Vandergrift brewery Allusion wins national awards for clever beer-themed marketing

Vandergrift’s only in-house brewery snagged two national awards this week for their marketing efforts in the beer industry.

Allusion Brewing Co. won “Best Tap Handle” and “Best Flight Display” at the Craft Beer Marketing Awards, held in Minneapolis on May 4.

More than 600 judges voted, with Allusion earning the highest award, platinum, in their categories.

Allusion co-owners Robert Buchanan and John Bieranoski attended the Craft Beer Conference.

“It was fantastic to receive recognition for the hard work that all of us have done at the brewery,” said head brewmaster Bieranoski.

The Craft Beer Marketing Awards recognize beer industry professionals with “Crushies.” It’s a beer-themed trophy with a majorly tattooed arm crushing a beer can to represent how winning breweries are “crushing it.”

Entries are divided into five regions: U.S., U.K., Europe, Asia and Pacific, including Australia, New Zealand and Africa.

Hankscraft AJS and Creation Lab worked with Allusion to design the branding, which is influenced by the business’s Art Deco-style building.

“It’s a mix of Prohibition, speakeasy and library, because of the use of allusions,” Buchanan said. “ ‘Allusion’ is a literary tool. All of our beer names are allusions to literature, pop culture, theater and more.”

For Buchanan, the win is especially meaningful after enduring the pandemic.

“After a very difficult couple of covid- related years, it’s overwhelming to feel something purely positive,” Buchanan said.

With more than 9,000 craft breweries in the U.S., Buchanan said branding is a crucial element for the brewery.

“Making a quality product and branding is beyond critical for our business,” Buchanan said. “When we hit a saturation level, only the breweries with a known brand of quality beer will continue to grow.”

The friends opened their first brewery, at 143 Grant Ave. in downtown Vandergrift, during the pandemic.

Expansion plans are underway after the men bought the building next door to Allusion, with completion of the project set for next year.

Joyce Hanz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joyce at 724-226-7725 , or via Twitter .

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