Avondale Brewing Co has been a staple in the city since I have lived here. With good beer and even better company, you could easily spend all day at Avondale watching a game and hanging out with friends in their open field area. Want more of a nightlife feel? Look no further than Avondale because they frequently host concerts on their outdoor stage area. Whatever type of vibe you’re in the mood for, you can find it at Avondale.
The Avondale Brewing Co’s building has been home to many different businesses over the years. From a pharmacy to a saloon, it’s been standing strong in the community since 1855. With the building being vacant since 1980, by the time the Avondale founders came along in 2010, the building needed significant structural repairs. In February of 2011 Avondale revealed their logo featuring Miss Fancy the Elephant. Finally, in October of 2011 Avondale opened its doors for Birmingham.
Miss Fancy’s legacy is honestly WILD! As your read this, you’re probably going to think, “no way” but I’m here to say, “YES WAY!” From 1913-1934 Miss Fancy would often be seen roaming the streets of Avondale and neighboring cities. Peeking into homes, eating flower beds, and watching children play on the playground. She was like your friendly neighborhood elephant. During the Great Depression, Miss Fancy’s home-The Avondale Park Zoo became a financial burden for the city and had to be shut down. With nowhere for Miss Fancy to go, she was sold the Cole Brothers Circus for $500.
Avondale and Birmingham never forgot about Miss Fancy as she has become a legacy in the area and the mascot for local businesses including Avondale Brewing Company.
Avondale is one of my favorite breweries in Birmingham, mainly for their sour room but I’ll get to that. It is close by, it has outdoor and indoor seating options, it is dog friendly, and often has some pretty neat bands come to play! The main indoor area has had a major facelift over the past couple of years. Back in 2018 when I was doing market research for my Marketing class, the interior was a bit dark with wood accents everywhere. It was not very inviting and did not match the quality or style of the rest of their branding which I interpret as modern, spunky, and friendly. This was about the time that Good People Brewing, another local craft brewery, purchased Avondale Brewing and several of its associated businesses such as their sour room.
Although Good People technically bought Avondale, they kept the Avondale Brewing name since it was such a staple in the community. What they did do for Avondale was provide the funding to do much-needed updates and renovations to bring the space into the 21st century. In 2019, the Avondale Brewing Sour Room closed for renovation and did not reopen until 2021 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Today, the atmosphere of Avondale is much more modern and friendly. The dark, cramped main bar inside is much more open and bright with plenty of room for mingling with friends or even events. The open area in the back that hosts the stage for performers and a projector for football games is a great spot to be especially if you are concerned about being inside. I often bring my puppy here to enjoy a nice cold beer and some sunshine. The only downside to the outdoor area is there is little shading, so if you’re out on a hot, sunny day, beware!!
It is in this open “backyard” area that you can find open access to the new and approved Sour Room! Personally, their Sour Room is the star of the show. I love sour beers and no one does them quite like Avondale Brewing does. The inside of the Sour Room is bright and airy with bench-like tables in the center and 4-person tables on either sidewall. The bar is in the back and usually holds at least 6 different sour pours. Of course, they give small samples to try before you buy which I love! Even the Sour Room is dog friendly and is air-conditioned so if you can’t find some shade in the grassy area, you can retreat in the Sour Room to cool off.
Additionally, Avondale often has 2 food truck options on-site since they don’t cook their own food insides making it easy to stay on-premise and keep enjoying the beer while having a quick bite.
Avondale has the sourest, most interesting sours in the local Birmingham market. My favorite is their Sour Pash, a fruity sour beer that packs a punch. Luckily, Avondale brews this year-round and can be found in our local grocery stores! The sour brews in the Sour Room change often as they try new flavors. Every time I visit, I try a new sour that I love, you really can’t go wrong. Although I’m not a huge fan of other types of beer, their Train Hopper, a pale ale, is pretty good too!
