Craft beer brand goes to Town with new packs

EDINBURGH craft brewery Cold Town Beer has revealed that revamping its cans was the natural next step after getting its beer to a point where it ‘couldn’t get any better’.

The business has experienced rapid growth since being founded in 2018. The brewery has secured listings in Aldi and Asda (with more national mults in the pipeline), seen sales increase by 300%, and helped to raise thousands of pounds for the late Scottish rugby legend Doddie Weir’s My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, which funds research into Motor Neurone Disease, via its popular Doddie Beir.

Despite the success, Cold Town Beer was not interested in standing still. The firm turned to branding consultancy Because Brands Matter, which conducted consultations with customers to understand what they wanted.

“That consisted of focus groups and generally the feedback was ‘cool brand, but feels a bit dated’ and the big thing was the lack of storytelling on our cans,” Irma Jansen, business and sales development executive at Cold Town Beer, told Packaging Scotland. “I think nowadays people want to know what they are drinking and why they are drinking it.”

Cold Town Beer has grown from humble beginnings after starting out as a microbrewery inside an old, empty church in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket. The business made a name for itself after being offered to local bars. The name Cold Town Beer is a play on words paying homage to the capital’s Calton Hill, home to the first brewery in Britain to create lager back in 1835. The area was nicknamed CauldToon, due to being in the shadow of Arthur’s Seat.

“We really celebrate the Scottish history of brewing in Edinburgh, and we really wanted to get that across,” Irma added. “People knew us from our tap brew in Edinburgh, but they didn’t know so much about why we’re Cold Town Beer and what we do.”

The previous branding only featured the name Cold Town Beer alongside its logo and the tagline Scotland born and brewed. The new packaging has gone for a ‘fresh’ and ‘contemporary’ visual, with a blurb on the back of the cans detailing both the beverage inside and the brewery’s story.

Different variations of beers have also been split into three easily identifiable sections – Lab Range (experimental brews), Core Range, and Co-Lab Range (collaborations with other brewers), after the focus groups flagged that the old branding was seeing the inventive flavours become lost.

“The big thing for us was bridging the gap for those wanting to dip their toes into craft beer,” Irma said, before telling how ‘quirky’ drinks are becoming increasingly popular among younger adults who aren’t drinking as much as previous generations.

“Having the structure of Co-Lab, Lab, and Core allows people to see the can a bit more specifically. If they want a gateway to craft beer they’ve got the Core range, or if they want something more quirky they’ve got the Lab range.”

QR codes feature on the new cans, which take consumers directly to the beer review platform, Untapped. The addition complements Cold Town’s new Brewed by us, chosen by you tagline.

“In the last five years our sales have increased by about 300%,” Irma concluded, adding that independent free trade in Scotland remains the firm’s biggest market and ‘such a rewarding space’ in which to operate.

“The big thing is getting the brand out there, but more so the new brand. The real thing is to make people aware about the new brand and shout we’re here!”