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Marston’s £1m beer modernisation to attract younger drinkers

By Nicholas Robinson+

01-Nov-2016
Last updated on 01-Nov-2016 at 11:09 GMT2016-11-01T11:09:42Z

Marston's new designs: the rebrand is expected to attract younger drinkers
Marston's new designs: the rebrand is expected to attract younger drinkers

Marston’s has overhauled some of its key beer brands, including Pedigree, as part of a £1m programme to bring its image in line with the modern beer market and to attract younger drinkers.

It will be the first time the Burton-on-Trent-based brewer and pub operator has pumped such a significant amount into branding, an investment that will take 12 months to rollout across its portfolio.

Brands included in the redesign, which will go live across the UK from today (1 November), are Pedigree, 61 Deep, Old Empire, EPA and Oyster Stout, which has been renamed Pearl Jet.

Marketing manager Lee Williams

Marston's rebrand will cover cans and fonts

The rebrand was long overdue, according to marketing manager Lee Williams, who told The Morning Advertiser (MA) that although drinkers said the liquid and the branding were “perfectly fine”, things needed to move on.

He said: “In this day and age in terms of what’s happening in the market, it’s not good enough [the branding]. We need to capture the consumer.”

Marston’s beer packaging now has designs that complement one another, a move popular with smaller craft breweries.

The brewer’s packaging and design had recently “lost its mojo”, added Williams who said: “In terms of how fast-moving the market is, [with the rebrand] there’s an update for current drinkers and new and younger ones.”

In terms of the rebrand’s timing, the marketing boss continued: “I think, if we are being bitterly honest, then we’re last to the party, we certainly could have done this a lot sooner.”

People are consuming beer in a different way and the company needed to respond to those changes, managing director Richard Westwood told MA. 

‘Behaving in a different way’

Marston's previous designs are a thing of the past

Along with a demand for interesting liquids, drinkers wanted to know the story behind their drinks. “The consumer is behaving in a very different way to the way they did even five or six years ago.

“The days when we could bang out barrels of new liquid at 3.4% [ABV] have gone. Brewers can be as creative as possible, if you go back 10 years ago it was the same hops and malt used [by everyone].”

However, tastes were driven by consumers now, he added. “In the past no one asked the consumer what they wanted [from their beer].

“I remember making beers years ago and we wouldn't take those out to consumers [to taste], it was a panel of tasters that would decide [if they were good].”

In September, the heavyweight also revealed the launch of its new £10m  Wolverhampton headquarters.

Meanwhile, read about Marston’s plans for expansion, partnerships with other breweries and the future of its microbrewery in an MA exclusive later.

New look, the details:

Marston’s is putting the story of its brewing heritage at the front of its rebrand, highlighting its gypsum-rich water and history.

  • 61 Deep is a 3.8% ABV newly created fruity pale ale
  • Pedigree, the 4.5% ABV classic was formerly named Burton pale ale before being renamed in 1952 after a staff competition. This competition winner is displayed on the new bottle.
  • Old Empire, 5.7% ABV, and EPA, 3.6% ABV, have also been refreshed with the new brand identity
  • Oyster Stout, 4.5% ABV, has been renamed Pearl Jet, which draws on its style and colour
  • Burton Bitter, a 3.8% ABV bitter, has been renamed Saddle Tank, in honour of saddle tank No. 3581 that used to bring hops and malts into the brewery and take the beer casks out.

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