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Style Branding:
Custom Tap Handles

by: Ben Weston, Hoptown Handles

Today's craft beverage consumer is becoming increasingly savvy and well-versed in the different styles/flavors or beer, cider, kombucha, etc. They are therefore becoming less and less likely to pick a beer based on the brewery name alone. Make sure you have a plan in place to differentiate between your different styles or flavors on your custom tap handle. Here's a quick breakdown of the most common ways of doing this along with the pros and cons of each.


Permanent Printing directly on your custom tap handle handle

• Pros - No need to keep track of stickers, magnets, or other consumables; No additional costs beyond the handle price.

• Cons - If you discontinue that style/flavor, you have handles you can't use anymore. 



• Pros - Low cost; Can be used with any of our standard (stock) handles; Removable; Durable; Quick turnaround; Low minimums.

• Cons - Need to manage decal stock; Reliance on bars/restaurants/distributors to ensure that decal gets placed on handle each time with accurate alignment.



• Pros - Low cost; Can be done on our standard (stock) handles; No need to order new cards for each flavor.

• Cons - Easily smudged by handling; Not consistent with other branding; Reliance on the bar/restaurant/distributor to actually write the name on the handle.



• Pros - Clean looking, durable, magnets are reusable and easily stored.

• Cons - Need to order magnets in bulk (min. 50 per flavor); Higher cost per handle due to added materials/labor (Premium Custom Handles only); Priced higher than decals.


Slide-in Card

• Pros - Low cost to produce cards; Easy to swap out; No alignment issues.

• Cons - Higher cost to produce handle; Cards aren't durable unless laminated.


Custom Removable Topper

• Pros - Looks like a permanent fixture on the handle.

• Cons - Very expensive and require lengthy timelines to produce new flavors and placards; Logistical challenge to manage placards and toppers.


Contributing Author

Ben Weston                                                                         Head Honcho, Hoptown Handles


Ben Weston is the founder and Head Honcho at Hoptown Handles, an American manufacturer of high quality, durable custom tap handles. He is also the co-founder and Director of Direction at SeaThirst Creative, a design firm that specializes in working with craft breweries of all sizes.

CB&B Brewery Workshops: New Brewery Accelerator
White Labs Pure Yeast & Fermentation

Opening a Brewery:
Getting Started

by Candace L. Moon, The Craft Beer Attorney

Where should I start? We hear this question time and time again in our offices. Opening a craft brewery is a dream come true for most, but without proper guidance the process can be overwhelming. This checklist is designed to provide a basic overview of what to do and when.

1. Choose the type of operation you plan on creating

a. How many barrels?

b. Will you have a tasting room?

Considerations for Financing
Your Brewery

by Rick Wehner, Brewery Finance

Starting a new business, especially one that is as capital intensive as a brewery, can be an exhilarating yet stressful endeavor. The saying
“you don’t know what you don’t know” certainly comes to mind. However, every successful brewery owner has been in this same position before and there are a lot of people and resources out there to help ease some of the anxiety. With proper planning, you can eliminate a lot of the time-sucking and money-wasting pitfalls that have discouraged many before you.


The Biggest Move to Save Time & Money

by Tom Hennessy, Colorado Boy Brewing

The majority of breweries in America are in fact brewpubs. If you are planning on building a brewery it goes without saying it will probably be a brewpub (a brewery that serves food) but could also be a simple brewery and tasting room that isn’t planning on packaging. If this is the case, pay attention here.


Find yourself a restaurant that you can lease or buy. Don’t start with a warehouse, or some other building if you want to save some serious cash. Here are my simple reasons.

  • Create your company

  • Find your location

  • Conceptualize your brand

  • Secure/raise financing

  • Build your brewery

  • Establish vendor relationships

  • Brew beer

  • Staff as needed

  • Create financial systems

  • Establish standard operating procedures

Grow Graph Image
  • Reevaluate everything

  • Sell more beer

  • Strategically plan

  • Go back to PLAN