We love branding breweries. Seeing the success of our branding for StormBreaker Brewing, the founders of a Southern California brewery recognized in the late 2010s that the craft beer scene in Los Angeles was about to take off and had raised money to get their plans off the ground. They engaged us to create their new logo for what they were calling Benediction Brewing.
As we do when we start any large design project, we embarked on a full discovery session with the founders and head brewer, completing customer personas, brand attributes and statement, marketing matrix and customer journey map—all so we know exactly who were are building the brand for and what would get them excited. We wanted everything we created to resonate with their core local audience and attract interest from far and wide, turning visitors into raving fans.
We drew the wordmark identity in a custom black-letter style that would be handcrafted and authentic. Just one problem—when the founders went to trademark the identity: “Benediction” was already in use by another brewery in Northern California.
So we needed a new name. Zookeeper imagined a number of new monikers and Ximix stood out. A name with an “X” in it made sense as Elon Musk’s SpaceX was literally around the corner, and a space theme was apt with Southern California’s rich aerospace history. A word with an “X” in it would be memorable and make a distinctive sound. Desiring to eventually be a beverage company with multiple non-beer offerings, adding in the word “mix” to the brewery name seemed like a natural fit. Ximix also happened to be a palindrome. We underlined the name in the identity with “Craft Exploration Company” instead of brewery to mark the company as having a distinct trajectory.
We imagined an identity with wings and did lots of sketching to explore possibilities. A character design started to emerge, an intrepid space traveler fueled by a thirst for adventure.
After creating a dimensional logotype with a double orbit effect and a shooting satellite, we added in a character design, an explorer hauling a keg barrel who ventured to the far ends of the universe to bring back the finest ingredients to brew the tastiest beer in the galaxy.
Like with the secondary marks on the sleeves of sports teams uniforms, we wanted to create icons for the brewery to give us additional options as we put together all of the branded pieces.
The founders had ambitious distribution plans and wanted Ximix to be on tap in bars and restaurants across Southern California. A custom-designed tap handle can garner attention from across a bar and we wanted to create a tap handle that would outshine them all. We imagined a shiny rocket that just couldn’t be missed.
To create a rocket-inspired tap handle, we had to prototype a precisely shaped 3D model. With the embossed Ximix logo marking the base, the swirling X icon was placed below the nosecone as a branding detail.
Once the schematic was complete, we tested the rocket design and repeatedly refined the model on our in-office 3D printer. We made sure every detail was perfect before the next stage. The rocket was tall so we had to print it in multiple pieces, then fuse them together.
Once we had the models fabricated, we worked with our friends at Artcraft Plating in Burbank to plate the taps with a shiny finish. The results were nothing short of stunning—and unmissable.
Ximix loved the idea of rolling out a series of comic-book style super hero characters with a space theme for each month’s new beer launch.
• Black Hole Descender
• Galaxy Hopper
• Sour Prowler
• Supersonic Surfer
• Helio Dreamer
• Lost Astronaut
• Off-World Hop Hauler
• Planetary Plunderer
• Starseeker Blonde
• Atmospheric Ascender
• Sweet Bandito
Zookeeper designed the Space Crowler container for the brewery’s canning launch. We made sure all of the design elements throughout the project extended the brand for consistency and memorability, including menus, signage and many other items.
As the brewery’s launch day neared, we designed apparel including hats, T-shirts and hoodies with Ximix’s distinctive branding. Not only is branded apparel a good way to generate additional revenue, it’s also a great way to promote the brewery through fans who can serve as ambassadors who champion the beer and brewery.
If you could find it hidden in an industrial cul-de-sac in Gardena, the exterior design was unforgettable, adorned with off-world characters and spaceship-type doors painted an orange-ish red. We helped facilitate the graffiti artists who expertly projected up and replicated our character designs.
Brewery funding sputtered before these interior design plans could be implemented. We envisioned an inviting interior dotted with Instagrammable and Tik-Tok-able spots to snap your photos, backstopped by out-of-this-world characters as films and shows with space themes played to set the atmospheric mood.
Unable to overcome a challenging location and undercapitalization, Ximix, like many start-up businesses, sadly didn’t survive the pandemic, despite all of the hard work and creativity that went into the brand. But it’s a brand we believed in and will always be proud of. Long live Ximix.