Artisanal Branding For Specialty Products

Specialty food and beverage products are the fastest growing segment in the industry. Internet promotions and e-commerce offer tremendous opportunities for brands who have been struggling to play the distribution game. Over the years, STIR has developed and transformed many artisan brands for small and emerging companies.

A brand’s story begins with a deliberate strategic process during which positioning and messaging points are clearly identified. We discuss this process in our blog post, What’s the Matter with your Brand?.

Bringing brands successfully to market requires that you cater to specialty audiences with both your packaging and online presence. You must also cater to the media itself, using effective public relations, plus compelling content, including video, images, design, and copy that search engines recognize as authoritative. You must choreograph all of this in the telling of your story a smart, genuine, and highly compelling way. Our blog post, Build an Artisan Brand Through Storytelling, provides more detail on these topics.

Begin With A Name That Projects Personality

At the very beginning, we give the brand a name and logo that captures the essence of its story. The identity needs a ring that demonstrates its relevance and authenticity, thereby reinforcing the positioning. Here are some brands we’ve named – and for which we have also also done the logo and packaging work.

Commonwealth Cheese Company Logo

Commonwealth Cheese Company created a new variety of cheese, Gran Opaggio, which was named in honor of the founder’s grandfather (Opa) who started the company. We named the company and this sensational new variety and created the logo.

ICON Cookware Logo

Forged from Iron, Carbon, Oxygen and Nitrogen, ICON Steel Cookware is a name that imbues strength and premium performance.

Design a Logo and Iconography With Meaning

A brand’s logo defines it in many ways. Elements such as font, color, layers, shapes, and iconography project the brand’s personality.

Pagels Ponderosa Logo

Ponderosa Farmstead produces the finest cheese. Its simple, symbolic logo conjures literal ‘branded’ imagery.

Grande Epicure Logo

A producer of cutting boards needed a contemporary look and feel to establish itself as a fashionable line of kitchen accessories.

Odyssey Logo

For this leading producer of private label feta cheese and Greek yogurt, we designed a logo that was clean and fresh with an air of contemporary sophistication.

Renards Artisan Cheese Logo

For this cheese maker located in Door County, Wisconsin, an artistic conclave, we reflected its freshness and artisanal creativity in its logo.

Lov-It Logo

The logo for this fresh new brand of small-batch Wisconsin dairy butter was designed with the intention of having a family-friendly appeal.

Weber's Farmstead Logo

A Wisconsin family farmstead with a a select herd of cows that produces A2 milk dairy products like kefir.

Wrap the Product In Packaging That Sings

Packaging needs to work hard for the artisan brand by telling the story and sharing the essence of the product’s quality. The package physically represents the brand’s personality and values. It must be alluring to the consumer browsing the shelves, which is why every detail makes a difference.

Junipre Botanical Spirit

Junipre Botanical Spirit

When branding this nonalcoholic spirit, we developed the distillery name (Boundless Beverage Co.) and logo as well as the product line name and logo (SANS) and the variety name (Junipre) and packaging. We took a step further by calling it a botanical spirit instead of a nonalcoholic gin.

Odyssey Feta Crumbled Traditional

Odyssey Feta Cheese

A packaging refresh exploded sales for the Odyssey brand. We made the brand name subordinate to the cheese variety since the cheese section of the grocery store is cluttered with underdeveloped brands. Sophisticated shoppers using feta as an ingredient in cooking simply needed a more credible product presentation.

Renards Cheeses

Renards Artisan Cheese

It is often important to tie products to their regionality. In the case of Door County and Renards Artisan Cheese, the presence of clean, clear water, pastures, and heritage as an arts community led us to utilize the works of local artists on the packaging.

Weber's Farmstead Kefir

Weber’s Farmstead Kefir

Appetite appeal is critical, particularly with a new brand like Weber’s Farmstead and a product such as kefir. Research showed that calling the product a “milk smoothie” made it more approachable. This is a niche product for a sophisticated specialty market, which is reflected in the bottle’s design.

County Cheese Curds Ponderosa Farmstead Kewaunee WI

Ponderosa Farmstead Country Cheese Curds

A small artisan farmstead in Wisconsin that produces world championship-winning cheese products needed packaging that projected freshness and wholesomeness.

Odyssey Greek Yogurt Strawberry

In the large yogurt section, which is typically dominated by two or three giants, you need to capture shoppers’ attention with purity of presentation. The Odyssey yogurt packaging is simple, beautiful, and most of all, has amazing appetite appeal.

Tell Stories With Images and Video

Video Storytelling

Storytelling through video is perhaps the most effective of all methods. Here, Meister Cheese demonstrates the special qualities of its sourcing and production processes, reassuring retailers and consumers that they are a company of capacity and integrity in sourcing and management.

Food Photography

High-quality food photography is not a luxury when marketing is based on appetite appeal. Here, we are behind the scenes on a food shoot for Lov-It Butter. You can see the expertise, care, and attention to detail being displayed by the team.

Animated Storytelling

The Meister Cheese Company in Muscoda, Wisconsin is family-owned, private label producer of high-quality cheese. Their commitment to and investment in sustainable production practices is both unique and admirable. There are many ways in which they nurture the Wisconsin environment that they depend on. We told their story in a unique way – through animation. The video is also featured on the website we designed for them. Click play in the lower left to bring the animation to life.

Build a Website Designed To Share The Brand With The World

Ponderosa Farmstead

This is an example of a small brand with relatively simple storytelling needs. The e-commerce website’s copy and imagery, combined with a gorgeous design, quickly share the unique quality and the benefits of Wisconsin farmstead cheese.

Visit the Ponderosa Farmstead website

Other websites that tell brands’ stories include:

Renards Cheese


Ponderosa Farmstead  print ad

Spread the Word Through Social Media

Commonwealth Cheese Co. facebook profile

Commonwealth Cheese Co.

Commonwealth Cheese Co.’s Facebook presence is a terrific example of a social media-based marketing plan. Foodies are learning about new brands through social media every day. Gran Opaggio, which is a unique blend of Swiss and asiago, is exploding in the greater Pittsburgh area. While the brand grows in awareness, social media activity is giving it credibility among local retailers.

Visit the Commonwealth Cheese Co. Facebook page

Put Your Brand On The Map With Public Relations

Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese

A small brand with a limited advertising budget can become iconic through public relations. STIR generates millions of highly valuable targeted impressions with consumers and the trade, driving web traffic and e-commerce through storytelling. Good PR is all about being informative, topical, and entertaining while weaving in the brand story.

Media hits for Crave Brothers Farmstead include:


Fox 6 Milwaukee

Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese holiday lineup

Let’s Bring Your Brand to Life

We invite you to talk with the Masters of Messaging at STIR about your brand. We understand that every brand is completely unique and has a compelling story to tell. Contact to get started.