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Marston's: a curious rebranding

Added: Wednesday, November 2nd 2016

Marstons rejig

National brewer Marston’s is spending £1 million on a re-branding campaign for some of its leading beers – and has launched a new pale ale called 61 Deep at the same time. The aim, the brewery says, is to reach out to new and younger drinkers.

Based in Burton-on-Trent, Marston’s also owns Banks’s, Brakspear, Jennings, Ringwood and Wychwood and last year bought the beer brands from Thwaites of Blackburn.

The beers being re-branded are Burton Bitter, Pedigree, Old Empire and Oyster Stout. Pedigree, the famous Burton pale ale brewed in the celebrated “Union Room” fermenters, will now be sold in bottle-conditioned form.

While Old Empire IPA will retain its name, Burton Bitter will be renamed Saddle Tank while Oyster Stout will be known as Pearl Jet.

Marston’s marketing manager Lee Williams says: “In this day and age, in terms of what is happening in the market, our branding has not been good enough. We need to recapture the consumer.”

He adds that Marston’s designs “had lost their mojo. The market is fast-moving and we’ve updated the brands for current drinkers and new and younger ones.”

Managing director Richard Westwood adds: “The consumer is acting in a different way to five or six years ago. The days when we could bang out barrels of a new liquid at 3.4% have gone.

“Tastes are driven by consumers now. In the past no one asked the consumer – taste panels would decide.”

61 Deep is a new 3.8% fruity pale ale. Saddle Tank takes its name from a steam loco that once brought malt and hops to the brewery.

The exercise is curious. If Marston’s wants to reach out to new, younger consumers, does the name Saddle Tank have great appeal? Pearl Jet sounds more like an earring than a beer and what does 61 Deep mean?

It is distressing that Pedigree is now called amber ale. It is the iconic Burton pale ale, brewed with pale malt and brewing sugar only and no darker malts to give it an amber colour. And if the brewery wants to give Pedigree appeal to younger drinkers, it seems odd that the image on the label looks remarkably similar to cricket legend Fred Trueman who was at his peak in the 1950s and 60s and died in 2007.

Marstons rejig 2