Small Beer Wins Big Award

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A Scottish brewery which employs seven people has been named as one of the UK’s most effective brands, ahead of goods produced by some of the world’s biggest companies

The rebrand is the most important thing we have ever done. We knew we had a high quality product but what we didn't have was marketability

A Scottish brewery which employs seven people has been named as one of the UK’s most effective brands, ahead of goods produced by some of the world’s biggest companies.

A campaign to rebrand a range of speciality beers produced by Fyne Ales, a cottage brewery in Argyllshire, won a Gold award at the Design Business Association’s Design Effectiveness awards, the industry’s Oscars, last night.

Judges decided labelling on the bottles, produced in a disused dairy farm building at Cairndow, on the banks of Loch Fyne, were more commercially effective than brands designed for a host of household names, including Guinness, Cadbury’s Buttons, Fairy Liquid, Benylin medicine and Rocky biscuits.

The beer labels were produced by Good Creative, a Glasgow-based design agency which also won a Gold award for its work on a Scottish Power safety campaign and a bronze award for devising a successful social media marketing campaign for Buchanan Galleries, a shopping complex in the centre of Glasgow.

Fyne Ales was launched in 2001 by former dairy farmer Jonny Delap and his wife Tuggy, to make use of buildings that were going to rack and ruin and to create some much needed employment for the area.

After five years of stuttering sales they had a popular, quality beer but ineffective presentation was holding them back. The labelling on their bottles looked dated and homespun and they were losing out to increasingly sophisticated competition which had stronger packaging.

The company commissioned Glasgow-based design agency Good Creative to rebrand their product on a budget of just £6,800. Good was tasked with halting declining sales and reducing production costs of existing labels while positioning Fyne Ales as a player in the speciality beer market.

Following a redesign of the packaging, which used bold styling and content to ensure simplicity, clarity of communication and differentiation from its competition, Fyne experienced a 49% increase in sales – taking its turnover to £822,000 - a 20% rise in net profitability and it outperformed the market by 30.6%. The company expects this trend to continue and, by 2012, predicts it will be selling four times its current volume.

The company now sells to the off-trade in outlets such as Waitrose and Oddbins and to the on-trade in pub chains including Wetherspoons. It has also entered the export market for the first time, negotiating exclusive new deals in Sweden and Hong Kong.

Jonny Delap died last year from a heart attack, aged 65, and the business is now run by his son Jamie and operations director Charlie Craig.

Craig said the redesign had helped to transform the company from a cottage industry into a nationally recognised brewery. To deal with the increase in volumes, the company recently received a grant of £15,000 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise to upgrade equipment

“The rebrand is the most important thing we have ever done. We knew we had a high quality product but what we didn’t have was marketability,” he said.

“We asked Good to come up with something that had a modern edge but which didn’t abandon our traditional roots and they did that brilliantly. I’m not surprised the work they did has outperformed a lot of the big established brands. It’s all about operating effectively in your market and if you do that then you have a chance against anyone.”

Keith Forbes, co-founder of Good, said: “Our re-branding of Fyne Ales’ packaging demonstrates how even a small budget, when spent on good, relevant thinking and design, can generate significant impact.

“It clearly illustrates the value design can add to niche products and brands that are experiencing difficulty, by differentiating them from the competition and creating impact on shelf whilst maintaining their artisan roots. It also shows how far-reaching small spending on design can be by opening up new untapped markets, attracting fresh investment and creating new jobs in a declining economy.”

Good swept the boards at the DBA awards. It is now third in the DBA’s rankings of the UK’s most effective design consultancies and the first agency to win three consecutive Golds at the event.

Cadbury won a Bronze award for its Buttons packaging as did Northern Foods for Rocky biscuits, while Silver awards were won by Johnson and Johnson for Benylin, Diageo for Guinness and Procter and Gamble for Fairy liquid.

Notes to Editors:

  •     The DBA was established in 1986 to promote professional excellence through productive partnerships between commerce and the design industry to champion effective design. It runs events, projects and seminars with partner organisations including the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the Institute of Directors (IoD) and the Marketing society
  •     Its Design Effectiveness Awards are recognised within the industry as the most important measure of effective design. It is the only awards scheme that uses commercial data as a key judging criterion. Each entry is judged on its own merits, by a panel of senior figures from the business community.
  •     Success in the awards brings a much coveted place on the DBA's Effectiveness League Table, collated from the previous three years of data. Consultancies and agencies are awarded 15 points for a gold award, 10 points for a silver and 5 points for a bronze award. A further 10 points is awarded for the Grand Prix, the top prize for overall design effectiveness and 5 points in an international export category.
  •     In 2009 Good won a gold medal in the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards for its work on redesigning packaging for Equal Exchange, a producer and distributor of fair trade and organic products. Following the relaunch, Equal Exchange saw a 28% uplift in like-for-like sales and outperformed the market by 37%. Its exports also grew by 300%.
  •     Good’s founding partner, Keith Forbes, is a former creative business managing director of the year, a board member of the Design Business Association and has been quoted on lists of the most influential members of the media and marketing industries in Scotland.
  •     There are 20,000 design agencies in the UK

Picture captions: 1. Good co-directors Chris Lumsden (left) and Keith Forbes. 2. Fyne Ales founder Delap and wife Tuggy with Scottish education minister Michael Russell. 3. Jamie Delap, managing director of Fyne Ales with dog.

http://www.good-creative.com

For further information and high resolution photography, contact: Carlos Alba on 0141 637 6399 or 07880 505647.

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