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Case Study

Adding a new face

To Albertan beer

The Challenge

After nearly 25 years, Canada’s largest and oldest independent craft brewery wasn’t as interesting to beer drinkers as it had been. Once famous for being a source of innovative brews, Big Rock’s explosive growth in the industry resulted in business decisions aimed more at being the biggest—not the boldest or best. In short, it was no longer as remarkable as it once was. As a result, many drinkers were falling out of love with the brand, and being drawn to the hundreds of new choices from newer competitors—all claiming to offer more daring and exciting craft beers. Big Rock’s Board brought in a new CEO and, under his leadership, Cult was engaged to assist in restoring Big Rock’s mojo and reigniting passion for their brand.

The Solution

Our Diagnostic and Prescription process revealed that no other Canadian brewery could claim the same legacy of innovation and audacity as Big Rock—those were the very principles upon which the brand was founded. Their willingness to do things that other beer brands didn’t have courage to try, is what once made them remarkable. We reminded them of this, and in doing so engineered and implemented a brand framework under the platform of “Deliberately Different Beer” to help reposition Big Rock as Canada’s most innovative—and courageous—craft brewer. A wide variety of deliverables were developed, including: a new brand manifesto video; reimagined product lines, involving two dozen new brews; revitalized packaging design; a social media strategy to drive engagement; a refresh of their annual “Eddies” award show, and a new online destination to enhance storytelling and build community. Perhaps most importantly, we helped launch Big Rock Urban – a new brewery/restaurant concept that exploited Big Rock’s sense of local, as they entered new markets, like Vancouver and Toronto. Throughout our engagement we’ve helped them reduce the amount of product sold at discount, eliminated brand-eroding retail swag, and re-directed their focus on making beer worth talking about.

The Result

In the first year of our engagement, Big Rock discontinued a half dozen mediocre beers and replaced them with 20 new exciting, remarkable brews. Over the next few years, they’ve succeeded at winning over the hearts and minds of discerning beer bloggers and other key influencers, while nearly doubling their social following. Most importantly, they have returned to the path of profitability, remaining the biggest—and once again being able to honestly claim the title of best.

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