Samuel Adams Tap Handle for Boston Beer

A distinctive tap handle ups brand presence and performance

Bar tap handles are good for only one thing—pouring draft beer—right? Wrong. Their true purpose is to entice the customer in the bar to imbibe a particular brand of beer. Samuel Adams’ handle has been an icon of quality, authenticity, and reliably since the mid 1980s, but last year the company decided its tap needed a more contemporary design. IDEO help them create a definitive handle that would move their brand image into the future.

The new Samuel Adams draft handle is a head above the rest, sticking out over similar units so that people can see it from the far corners of the bar. A blue glass panel allows for a large branding area, thereby stimulating brand recognition. The glow of the glass and shine of the handle surface further capture customers’ attention and convey a sense of class and luxury. A user-friendly, ergonomic shape invites the bartender’s hands and recalls traditional tap handle forms, yet the look and feel express a new and younger brand. The entire presentation speaks to a more youthful, outgoing, and diverse clientele while subtly reinforcing Sam Adams’ image of tradition and elegance.

More than 40,000 handles were installed in a massive changeover that began in April 2003 and continued through June 2004. Since then, the company has reversed a long-time negative monthly draft trend with a two percent increase in draft sales over its first six months.

Project date: 2004