Braille Ale Raspberry Gose wins the “Best Can Design” award
Hhow does the saying go? “Teamwork makes the dream work”? It surely made amazing things happen for you West side brows, the Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CABVI) and Brick Solid brands. Their Braille Ale Raspberry Gose collaboration won a Platinum Crushie (the highest category award) for best can design at the Craft Beer Marketing Awards 2021 in July, prompting the brewery to release another limited edition edition late last month .
What makes this can so special? As the name suggests, Braille Ale features raised braille directly on the can. Aaron Bley, Vice President of Community Relations and Chief Development Officer at CABVI, started thinking about the idea years ago. He started a conversation about it with West Side Brewing in the fall of 2019.
“I presented the idea [as] ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could work on a fundraising project together and create a braille ale with a beer can that actually had braille on it?’ “Bley recalls. “It’s been on my wish list for years as something I thought would be beneficial for people with visual impairment and also a great thing for the community to raise awareness of the challenges of accessibility.”
Andrew Curtis of Brick Solid Brands joined the project and was tasked with not only designing an appealing can of beer, but also making the raised braille.
“The biggest challenge was getting the braille into the design,” he notes. “Braille had to be a certain size for people to read. This limited us where we could put it on the can. “
CABVI essentially assisted by proofreading the proposed Braille and ensuring that the size and spacing were legible. Brick Solid Brands had to get creative to refine the limited edition tins – and even order special plates from Germany to create the raised braille – but Curtis believes Braille Ale will show other companies what is possible.
“One of the biggest challenges of this project was figuring out how to print the 3D Braille on the actual label,” he explains. “Once this process is completely ironed out, I see no reason why companies could not include Braille in their products.”
The team approached the project with two goals. First of all, they wanted to raise awareness of CABVI and its mission. The can not only leads to discussions, but part of every sale goes to CABVI’s support programs. The can itself supported the team’s second goal: improving the shopping experience for blind shoppers.
“Simple tasks like reading the labels on food and beverage packaging are natural for most of us,” says Curtis. “This project definitely opened people’s eyes to a problem that most of them probably never thought of.”
The first goal was also a great success. “With the introduction of Braille Ale, we received inquiries from all over the country at CABVI,” says Bley. “They tried to get their hands on the product and asked how it came about.”
Braille Ale Raspberry Gose (first introduced in 2020) is back in West Side Brewing’s taproom to celebrate the “crushie” while supplies last. Fans can also find the award-winning cans at select retailers for a limited time.