Two local design firms received top honors in the 2021 Craft Beer Marketing Awards for their work with Free State Brewing Company and The Goat Brewing Company.

The Craft Beer Marketing Awards (CBMA) celebrate the best of craft beer marketing and design from around the world. 88 Design Group, the in-house creative agency of Grandstand based in Lawrence, Kansas, won a Platinum Crushies award in the Best Packaging Design/Bottle category, The Americas division, for its work on Free State Brewing’s Alley-oop Dunkel. 

“We were very excited to receive a Platinum Crushie for a second year,” says Josh Christie, director of 88 Design Group. “It was extra special as we were recognized for our work with our local partner, Free State Brewing Company. The Craft Beer Marketing Awards are meaningful to us as the judges are all craft beer professionals, demonstrating that our work is valued in the industry.”

Dyer Oil Graphics, a design firm based in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, won a Gold Crushie for its work in the category of Best Logo Design/Use of Icon or Mascot, The Americas division, for its client work on behalf of The Goat Brewing Company.   

Ronnie and Rachel Dyer, co-owners of Dyer Oil Graphics, were “shocked” when they learned their firm had won an award. “Due to COVID-19, the awards were virtual again. Rachel and I were watching the live stream in our office. There was much jumping up and down and excited yelling when they called our name for that first award. When we submitted for the awards, we thought we were a long-shot in this global competition. We loved the work we had done and thought “Why not?”  

The couple was a bit stunned for several days. Ronnie Dyer says, “2020 was a rough year for our business, and thousands of others, being recognized for the work we did was a great mental boost. It really helped us to continue to move forward.”

Dyer Oil Graphics also won a Gold Crushie in Best Pandemic/Charity Related Promotion for The Quarantine Brewery & Taphouse. Quarantine Brewery & Taphouse is a virtual brewery set up by Dyer Oil, where proceeds from merchandise sales raised more than $3,000 for the KC Hospitality Support Initiative and Lee’s Summit Social Services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Getting a Crushie for our Quarantine Brewery campaign was fantastic,” Dyer says. “The way the community helped us raise money for those out of work during the lockdown was incredible. It still feels good to see people out and about in their Quarantine shirts and hats.”

Craft Beer Marketing Awards And Three Marketing Trends

Jackie DiBella and Jim McCune co-founded the CBMAs in 2019.  

“Jim and I came up with the idea of the Craft Beer Marketing Awards because we realized there are so many other people behind the success of craft beer, like us, who don’t get recognition,” DiBella says. “Design itself has become a focal point of our industry and really helps to sell the liquid – but the marketing support behind it, all aspects of it, really helps breweries to see success and growth. We have over 30 categories that really help recognize how much goes into promoting a beer, brand, brewery, etc.” 

More than 300 well-known industry experts from across the globe have judged CBMA submissions over the past two years. CBMA anticipates the involvement of nearly 500 judges for the next awards round, due to the increased number of entries.

Craft beer marketing has adapted from pre-pandemic times to unprecedented shifts in 2020-21 as breweries sold less beer on tap and pivoted to packaged sales. DiBella shares insight on three craft beer marketing trends.  

    1. Cause related marketing and campaigns: Since the pandemic and rise of equality awareness across the board, many breweries have created on their own or collaborated with each other to raise awareness and support many different causes through special brews or campaigns to raise money, etc.

    2. Digital footprint: It has become so important that breweries have their information updated and clear, up-to-date communication being shared with consumers. Hours on Google should be accurate, any safety precautions being taken at the taproom, event details, etc. should all be updated across digital platforms including website and social media pages.

    3. Importance of to-go options: Canning has become crucial to breweries over the last year. Designing and marketing to sell those beers on a very competitive retail shelf is key.
Submissions Open for 2022 Craft Beer Marketing Awards

The 2022 CBMAS consist of 38 categories that cover all aspects of brew marketing—from labels to logos, and tap handles, to taprooms. This year, 11 new categories have been added by popular suggestion. Winners in each category are awarded a CBMAS Crushie Award. Platinum and Gold Crushies will be awarded to winners in each region. 

The submission period is now open for the 2022 Craft Beer Marketing Awards. The awards program is accepting beer–related marketing and design entries from around the globe (including hard seltzer, cider, and mead).  Breweries, their agencies, artists, and marketing partners are all invited to enter their best work. The “Early Bird” deadline for entries is October 29, 2021. Entries are being accepted from October 30, 2021, through January 14, 2022. Winners will be announced in May of 2022.

“The CBMAS has grown significantly as a unique platform celebrating the beer industry’s incredible marketing and design that wasn’t being recognized until now,” said co-founder Jim McCune in a press release. “We’ll continue to award the very best work in the industry, and showcase that work, and the folks that created it to the world.”

Pete DulinPete Dulin is the founder and editor of His most recent book is Expedition of Thirst: Exploring Breweries, Distilleries and Wineries Across Central Kansas and Missouri. Pete’s other books include Kansas City Beer: A History of Brewing in the Heartland (The History Press, American Palate series), KC Ale Trail (out of print), and Last Bite: 100 Simple Recipes from Kansas City’s Best Chefs and Cooks.