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Marston's to become less 'beige'

Marston's beers has received a makeover, departing from its traditional proposition. Aiming to modernise and attract a new generation of drinkers, the makeover includes new images.

Midlands-based brewer and retailer, Marston’s is investing over £1million over the next 12 months on a new assertive position that celebrates Burton as the spiritual home of brewing, with a particular focus on a new and younger drinker who they have dubbed the ‘trailblazers’.

The range, that includes the iconic Marston’s Pedigree and the newly created 61 Deep, will boast new branding and packaging designed by Butcher and Gundersen and younger tone of voice to convey a compelling and more authentic meaning behind each of the brand’s stories.

Central to the new images is a three barrel motif, depicting Marston's Burton provinence, a Burton Union Cask and the year they begun and finally its new DE14 post-code.

A consumer campaign created by Big Al’s Creative Emporium, ‘From Burton With Love’ depicts the brand’s proud Burton-on-Trent roots and brewing back-story. Shot by ‘Skins’ photographer Gavin Watson the campaign uses Marston’s younger employees and local people scouted from the streets in everyday situations and locations.

In addition to the new beer range, the Burton-on-Trent brewery will develop its NPD pipeline in ‘DE14’, a new 600-pint innovation brewery whose name is inspired by the brewery’s postcode.

Lee Williams, marketing manager for Marston’s Brewery says: “The harsh reality is that as a brewer, we had become too ‘beige’. We were in danger of death by incremental change and almost weighed down by our heritage. As a result we were not resonating with the next generation of drinkers who are attracted to the authenticity and simplicity of the new beer scene.

“In partnership with our creative teams we decided to rip up the regional brewer rule book and give Marston’s and Burton its mojo back.”

"Overall the objective was to focus on Marston's as a brewer of many great beers not just Pedigree. We wanted to create a new look and feel that came out of back-story that also had a positive and confident design that chimed with today's flourishing beer market. It also gives a platform to introduce new beers from next year onwards."

Speaking about Marston's individual beers, Williams says: "The change is inspired from the last time Pedigree underwent changes, following a staff competition. George Peard (he's on the clip), who was head brewer at the time, oversaw that and set the platform for the beer's success for years to come."

"61 Deep, our gypsum-rich water is the Burton beer town story really, so we had to celebrate it and this name refers to the depth of our fresh water well at the brewery. We challenge anyone to disprove the diver. Pearl Jet is an oyster-stout, not because it's made with them; although that is the most common question we get, believe it or not, but because it goes so well with shellfish and this name came straight out the oyster style and jet black colour."

"For Saddle Tank, these railway engines were the brewery workhorses for many years, brining the hops and malts in and taking the barrels of beer out for the pubs. You can still see the railway tracks in the brewery yard if you come on the tour. EPA and Old Empire remain unchanged."

The new positioning goes live across all consumer touchpoints from November with a print, online and social media campaign kicking off in Spring 2017.

Marston's define trailblazers as: '21 – 35 year olds who are confident, social, open-minded and urban. They are comfortable off the beaten track and want to explore or experience on their own terms and not constrained by what’s expected.'

The Marston’s beer range:

·       Pedigree 4.5% abv Amber Ale

·       61 Deep 3.8% abv Pale Ale

·       Old Empire 5.7% abv India Pale Ale

·       Pearl Jet 4.1% Oyster Stout

·       EPA 3.6% abv English Pale Ale

·       Saddle Tank 3.8% abv Amber Ale

7 November 2016 - Sam Coyne The Drinks Report, editorial assistant