Earlier this year, Harvard Cider Co. in Massachusetts changed its name to Prospect Ciderworks. It turns out that when your cidery has the same name as an Ivy League university, confusion ensues. So founders and childhood friends Chase Brooks, Mark Finnegan and Sam Copeland went back to the drawing board and decided on Prospect, a nod to Prospect Hill in their hometown and original location of Harvard, Massachusetts.
A new company name gave Prospect the opportunity to rebrand, and to clear up any perplexities. As the marketing guru of the trio, Brooks says the original cans were too similar and customers often thought they only made one style of cider. It was time for an overhaul.
“We knew a few things for sure, we wanted to come off as progressive as our products are,” Brooks says. “Originally we did make cider next to an abundance of orchards, but that was never really what it was about. It was about being experimental new-age cidermakers using refined techniques to make something unique. We wanted our packaging to reflect that mission, instead of simply highlighting where our fruit comes from.”
The first and most challenging step in creating this cutting-edge cider brand was finding a designer “to communicate exactly how we felt about our recipes,” Brooks explains. Extensive research led the Prospect team to Tim Gibson out of Wellington, New Zealand, who insisted that the three founders go through a rigorous storytelling process to get at the heart of who they were as a company. Hours of conversation would go on before the actual design work began. When it finally did, their Paradise cider was up first.
“Paradise was always our baseline concept,” Brooks says. “It has become our most popular cider.”
A refreshing, fruit-forward cider, Paradise is steeped in grains of paradise and orange peel after fermenting with a Belgian ale yeast. This sunny, dry-finishing cider is an ode to a Belgian witbier.
“Though we’d never say ‘this cider transports you to the beach,’ the idea behind Paradise was paradise of the mind,” Brooks explains.
Designer Gibson captured that paradise on the label in the form of a coconut shell that, when you look closely, becomes cidermaker Mark Finnegan’s furry chin. “He’s a classic fermenter with a big beard,” Brooks jokes. From this coconut-beard chin grow tropical flowers, a palm tree and a tiny umbrella. “The artwork represents the idea of paradise growing from the top of the cidermaker’s mind.”
Atop the tropical elements of the Paradise label is a compass rose that’s also an eyeball. That’s the part of the label that represents Brooks’ glass eye. As the marketing arm of Prospect, he is the guardian of the brand’s look and feel, and he watches over it all in this design.
Paradise is now available in 16-ounce cans in the Boston area and on tap in Prospect’s tasting room on Norfolk Avenue.
This article originally ran in the Vol. 9 print edition of Cidercraft magazine. For the full story and more like it, click here.