cats, and one for dogs. It surprised me how much was in the dog jar versus the cat. It occurred to me that people like to belong to a category, “I am a dog person”.

Using data from previous studies I conducted on the purchasing habits of new alcohol brands in Nova Scotia, and studies the studio had done on millennials, I created personas for each of the cider flavours.

The positioning of the brand became “Happiness grows on trees”. I empathised what “happiness” looked like to adults in Nova Scotia and translated that into the brand aesthetic—apple became a relaxed camper, blueberry an adventure seeking surfer, chai a contemplative yoga practitioner, and so on. The cans were produced with a smooth matte finish and feel really wonderful in your hand.

After the launch when I asked people what they thought of the name, to my delight the majority of people said they really hadn’t noticed it, they just looked for the package design on the shelf. The client was ecstatic, stating that sales of the new cider line represented a 500% growth in their overall cider sales in the first three months.