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7 Key Styles for the Perfect Brewery Apparel Line

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7 Key Styles for the Perfect Brewery Apparel Line

ith thousands of craft breweries setting up shop across America, owners are looking for ways to stand out from the crowd, besides brewing amazing IPAs. One way is to create a custom apparel merch line and turn customers into happy walking billboards for the brewery brand.

Whether you own a brewery or count breweries among your clients, we’ve got you covered with tips to create a merch line – and amazing product ideas for every type of craft beer fan.

It's All About Branding

Before you brew up your must-wear swag collection, you should consider a few things:

1. What’s your brand all about?

What kind of apparel and designs represent your brewery’s vibe the best? If you have a slogan or cool tagline, try leading your designs with that instead of your brewery logo. If you decorate with phrases that people can connect to, they’ll be more likely to buy and wear the piece vs. one that’s simply “logowear.”

This brewery creatively turned a key ingredient into a sentiment that every beer lover can get behind.

You can also develop merch for individual beer lines you release. Fans of each beer will be happy to rep their favorite Friday night mug or pint with some branded gear!

Create limited-edition t-shirts sporting art from local or in-house artists. Brewery staff can wear the gear during their shifts to create interest among patrons. People love special or limited-edition merch – so it’s always a great idea to show off these items on social media and onsite as part of your line.

2. Who are your clients and what do they want to wear?

If you live in an area where eco-minded people love spending time in the Great Outdoors, then sustainable apparel and nature-related products might fit the bill. Or, if a majority of your patrons are blue collar or union workers, USA-made apparel could be the best fit. For breweries located in a college town, the goal may be to outfit students and young adults with on-trend or streetwear-inspired pieces. Whatever your brand vibe, it’s a smart idea to include apparel for men and women.

3. How will you use your branded merch?

There are lots of ways to leverage your new merch collection, including:

  • Sell your merch to happy patrons as souvenirs or collector’s items.
  • Use the items as staff uniforms.
  • Give away select items as freebies or gifts with purchase to customers.
  • Use the items as part of special events or marketing campaigns.
  • Donate branded shirts for a fundraising event or to a nonprofit.  

These factors will play a big part in deciding what types of apparel and decorations will create the best collection for your brewery.

A T-Shirt for the Sustainably Minded

Every brewery merch line needs a core t-shirt that everyone wants to wear. We’ve got our eye on one that’s great for markets where a love of nature and sustainability are extremely important to consumers. It’s a contemporary fit, side-seamed tee made by Kastlfel, a brand that’s becoming synonymous with responsible manufacturing.

Kastlfel’s Unisex RecycledSoft™ T-Shirt

This eco-friendly t-shirt is made from combed ringspun transitional cotton and recycled polyester. According to Kastlfel, less than 2% of global cotton is organic. To support farmers transitioning to organic practices, the company purchases cotton during the transitional phase, also known as the "in-conversion" period, when the cotton isn’t yet certified.

Organic production systems help reduce the use of toxic fertilizers and pesticides, maintain and replenish soil fertility, while also helping to grow a biologically diverse agriculture. Over time, the percentage of organic cotton will rise, thanks to companies like Kastlfel that make apparel from this cotton.

This t-shirt, which has an eco-enzyme finish for a smoother printing surface, comes in some great colors, including White, Carbon, Green, Midnight, Moss, Red and Steel, so you’re sure to find a few shades that match your brand and audience’s tastes. The water-based pad-printed neck label adds comfort and another eco-detail on this must-wear tee.

Raise a Glass in Comfort

Like the ubiquitous t-shirt, no brewery merch collection’s complete without a hoodie. Including a comfy unisex hoodie, with a premium soft feel, in your line will appeal to a wide range of patrons, of all ages and stages.

Independent's Midweight Pigment-Dyed Hooded Sweatshirt

This midweight hoodie is a great layering piece for all year round, so your brand will get some extra mileage. Plus, this item is perfect for outdoor brewery events, useful for both staff and customers.

A hoodie offers ample room for your branding and artwork – and this hoodie has a 100% cotton face for easy, smooth printing that will look fabulous and last through many washings.

You’ll also love this hoodie’s wide color selection, which helps create looks that match some of the more colorful labels that come with craft beers, especially IPAs. The pigment-dyed look is very popular and helps create that faded vintage look associated with breweries.

Flannels & Ales

Flannel shirts have that casual and laid-back vibe that aligns well with the atmosphere of many breweries. They’re also trendy and popular among a wide range of demographics, so they appeal to customers of different ages and style preferences.

When it comes to how they’re used, flannels can be layered with other clothing items for added warmth, or worn on their own for a more casual look. Customers will wear their branded flannel while enjoying a beer at the brewery, attending events, or to stay cozy during outdoor activities.

Burnside’s Yarn-Dyed Long Sleeve Flannel Shirt

This updated flannel, made from cotton/poly CVC fabric, offers a modern fit that will appeal to younger patrons. This layering basic has additional thoughtful features, like two button-close front flap pockets and roll-tab sleeves with adjustable one-button cuffs for warmer weather.

