Gloucestershire design studio Level has unveiled a new look for Stroud Brewery to champion “responsibly farmed beer”, and celebrate both taste and ethics, while directly opposing the “worthy green” organic stereotype, as it puts it.

Considered the UK’s leading independent, organic and B Corp certified brewery, Stroud was established in 2006 and has become a much-loved brand with a strong and loyal regional following. Up until recently, it had used its organic credentials to best explain its USP, but with an ambitious growth agenda including national and export opportunities, it realised it was time to add weight to its story and take on a category saturated with brands, noise and an unhealthy dose of “greenwashing”.

It approached Level to take a look at updating its identity and help it lead by example by being ethical and sustainable. “In a marketplace full of ‘green’ messages, we felt Stroud Brewery had been acting a little shy,” says Jenny Patton, head of insight and innovation at Level. “The Stroud brewery team had created a thriving business without compromising their values and in the post-Covid world, research is showing us that consumers are looking to build affinity with authentic, ethical brands like theirs.

“This wasn’t about leadership in a market share sense, it was about leading from the front, flying the flag and leading by example. Through our research, we began to understand that the organic message is polarising, people have already made up their minds. We needed to go further, create a deeper connection between the consumer and the natural ingredients. We changed the core brand message to ‘drink responsibly – farmed beer’ and developed short, witty ‘change is brewing’ conversations to illustrate how a regenerative approach to people and planet equals better business and even better beer.”

Interestingly, the team invited fans of the brand to contribute to its development: “Level was keen to bring our fans on the journey,’ says Brand Manager Nadine Stroud. “We asked our fans for input to tell our provenance story and Level incorporated their feedback into the development of the brand mark. Our fans also contributed to our ethical story and our favourite response ‘no-nonsense, clear conscience’ now features as the nucleus on our glassware and across our comms.”

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