The Lowdown on the Badger

A simple rationale for the badger in Hamel Family Wines’ (HFW) logo would be that the Hamels have three generations of alums from the University of Wisconsin. It would also be an oversimplification. Another explanation might be destiny…

While trying to envision the ideal image to brand the family business, the Hamels encountered the same problem many businesses do in trying to find something distinctive. They had several different opinions, found many good ideas taken, had their share of brain-freeze, etc. During this time, while badger signs began to reveal themselves, no one saw them as such.

For example, while in San Francisco on Valentine’s Day in 2010 with son John, Pam happened upon a rock store and went in. Oddly, in addition to rocks, it also sold taxidermy. Pam noticed a familiar animal posed regally on a shelf. Confirming it was for sale, she purchased the badger to surprise George, Jr. Once home, she placed it in the master bathroom closing the door, figuring he was bound to discover it that evening. The surprise almost backfired when Pam heard a scream as George discovered it.

Ultimately, that badger became the muse that inspired the image that today adorns the HFW brand. But that is still jumping ahead in the story, as it had yet to dawn on the Hamels that a badger might make an ideal image.

The family continued to experience dead ends trying to agree. Even so, what might be considered omens/signs continued to randomly appear. One day, George, Jr. noticed this article in the San Francisco Chronicle with an interesting subject matter. He found it a tad ironic that badgers are native in Sonoma County, yet not so in Wisconsin where his affinity for badgers first began.

Then, a YouTube sensation of a day in the life of a honey badger became all the rage. Still, even with the strange coincidence of the clip’s narrator being named Randall (the UW Badgers play football at Camp Randall), the family had not yet realized its ultimate brand destiny.

George, Jr.’s affinity for newspapers yielded yet another random badger sign. While in Telluride, Colorado for a wine festival, he noted this story in the local paper about badgers being relocated to the Telluride valley floor.

In addition, Pam added to the family’s growing collection of stuffed badgers with two more, including one in an “action” pose.

By this point, it probably seems obvious how this story ends. But it had still yet to dawn on the family. Finally, after months of disagreement and with deadlines looming, John noted that the one thing the family seems to share is an affinity for badgers. He suggested that the noble badger become the image to adorn our brand. The Hamels finally coalesced and embraced their badger destiny.