Choose from a plethora of colors and check patterns to match your brand, season and IPA releases – Charcoal/Black Buffalo, Crimson/Navy, Ecru/Black Buffalo, Tobacco/Black Buffalo, and more.

Hoppy Hour Headgear

Trucker caps have a classic, retro, rugged appeal for those that equate beer with the down-home, no-frills lifestyle. These headtoppers exude a sense of authenticity and nostalgia, making them an excellent choice for customers who appreciate the craft of brewing beer.

A cap is a perfect branding statement for outdoor brewery events, with sun protection from the visor and open mesh back to stay cool. They’re suitable for both men and women and can be decorated in various colors and styles to create different looks.

LEGACY’s Old Favorite Trucker Cap

This six-panel, low-profile cap has a lived-in-look, dirty washed cotton twill crown and breathable mesh back. Trucker caps, especially this style, are synonymous with breweries and still very on-trend for young adult patrons. The Old Favorite has special details like a fun green undervisor and a contrasting snapback closure.

You’ll also love some of the special patterned colorways like camo, colorful stripes, palm trees, and of course, stars for patriotic American holidays.

Craft Beer and Crafted Shirts

Like flannel shirts, industrial work shirts offer that rugged, practical look that often echoes the brewery ethos. The right workwear shirts communicate craftsmanship and authenticity, reflecting the brand’s dedication to brewing the finest craft beers. If you want to stand out from the brewery crowd, an industrial work shirt is a great addition to your merch line and staff uniforms!

Red Kap’s Industrial Short Sleeve Work Shirt

This industrial work shirt is designed with durability and functionality in mind. Made from polyester/cotton TouchTex poplin, this shirt can withstand the demands of a brewery environment, hanging tough when encountering spills, stains, sweat and regular wear and tear.

The short sleeves provide flexibility and allow for easier movement. One of the shirt’s button-through pockets even has a pencil stall – great for wait staff who are constantly writing down orders.

Weather the Brew-storm

A lightweight windbreaker is the perfect addition for your merch line, since patrons can wear them in almost every situation. This lightweight jacket works for transitional seasons and cooler evenings. Like the hoodie, you’ve got a lot of room for your branding, unique artwork and messaging.

Lightweight windbreakers offer a trendy, sporty aesthetic that appeals to a wide range of customers. Having a fashionable windbreaker as part of your merch line offers your loyal customers both style and functionality, while also providing a useful billboard for your brand (which will likely be worn often).

Independent Lightweight Windbreaker Full-Zip Jacket

A very popular windbreaker style that is often used for concert merch – this is a terrific option for both a brewery’s staff and its patrons. It’s feature-packed, with a scuba neck, three-panel hood, waterproof fabric, and matte finish eyelets and zippers.

Independent Trading Co. offers a lot of unique colors and patterns to choose from to reflect your brewery’s identity and brand  – including Black/Forest Camo, Graphite, Maroon and Aqua/White Zipper.

Cast, Sip, and Repeat!

Ever heard anyone say, “Beer and fishing go together like hops and reels”? A fishing t-shirt aligns well with the outdoor adventure theme often associated with breweries, and may appeal to patrons who enjoy outdoor activities.  

A long-sleeve fishing shirt provides protection against the sun, wind or colder temperatures.  The versatility of the shirt ensures it won’t just sit unworn in a closet, but may become their go-to garment, worn to a variety of activities.

It may even be possible to set up cross-promotional opportunities with fishing-related brands or organizations, like local fishing clubs or conservation groups, to offset some of the costs of the merch. Choosing a shirt from a well-known outdoor sports brand may help with cross branding opportunities, and will entice brewery patrons to snap up these shirts and wear them often.

Columbia PFG Terminal Tackle™ Long Sleeve T-Shirt

Rep your favorite beer, along with a brand you love and trust like Columbia! The PFG Terminal Tackle tee is designed with anglers in mind, offering features that cater to their needs. This includes lightweight, quick-dry and breathable 100% polyester interlock fabric, along with Omni-Wick™ moisture management and Omni-Shade™ UPF 50 to keep you cool and protected. Columbia fans will love the heat-sealed logo on the left chest and left sleeve.

Offering a fishing t-shirt as part of your merch line creates some synergy. In one stroke, you can cater to the interests and practical requirements of fishing enthusiasts and also those who enjoy craft beer.

Representing and catering to any local interests of your brewery patrons can be a great way to develop merch that moves. Don’t shy away from stocking apparel that fits that activity and helps you connect more deeply with your customers.

Living the Brew-tiful Life

Developing a custom apparel merch line for your brewery patrons or staff is a strategic move to boost brand visibility and engage customers on a deeper level. By considering your brewery’s brand identity and your target audience’s preferences, you can create a collection of uniquely appealing clothing options that will turn your customers into walking ambassadors for your brand.

Whether it's eco-friendly t-shirts, trendy hoodies, versatile flannel shirts, classic trucker caps, durable work shirts, stylish windbreakers, or fishing-inspired tees, each item lets you connect with your patrons for a memorable experience. Visit ssactivewear.com to browse more of our styles and accessories for the ultimate brewery merch line.  

Jul 16, 2023