February 2, 2015

New Belgium Grows at Double-Digit Pace

At Hatch we work to find the truth about a brand and bring that to life in ways that deliver emotional relevancy and results. In the case of New Belgium, one of the happiest group of employees we’ve had the pleasure to work with, we’re excited to share just how meaningful those results have been.

New Belgium is obsessive about their craft, producing complex year-round, seasonal and specialty varieties of beer. They’re the country’s fourth largest craft brewer and are 100% employee-owned. We were like kids in a candy store when New Belgium asked us to take a new look at their brand and portfolio and evolve what was a house of brands that had little cohesion and redesign it as a branded house.

Everyone knew and loved their flagship beer, Fat Tire, but they weren’t trying the beer maker’s other varieties—most consumers didn’t know that New Belgium made other beers. Hatch dug in, first to understand their company culture. We toured the brewery, hung out with employees, sampled beer, interviewed various folks across the organization, sampled more beer and got to know Fort Collins. We studied their heritage, their fans, the category and took cues from what was happening in popular culture.

We created a portfolio-wide redesign to deliver a consistent visual experience with a growing, admirable audience. In the first year since the new design launched, New Belgium had entered 6 new states; sales for Fat Tire were up 30%; and variety packs and seasonal beers were up 75% and 38% respectively.

“Making a change is gut wrenching when you first approach it,” said media relations director Bryan Simpson. “Just like you need to innovate with your beer, you need to innovate with your brand and your look.”

New Belgium believes the refreshed packaging has contributed to a “conservative” 5 percent bump in sales, said Simpson.

“You only get to pull that rabbit out of the hat once,” he said. “When you activate new packaging and work with your distributor partners to roll it out, they get excited and go to work on case displays.”

Want more? Read the New Belgium case study.