Great NorthernThe beer for up here

Carlton & United Breweries (CUB), founded in the southern state of Victoria, Australia needed to create a new beer with a distinctly Queensland vibe that could deliver significant sales results in the parochial northern parts of Australia.

Challenge

Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) had lost market share from competitor brand XXXX Summer which has launched in NSW and was proving popular with a mixed-gender group of consumers who were moving away from mainstream heavier beer brands like VB and Tooheys New. Summer had positioned itself as low carb, full-strength crisp, and refreshing easy-drinking alternative to the mainstream brands. Supported by an extensive TVC and print campaign “Bring On Summer” the new brand was connecting with the colloquial Aussie spirit of long hot summer days and fun-filled nights perfect for mixed-gender social occasions. 

Solution

Fluid’s solution started by ideating around occasions that a mixed-gender audience might drink beer that fitted with the desired lifestyle occasions. Creating a range of creative territory platforms, including surfing, fishing, and camping before combining these with names that connected best with the occasion to bring the desired brand proposition to life. CUB has a large selection of brands acquired over the 100 plus years of operation so these were qualitatively tested to help discover the best fit. The driving consumer insight was that this new beer needed to be Queensland- centric, where the year-round warmer climate fitted perfectly with the product’s easy-drinking nature. For this reason, the old Cairns Brewery, Great Northern Brewing Co dating back to the 1920s was chosen.

Outcome

The Great Northern Brewing Co (GNBC) success can in part be attributed to not attempting to make it all things for all people. The brand was launched in Queensland in 2010, firstly on tap in pubs and clubs, then introduced as a full-strength can and stubby. Once the brand gained traction and met the expected sales targets a mid-strength was introduced to the GNBC family. The brand was cemented in Queensland, emotively supported by the ABL campaign ‘the Beer from Up Here’, created by George Patterson YNR. The northern credentials were undeniable and the beer expanded nationally in 2015, growing to 10% of the total beer volume sold in Queensland, and 23% nationally YTD 2018. Great Northern Brewing Co has experienced its fair share of accolades over the years. Super Crisp was named winner of the New Product of the Year Award at the 2015 Australian Liquor Industry Awards, and GNBC won Best Sales Achievement at the Australian Drinks Awards in 2017. In January 2018, sales of Great Northern were up 56% over the Christmas period 2017-18, with the brand being touted as a serious contender to Queensland’s most popular beer brand XXXX. GNBC’s distinctive Marlin brand has achieved phenomenal growth, with 10 million litres sold nationally YTD since the brand went national in 2015.

Fluid has been a tireless strategic partner on a great many high priority innovative lines of enquiry across virtually all categories in which CUB is active. I would also highly recommend Fluid for their eternally positive, optimistic, friendly, nothing is too difficult approach.