As I mentioned earlier, their main logo features an elephant, Miss Fancy, which is perfect for this area. You can see she is holding a beer in her truck which is a great nod to her story and a link back to the brewery. The “seal” surrounding Miss Fancy has some texture which I think is appropriate for Avondale because it translates as having history. I absolutely adore the touch of the hops between the A and the B, reminds me a lot of the Ginger & Hops project I did a while back. The typography is strong but down to earth, just like the Avondale story and their brews! Their color pallet features a very distinct green which is a nod back to the color of the hops used to make beer. Green is often associated with refreshment which works perfectly for a brewery.
Semi-recently, I noticed a new logo or maybe an alternate logo for Avondale surfacing. This one features different typography and a distinct capital A for Avondale. You’ll see the green is slightly darker as well. This logo translates as more modern to me. Could be the recent trend of 2020-2021 to update branding post-COVID-19. I do like the new “A” as it feels almost tribal to me, possibly referencing the area’s past with Native Americas. It gives a more upscale feel without being too trendy. The san serif typography choice for “Avondale Brewing” here is a little more plain compared to the rough serif of the past logo but again, I think this is the trend right now. The capital “A” absolutely carries this logo here, without it, the logo would fall flat. The “A” also makes a great, recognizable submark.
I think Avondale is at the point where they should choose to either stay with their original logo or change to the new one. Their website still follows similar guides to the original, yet their social media features this new “A” causing a break in brand consistency. I feel as though the original is a bit stronger as it has more history behind it that resonates with the community but I see the potential of this new logo to grow with the company as it expands into other areas such as food.
I really enjoy Avondale’s website. Their navigation bar is front a center and easy to navigate. I can easily get around the site to exactly what I am looking for. The hops overly indicating which page you are on is creative and a nice touch that incorporates their branding in a unique way. Their typography choices here make sense and indicate hierarchy so my eyes know what to read first and intrigues me to read more. The best part is, I know exactly where to find the different brews they offer to read more about them, I don’t have to hunt for it. Imagery is professional, clear, and translates well on both desktop and mobile. It’s a great website that obviously had a lot of thought and strategy behind it!
I really enjoy Avondale’s merch, I always say one of the biggest signs that you’ve got great branding is when people want to buy your merch! My boyfriend owns the Miss Fancy hat and we recntly saw the Brunch Punch-inspired tote in person, both are very on-brand and cute! This particular illustration of Miss Fancy seems to be almost a logo of their apparel lines but then we do see that capital “A” again on the tote so we are losing some brand recognition here. Being in Alabama, the University of Alabama’s mascot is an elephant so I can see where this illustrion of Miss Fancy could be misinterpreted as a University of Alabama hat. Even their Shopify site (the e-commerce platform they are using) has a different branding, much more feminine. I’m assuming this is because they are thinking more women will be purchasing their appareal? If that was their intention, it’s working, as a woman, I’m attracted to the colors and they are really nice to look at especially together.
Avondale has plenty of options to rep their brewery from hats to koozies, check out their shop here.
Avondale’s can design is ON POINT! Interesting, unique, yet I know it is from Avondale. Each can has a little bit of its own branding but somehow they all fit perfectly together in a lineup. The illustrations are all simple, yet eye-catching. The typography is different for each yet related to one another. The font used to describe the type of beer seems to be consistent across the board and allowing the name of the beer to shine almost like a logo itself. My favorite can design has to be for the Brunch Punch, the colors just say “summertime” and “good times” to me, plus it is very delicious, perfect for brunch if you aren’t into mimosas. I just love how each can have its own personality and the merch possibilities with these are endless, super well done!
All together I enjoy Avondale Brewing Co’s branding and I believe that their branding adds to the overall experience. From the single-use beer cups to the interior design, you can see where their updated brand guidelines are at play. Their beer can design makes me want to try new beers and their social media makes me want to take my pup and grab a fresh cold one. If you’re ever in Birmingham and want to grab one with me, I wouldn’t say no!
***Corky Creative does not own nor claim to own any images or designs for Avondale Brewing Company. All images in this post are for demonstration and conversation purposes only.***