In honour of its 150th anniversary, Adnams has redesigned its core range of kegs, casks, bottles, and cans in collaboration with CookChick and artist Vanessa Sorboen, with two new brews included in the new lineup.

Applying to both off- and on-trade establishments, the redesign comes in response to Adnams’s sesquicentennial anniversary in 2022. A unique painting will be displayed on Adnams’ Ghost Ship 0.5% and 4.5% Pale Ales, Mosaic Pale Ale, Dry Hopped Lager, Southwold Bitter, and Broadside products, inspired by coastal shorelines in the brand’s home county of Suffolk.

The new portfolio hopes to appeal to consumers in retail and hospitality settings, convey the brand’s ‘familiarity and quality’, and position Adnams as a premium player in its category. Vanessa Sorboen’s paintings aim to utilize storytelling and bring a ‘crafted quality’ to the brand.

“There are two main aims of the redesign,” explained Fergus Fitzgerald, head of Production at Adnams. “Firstly, it allows us to bring all our beers back under one unified look. Beers like Mosaic and Dry Hopped have been two of our core beers for a while and whilst having a different look made sense in the early days, bringing them together again reflects the fact that our brewers use the same great-quality ingredients and the same skill and dedication when brewing a beer, regardless of whether the recipe comes from 1872 or from 2024.

“Secondly, the new branding really brings out that sense of place and connection to where these beers are made. The paintings tell the stories and showcase the beauty of the landscapes that inspired those beers. I hope that this reminds existing Adnams drinkers why they first fell in love with that beer, and that those who don’t know us so well see something in the waters to inspire that first sip.”

“If you looked at our beers on the shelf, it was starting to feel like a timeline of Adnams’ design,” commented Adnams’ head of Brand and Creative Jess Turner. “There was the need for some stronger brand recognition to help customers shop across the range and explore other Adnams beers.

“The project aimed to unify our range and bring them closer together - so they felt part of a clear Adnams family. There is a real sense of customer ownership across our beers, so it was important that we recognised that and maintained their individuality. These are fabulous beers with strong stories and we’re really proud of them.”

Adnams also forefronts its previous investments in cask and claims to be one of the first breweries to feature moulded pump clips in pubs. As such, the redesign features new pump clips designs and seeks a ‘new and innovative offering’ for on-trade sale.

“Cask beer is our national drink and has a key role to play in all great pubs,” said Max Bond, sales director at Adnams. “Adnams’ new innovative pump clip designs will create excellent stand out in pubs and will attract new drinkers to take a fresh interest in the cask category and taste beer at its best.”

David Hucknell, senior designer at CookChick, continued: “CookChick has been working with Adnams for 18 years, applying a bold and innovative approach to the beer category. Over the last year we have been given the opportunity to refresh and unify the core beer portfolio as a holistic range, providing greater stand out in the competitive beer marketplace.

“With the Suffolk coast still serving as the centre point and heart of the brand, we have widened the lens to encompass a 360-degree view of the area, giving us a broader palette to draw from and setting Adnams apart from other breweries championing their coastal roots. Working with Vanessa has allowed us to capture the very intrinsic qualities of Adnams’ hometown – Southwold – and the surrounding Suffolk and Norfolk area, whilst enhancing the individual brand stories and beer characteristics. Welcome to bold new horizons from Adnams!”

“It was a fascinating experience working on the Adnams range,” Vanessa Sorboen concluded. “Jess and the team at CookChick were fantastic at guiding me through what they wanted me to paint and where the features needed to be placed, to work alongside all the other elements that would appear on the final product.

“It all had to fall in a specific area. As someone who paints freely, to have to think of the components within the composition and consider perspective and how the scene wraps around the canvas, which in this case, is the beer can, bottle or pump clip – was an intriguing challenge.

“Their guidance was invaluable because they knew exactly what they wanted, and yet really wanted me to put my twist on it. With each beer brief there was something to get my head around. Every time we’d have a meeting where they’d show me the concept, I’d want to leave straight away so I could get stuck in. Every painting I’ve stepped back from I’ve felt proud of, and I truly enjoyed the process.”

New bottles of Broadside and Ghost Ship 4.5% Pale Ale will launch from the company website and all major supermarkets on 2nd April 2024; the rest of the range will roll out across the rest of the month and into early May.

The refresh will also involve the launch of two new drinks – a Double Dry-Hopped IPA, Big Skies; and Deep Seas, a Belgian-style Blonde. Both will be available in twelve-packs of 440ml cans from the Adnams website.

Cobra Beer made a similar move to revitalize its entire packaging range last year; the brand sought to connect its drinks to Pan-Asian cuisine and capture a growing consumer interest in spicy foods.

Carlsberg has also harnessed visual storytelling to celebrate the Lunar New Year, displaying the artwork of professional designer Ofen Hu on its limited-edition packaging; and Laphroaig has worked with Butterfly Cannon to develop a gift-giving campaign for its Scotch Whisky, including a new, boot-shaped pack.

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