production facility and reinvent himself once again with a clear
focus on design and marketing.
“I kept my best clients and started Kaiser Design in 2009,” he
said. “Since I rebooted myself, I have focused strictly on services.
Being self-employed since graduation, I’ve learned what’s best
for me, trial by fire. It’s made me very comfortable with what I’m
doing now because I’ve tried a lot of different models and found
the best one for me.”
That ideal formula involves working with his clients from
concept to completion, focusing on small- to medium-sized
businesses in the culinary and craft beverage markets.
Kaiser Design helps its customers identify, develop and
solidify their unique brand. Next, the company’s seven-member
staff assists with the creation of all marketing collateral, brand
development, websites, email campaigns, labels, boxes and
cartons, signage, trade show systems and booths, displays and
even interior design.
Some of Kaiser’s long-term clients include Reif Estate
Winery, Stratus Vineyards and Big Head Wines. As a designer, he
is comfortable in the corporate sphere, but prefers exercising his
creativity with emerging brands.
“I am definitely about helping the new companies get going,”
said Max. “One of the clients I had the most fun with is Alvento
Wines. Alvento means ‘in the wind’ in Italian. I had done work
for them in the past; it’s had different ownerships. I got a call a
couple of years ago from the new owner, who at the time was
new to the wine industry. We worked together, building a plan
and we came up with everything – even the interior design. We
built the brand up.”
PHARMA | BIOTECH | FOOD & BEVERAGE
Laporte is the largest Canadian firm
specialized in biotechnological,
pharmaceutical and food and beverage
engineering. Our design services
include process, mechanical,
electrical, automation, packaging
and regulatory compliance.
Laporte Engineering Inc. operates
in Central and Western Canada with
offices in Vancouver, Edmonton,
Calgary, Winnipeg and Toronto.
Passion and purpose
Beyond wineries, Kaiser Design is expanding to breweries and
cideries. It’s also working to gain a foothold in other geographic
regions, including the U.S., B.C.’s Okanagan Valley, and Ontario’s
emerging wine regions.
The company begins by researching each new client,
investigating and documenting their taste and style. Kaiser
Design searches for that one “thread of truth,” the thing that
will best describe the passion that goes into making that wine,
brewing that beer or cooking that particular culinary masterpiece.
“Then, I try to connect that passion to the consumer,” Max
said. “How will a consumer absorb that information easily and
without instruction? That creates the foundation for the brand.
We distill it down to what feels right, for them to be proud of that
brand and have it resonate with the consumer.”
Max’s own passion has always been promoting the
“I built my entire business on reputation and I’ve gotten
connected through word of mouth. I’ve always stayed close to the
wine industry here; my goal was to work in Niagara. I decided to
stay in this area and raise a family.”
Max teaches graphic design and image editing, as well as
new media and small business classes, at Niagara College, hiring
its students whenever possible. He aims to provide a quality
local alternative to some of the big city design studios, offering
personalized and adaptable service.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Kaiser Design has helped
its clients focus on e-commerce capabilities.
“We’ve really given our customers tools, developed more
direct-to-home options,” he said. “Shipping is always a deal
breaker because bottles are heavy, they need to be double-packed,
etc. Part of my goals is to develop the packaging a bit better. It’s
a big challenge, but I made the decision to exit print and focus
more on services. We need to figure out how to adapt, to help our
clients keep moving.”
For 2021, Max is aiming to solidify his reputation as
the design agency of choice for the hospitality, food and
“I’ve built everything on word of mouth,” he said. “So now, I’m
looking to reach out to those who don’t know me. I’m doing this
for a handful of small- to medium-sized businesses and I want to
do it for more of them. I want to help people get past just design
and help them execute on building their brand.”
The lessons learned during three decades of self-employment
have come in handy at KaiserHaus, a Port Dalhousie, Ont., bistro
operated by Max and his wife, Mary Colleen. The pair will soon
open a wine bar featuring unique wines from Kaiser Design
clients and other craft beverages.
“It will be VQA-centric, bringing in breweries and cideries,
too,” he said.
“I do love this area. I believe in Niagara and I want to
continue to support it. My goal is to have it recognized not just
for wine. My passion is to connect food, wine and hospitality with
design style and creativity.”
Lisa Gordon is a freelance writer who produces informative and
engaging articles for trade and association magazines in a variety
of industries. Contact her at www.mustangmediaservices.ca.
30 § POURED CANADA § www.poured.ca