Baltic Beer Co



What we did?
Brand Identity


Adding insult to injury, the beers are called Big Egg Mountain and Ghost Bog and Improper and… Really? Yes, really! Because in this world of craftily named craft beers, the only way to go was to turn up the volume to 11!

Old Boy used to be slang for beer in England waaaay back in the 1700’s. (Why? Don’t know actually.)

And Mary Jane is slang for you know what. And the beer names we picked from the map of Estonia and translated them into English verbatim. And there’s lot’s more where that came from. Estonia even have a town named after cannabis!

Old Boy Mare Jane (OBMJ for short) is a gypsy brewery. Meaning, they don’t actually own a brewery. Instead, they know beer and they know cannabis. And they look for the best beers to serve as a canvas for the cannabis inspired terpenes to create new substantial flavours with, to take the whole beer drinking experience to new highs.

Saaremaa is a legendary, even mythical island for Estonians, famous for its brewers. Yet no proper beer had been produced there for over 20 years. When a family of enthusiasts decided to revive the tradition by starting a microbrewery on their farm just outside Pöide, Brand Manual was charged with making them famous even before the first batch was rolled out.

We succeeded spectacularly – partly due to the fact that getting all the paperwork done took much longer than expected. That let the Pöide folks fine tune their product and allowed us to work on the packaging, web presence and social media. Pöide beer got the world talking before it was officially rolled out in spring 2014.

The identity is built on the name Pöide (an obvious choice!). This is a title loaded with history, yet with a distinctive modern, Nordic air. It makes subtle reference to Pöide’s medieval church and the island’s deep-rooted pagan attitude. So, taking care to make sure the recipe for the identity was not over-designed, we let the beer speak for itself.

Craft beers are a hot subject now and
Pöide tapped into that most effectively.

The rye brew, their maiden edition, tastes like bread and is unlike any of beers from competitor breweries, small or large. The demand is so high that even after doubling their production facilities Pöide has a waiting list of new clients and demanding vendors. And we have already designed tools and action plans for further expansion, once their launch frenzy has cooled down.

Pöide beer landscape Poide-web-anime-brand-manualPöide beer glass Pöide rye beer Pöide beer case Pöide case of beer Pöide future range

Losing focus is common with growing companies. KAFO was no exception. As the leading importer of Jura and Cimbali coffee machines and Lavazza coffee, KAFO was almost single-handedly responsible for the coffee revolution in Estonia. The country moved from the drip-drip-drip of nuclear waste to crema topped caffeine injections in less than 10 years.

However, as the consumer became more knowledgable and demanding, competition moved in and created price pressure. Competition increased in every segment served by KAFO, while they themselves started to meet HORECA customer requests, for lower costs on consumables. At the same time the sortiment of goods expanded and, for some time, it seemed possible to consider the thought of selling even other dry goods, which aren’t coffee.

The company was experiencing quick growth, but a few management decisions had created an environment of resentment among staff. Rebranding to KAFO was already decided, but the implementation plan was mostly cosmetic, while the problems the company was facing, would not be fixed by changing the name. A clear strategy to forward was required.

Working through our proprietary workshop format, Branding ABC, as well as interviews with KAFO customers, we discovered that, which other’s value about KAFO: the real strength of the company was not in selling machines and raw materials, but in the service they provided. One large HORECA client went so far as to say, that they don’t care what machines or what coffee is in the machines. As long as KAFO takes care of them, it will be good.

Good coffee requires three things: a machine, beans and knowledge. The company was founded on the knowledge of coffee and what customers valued most, was the service provided. Refocusing the business on delivering a better experience was encapsulated in the statement “we hate bad coffee”. Whereas every coffee company seems to say the obvious (we love good coffee), the idea that while KAFO “hates bad coffee”, it also suggests that KAFO can do something about it.

The strategy, therefore, has become opinion leadership. That good coffee can be done in many different ways, and that KAFO has the knowledge to get the best out of your favorite cup. And no, it is not a nice, “yes, of course we can help” approach. “We hate bad coffee” and where KAFO can make a difference, there it will.


KAFO A4 letterheads, envelope, businesscard etc. Screenshot of the KAFO homepage T-shirt with the slogan "we hate bad coffee" Guide to placing the KAFO logo on coffee machines KAFO pattern on a red background white minivan with we hate bad coffee written on it Two spreads of the KAFO cvi book