RSS Feeds

Advanced search

You are in:


Okell’s updates its image for wider appeal

One of Britain’s oldest independent breweries has undergone a rebranding as part of a major expansion, which includes plans to modernise its image and widen its appeal to a bigger audience.

Okell’s, the country’s first steam brewery established in 1850, commissioned Glasgow-based Good to overhaul its image following the design agency’s hugely successful rebranding of Argyll-based Fyne Ales.

The new brand identity, part of a £130,000 campaign, incorporates the three-legged symbol of its Isle of Man base and other elements of its Celtic heritage in a clean, contemporary design.

The brewery expects to increase export sales by 400% in the next year, which would double its profits. Okell’s will be sold in 2,000 outlets with plans to add 25% more sales year-on-year over the next three years.

The new brand identity will be applied to Okell’s’ traditional ales, including the core range of Okell’s Bitter, Olaf (dark beer), Jiarg (red beer) and IPA, as well as its special and seasonal ales and across its range of merchandise. The company has ceased production of its mild beer because of falling demand.

The brewery, owned by Heron and Brearley which recently purchased 15 pubs in the Market Town Tavern chain to complement its existing group of outlets, commissioned Good to produce a design that articulated the brand’s key values.

The agency applies the same, reductive method to all of its campaigns, creating a short, single message to define the brand that is then applied across a range of touch points, including packaging, digital, advertising, sales tools, experiential and public relations.

The company’s managing director Steve Pickett said: “We looked at the history and heritage of the brand and people’s perception of it and we thought, perhaps, it should be a bit more modern and extrovert. We also wanted to make sure there was the Manx message in there too.”

Keith Forbes creative director of Good, said: “Okell’s is a small brewery with big ambitions. They approached us after reading rebrand of Fyne Ales and asked for something similar.

“With a history stretching back 162 years, a beautiful island location and a unique purity brewing law, we had an embarrassment of riches with which to define their values and position their beers to appeal to a wider audience.  

“We're articulated this positioning graphically using a combination of island photography and contemporary illustration to create a look and feel that reaches right across the range.”

Founded 162 years ago by Dr William Okell, a surgeon from Cheshire, who adopted a scientific approach to the process of brewing, it was the first brewery in Britain to use steam to boil the brewery coppers instead of coal, thereby avoiding the charring and caramelisation of the sugars that often led to a burnt flavour in many final beers.

All of its beers are brewed in accordance with the Isle of Man’s Brewing Purity Laws which, similar to the Bavarian beer laws, forbid the use of any additives as a substitute for the natural brewing ingredients of malt, sugar and hops.

15 March 2013 - Felicity Murray