SEATTLE, Wash. – The explosive popularity of craft beer is fueling the dominance of American style hops that are known for big, bold flavor. Yakima Chief, based in Yakima, WA, is the 100% grower-owned largest international provider. It even had a starring role at the recent Royal Wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle for the special Pale Ale brewed for the celebration to honor of Ms. Markle’s American West Coast roots.
Since the mega-merger of 2 industry leaders, they changed their name from YCHHOPS (YakimaChief HopUnion Hops) to Yakima Chief, honoring more than 30 years of connecting family hop farms to the world’s finest brewers. With a goal of global leadership and e-commerce, they turned to Seattle-based brand strategy firm, Retail Voodoo, to help establish a completely new brand strategy.
According to David Lemley, Founder/Chief Strategist, Retail Voodoo, “We worked directly with them to clarify how they talk about hops, hop farming, their mission, and history. This led to a new positioning focused on farming and science. We then helped them build their marketing and global e-commerce programs, and did a complete rebrand, including new tone, voice, packaging, marketing, and advertising materials.”
“We have entered a new age in the hop industry where beer-drinking consumers really care about the ingredients that make their favorite beverages. The brewers are looking to help tell the story about hops and why they choose to support family farms by purchasing the highest quality hops for their brews,” states Kate Ruffing, Chief Marketing Officer, Yakima Chief Hops, who led the brand transformation efforts. “We want to share that story with brewers and beer drinkers around the world.”
The Retail Voodoo team noted that other hop brands are indistinguishable: similar in color, hue, typeface and imagery – essentially a sea of green sameness. They created a new logo for Yakima Chief that represents the past, present, and future of the organization as well as the science of hop growing. “Additionally, we wanted to celebrate the American heritage and its relationship to the Yakima nation by using an earthy red and blue, that set the stage for a modern, Americana theme: timeless, bold, and iconic,” says Lemley. The new tagline reads: “American Hops from the Pacific Northwest.”
The interlocking rings of the new logo are connected with a stylized hop cone that mirrors the company’s core mission of connecting family farms with the world’s finest breweries by supplying the highest-quality hop products as well as the connection of two grower-owned companies
Additionally, new packaging was developed for Homebrew, to underscore the 6 generations of family hop farmers in Yakima, WA.
“Retail Voodoo’s work on the new brand reflects the strong partnerships that Yakima Chief Hops has created within the brewing industry while also celebrating the future,” adds Ruffing. The full rollout and launch of the new brand coincides with the September hop harvest.
About Retail Voodoo
Retail Voodoo, based in Seattle, is a company of believers. We believe that brands can make a difference when they stand for something good. We are the only branding agency with a 25-year track record turning better-for-you brands (in wellness, food, beverage, and fitness) into cultural forces for good and financial powerhouses. Clients include Essentia Water, KIND, Sahale Snacks, Alden’s Organic, Dry Soda, REI, Starbucks and Sur la Table.
About Yakima Chief
Yakima Chief Hops is a 100% grower-owned global supplier of premium quality hops and uncompromising service. We’re passionate about providing brewers with the tools and information to do something special. We are hop masters, beer geeks, farmers and families who share a culture of pride, partnership, and innovation centered on sustainably produced hop products and brewing solutions from the Pacific Northwest.