Alexander Keith’s is much more than a beer to us fellow Nova Scotians; it is symbolic of our local pride. I remember being a kid and seeing those old vintage cans in the back corner of the fridge – there’s a lot of nostalgia surrounding their brand identity. Over the coming decades, we’ve seen numerous renditions of the packaging – some more preferable to us than others, but all very much true to their origins.
If you walk up to any random Nova Scotia beer drinker and ask them to describe a Keith’s can off the top of their head, you’ll most likely hear ‘It’s red, green and has a deer on it’. Those are the key elements from a visual standpoint that come to mind. The issue at hand is their ultra symbolic of the mainstay – Alexander Keith’s IPA.
Internally they have always drawn a clear distinction between the IPA and their small-batch local products. While we think it’s smart in some regard to keep them separate, we thought it would be crazy to not at least explore a rendition where we piggybacked off some of the equity they had built in their mother brand.
This led to some great dialogue with the team as we weighed the pros and cons of going in that direction. On the one hand, you could steer the craft beer drinker away from the product as it could come across as too reminiscent of the IPA. On the other hand, it could excite a massive audience about the idea that they can drink Keith’s while partaking in the craft beer culture. Our design exploration led us down many different paths, but ultimately we chose the latter.
The finished design system is one that we’re all incredibly proud of. It was a massive collective effort from the entire team. The staff at Alexander Keith’s had a lot of concrete data for us to validate the hierarchy in our design elements and messaging, and in the end, we landed on a modern rendition of the age-old staple – the stag head.
Nova Scotia is well known as Canada’s Ocean Playground. We live in a place that is ever changing as it is carved by the sea. That intrinsic sentiment lead us to watercolour all of the cans by hand, giving each one a special little unique trademark.
While it’s important that the new look was well received by the consumer, it was just as important to us that it was embraced internally by the team at Keith’s. We made it our mission to give them more than just a shiny new can design, but inspire them through our thinking to look at themselves differently. To get up and head to the shop each day and be excited about what they represent – an evolution of a product that transcends generations.
Now our kids (Generation Alpha) yell “Daddy, daddy made that!”, when we’re driving down the road and they see a billboard showing off the same cans they see in the back corner of their fridge. That’s the beautiful thing about packaging; it can hit ya right in the feels.
K, we’re tearing up a little here. Go drink a Keith’s; they look super cool now. Bye. xo
Clients converted to BFF's