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19-07-2013, 10:02
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Colour. The colour of beer, the pale blonde straw gold ale that brightly garnishes the clear nothingness of the glass; the sombre Sunday-best respectable Methodist brown of a pint (it has to be a pint, the pint has to be a pint) of bitter aloof in the same clear nothingness of the glass. There is another aspect of colour though, the colour (or even colours) that encourages, aids even, the consumer — that’s you and I and the man over there plus that woman at the counter — to make the informed choice over whatever we want to buy. For example, my morning coffee comes from a packet that has a sunlit yellow swab of colour on the front, I like it, it appeals to me, is it the main reason I buy it? I don’t know, but the appeal of the colour is on the same level of attraction as the price (£3 in the local Co-op) and the style of coffee (Americano it says, whatever that means, but I know it doesn’t me get too gibbery) — I can’t exactly remember who makes it, that’s pretty irrelevant. So how important is colour?

The reason I take this brief excursion into the realms of colour is that the other day I received a press release from Tring Brewery (http://www.tringbrewery.co.uk/) that trumpeted the news they had launched a new look for their beers’ pump clips, using in their words ‘applied colour psychology to appeal to beer drinkers…the brewery has rebranded, starting with its pump clips, unifying its look and increasing its appeal to new and existing customers. The beer names are derived from local characters, literature of legends with new illustrations produced to represent these stories and reinforce the brewery’s connection with the locality.’ You can read more about it here (http://www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/Drinks-Brands-News/Tring-Brewery-uses-colour-psychology-to-rebrand-beers).

As you can see from the image, the shield-like clips feature soft muted colours of leaf green, cherry red and a dark caramel orange. There’s a cartoon frog, a landscape that suggests to me far and away and this iconic British World War II poster (http://03varvara.wordpress.com/2010/06/29/the-anti-hitler-coalition-of-world-war-ii-in-posters-they-saved-the-world-from-a-long-night/british-ww2-posters-2/), while the dog is a bit Black Bob (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Bob). Ok, these are not hipsters’ labels, not designed with designers and ironic flat caps in mind and there’s nothing wrong with that. They’re homely and comfortable, mirroring myths and legends of the area — not everything has to be edgy. I don’t know what to think to be honest, as coffee packets aside I can be blind to design.

Far more important though, what do the beers taste like? That I cannot say either, as I haven’t tried them but I do have a bottle of their Tea Kettle stout in the cellar, which was to sent to me, and I look forward to trying it (I like the fact that more breweries are making stout). Tea Kettle? Apparently Tring’s home county of Hertfordshire is shaped like a kettle, presumably that is why the label has a splash of what I would call light charcoal grey. Maybe it’s nice to drink in colour.

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