Hops Branding Honored by Ballpark Digest

The perfect marketing for a beer-crazy region, the logo and look for the Hillsboro Hops during the team's inaugural season was the best new branding in professional baseball in 2013

By Brian Berger, BBPR / Hillsboro Hops | September 17, 2013 1:01 PM ET

Hillsboro, OR (September 17, 2013) - If you were to pick an area that typifies America's love affair with craft beers, it would be the Pacific Northwest, home to hundreds of breweries and brew pubs. And, of course, we all know how baseball fans love their beer. So while it was a natural for the new Hillsboro team to adopt beer-related branding, the end result - the Hillsboro Hops - surpassed expectations and was an easy choice as the Best Branding/Logos of 2013 by Ballpark Digest, the leading guide to baseball and ballparks on the Internet.

"Professional baseball at all levels is notable for its branding efforts in recent years, but the Hillsboro Hops branding was one of the best efforts we've seen in years," said Kevin Reichard, publisher of Ballpark Digest. "The logos and branding played well both locally and nationally and should serve the team well for many, many years."

A hop is a prime ingredient in beer, one of the only three allowed under German purity laws. Hops are a major crop in the Pacific Northwest, particularly in the Willamette Valley, and shipped to brewers big and small across the country. And, of course, there's a baseball-related twist to hop, whether it be a bad hop or a one-hop catch. Add to these meanings an attractive logo and brand identity from Studio Simon, and you've got one of the best brand identities in all of baseball.

"When we decided on the name 'Hops' we were hoping it would be a name that our fans and the local community took pride in," said Hillsboro Hops VP and GM K.L. Wombacher. "To receive national recognition beyond the excellent local reception we've had to the brand is far more than we could have hoped for. We'd like to thank Ballpark Digest for this award and for the great coverage they provide to minor league baseball."

"The Hops enjoyed a successful debut in Hillsboro in 2013, and the branding was a huge part of it," Reichard added. "Hops merchandise should be one of the best-sellers in baseball for years to come."

Each year Ballpark Digest honors noteworthy accomplishments in the baseball world, whether it be Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball, independent baseball, summer-collegiate baseball or college baseball. Readers are asked to submit nominations for awards in specific categories; Ballpark Digest editors then go though the submissions (numbering some 300 pages of documentation last year). The awards cover both individual accomplishments as well as team accomplishments. This is the fifth season for the Ballpark Digest Awards. A complete listing of Ballpark Digest Awards can be found at www.ballparkdigest.com/awards.

The leading Website covering the culture and business of baseball since its inception in 2002, Ballpark Digest (www.ballparkdigest.com) has been called an "indispensable" guide to baseball and ballparks by The New York Times; it's been used as a source by publications and Websites ranging from The Wall Street Journal to Epicurious.com. August Publications is a publisher based in Middleton, Wis. Besides Ballpark Digest, August Publications websites include SpringTrainingOnline.com, ArenaDigest.com,YellowstoneInsider.com and NewWest.net.

The Hillsboro Hops are the Single-A baseball affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks of Major League Baseball. The team's season runs from mid-June to early September. The franchise relocated to Hillsboro in 2012 and began play in 2013 in a new state-of-the-art 4,500 capacity ballpark. The Hops are part of the 58-year old Northwest League, which includes teams in Boise, Eugene, Salem-Keizer, Tri-Cities, Spokane, Everett and Vancouver BC. Major League stars who rose to prominence via the Northwest League include Ken Griffey Jr., Felix Hernandez, Edgar Martinez, Reggie Jackson, Ozzie Smith, Rickey Henderson and Tony Gwynn. Follow the Hops on Facebook and Twitter.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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