National Cherry Blossom Festival 


"…an ultra-Instagrammable pink tallboy can.” - Washington Post


Every year, the National Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates the arrival of spring in Washington, D.C. and the blooming of the city’s flowering cherry trees, gifted to the the District by Tokyo as a symbol of harmony between the two nations. In working with the National Cherry Blossom Festival this year, Sage was tasked with ideating and producing something signature to further the brand of the Festival.

What consumer-facing product could amplify the mission of the Festival and impart knowledge on prospective festival-goers? Exploring a busting consumer channel, the National Cherry Blossom Festival and Sage tapped into the craft beer renaissance to develop a limited run, limited edition craft beer: FestivAle. FestivAle was positioned to not only elevate awareness and foster understanding among the Cherry Blossom Festival’s lively and sophisticated audience, but to also engage a new segment: the craft beer consumer. In partnership with Old Ox Brewery, FestivAle was born.

Developing a craft beer is no small process, and Sage was an integral part of the creation of FestivAle every step of the way. Sage attended beer tastings, modifying ingredients in real-time (hints of cherry and hibiscus, anyone?) before ideating and designing the bold label. Wanting to capture the true look of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which is “all things pink,” Sage worked to ensure that the can’s color would not alienate potential consumers despite the color’s traditional feminine connotations. Ultimately, Sage paired iconic symbolism from each country with strategically chosen copy detailing both the can design and the close relationship between the United States and Japan onto the can.

To bring it home, Sage worked hand-in-hand with label vendors and reviewed proofs before moving forward with distribution. Now, hundreds of area restaurants and retailers are selling FestivAle, championing its powerful and bold label design.

Just like the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees was a gateway to a lasting friendship between the United States and Japan, FestivAle serves to connect the National Cherry Blossom Festival with beer lovers across the district.

But it’s not all about the design success - the beer is damn good, too!