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  • Words by Margarita Buenaventura

06/10/15 CASE STUDY: The Ilustrado in Katipunan Craft Ales

With Independence Day coming up, it bears remembering that all revolutionary ideas require the perfect branding. For the rebels who fought against Spanish rule in the 1800′s, it was a blood-red K in alibata—a mark that endures to this day.

NOUS’s Case Study explores craft beer label Katipunan Craft Ales’s branding, which gives rise to a different kind of revolt. Co-owner Brett Lim, who started the brand with high school friends Miguel Buling, Raffy Taruc, and Kiyo Miura, talked about how Katipunan Avenue was where they learned how to drink and make their own beer. Lim goes on to tell NOUS how the brand’s historically-rooted logo is just as appealing in contemporary times: “We chose to have the image of the ilustrado as the personification of the brand because we felt like we were going to fight our revolution on the same level. We were not going to beat San Miguel with brute force. The battle would be won through education. We needed to help Filipinos understand why our beer was superior. Overall, we wanted the brand to be premium but approachable. We wanted to show the world that we were proudly Filipino.


“When we first started, we tried to play with the ilustrado. We called him the K-Man. We wanted to have his costume or surroundings to work with the theme we were pushing on our new variants. For example, our Christmas brew had the K-Man with a parol. For our Signal No.1 Stout, we had the K-man with an umbrella. It was a nice, playful way to differentiate variants while keeping the strong red K we had across lines. We are not a brand that has to stick the same tired brand rule. We will have our own character shine through when we can.”