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Craft Tolstoy


Design: Unblvbl Branding Agency
Art-director, designer: Timur Saberov
Lettering: Vlada Ruzhitskaya
Project Managers: Alexander Karzaev, Anton Bulekov
Visualisation: Alex Avduevsky
Project Type: Produced, Commercial Work
Client: Lykovo Brewery
Location: Nizhny Novgorod, Russia
Packaging Contents: Craft Beer
Packaging Substrate / Materials: Glass bottle, paper
Printing Process: Foil stamping

Unblvbl branding Agency represented the project "Craft Tolstoy" — a collection of four sorts of beer produced by an experimental craft brewery in Lyskovo.

"Craft Tolstoy" is an exceptional case when valuable brand background hadn't to be created in artificial way. The Lyskovo factory was formed after the legendary factory of the merchant A.F. Yermolaev. It was constructed in the end of 19th century and modified by the successors at the beginning of XX. The red modern facade who once created the image of all Lyskovo city and still — one of Nizhny Novgorod Region calling cards. Unblvbl designers set on the label four-storeyed malt-house from factory ensemble because its silhouette is visible above the excise sticker. Actually, this building appeared thanks to the Grand Prix award that Lykovo beer obtained at the exhibition in London in 1903.

Usually the history of brewery is connected with the Yermolaev name. In fact the merchant came to purchase the factory from the countess Anna Georgiyevna Tolstaya (Gruzinskaya) who was the spouse of the count A.P.Tolstoy, the friend of Gogol and the famous philanthropist. Following the legend, she united local handicraft breweries into one enterprise. Her well-known surname, almost cultural meme, has also inspired branding.

As for design, we combined classics and modern, cultural traditions and a tendency. On the one hand there is Victorian typographics in the spirit of the first factory labels, ornaments and engraving. On the other there are a geometrical one color slab and a grotesque. For a brand logo we united juicy factory logo with the State emblem of the Tolstoy dynasty, having replaced beer mugs in claws of a cancer by an arrow and a key.

For the Lyskovo factory this line is special: it is not a beer of large-scale production(still good), but custom-made unique piece of work. The excise mark shows it — the designer's foolproof symbol of manual approach, borrowed from strong alcohol design.

The heraldic slogan of the brand — "Water, Malt, Hop, Cold" — was born literally in factory cellars. At an excursion in ancient buildings our team was told that for cooling of large beer volumes in old times they used huge cellars with a depth of up to 11 meters. "Water, malt, hop and cold — nothing else is necessary for beer" — the guide concluded. Since then our designers could not release this phrase








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