No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you: those beers below are Marston’s, the result of an ambitious rebranding project costing more than…wait for it…£1m. To put it into perspective that’s like a whole studio flat in London, or one million boxes of Toffifee from the pound shop. Other than the labels themselves there have also been 2 other significant changes; the renaming of Burton Bitter to Saddle Tank and Oyster Stout to Pearl Jet.
I can see what they’ve tried to do here and, while I absolutely support the promotion of real ale to a younger audience, I’m not sure it’s quite worked. There’s nothing new and exciting about this packaging and I can’t help but feel they’re appealing to new drinkers while ostracising the old ones, particularly by changing the names of 2 well established beers.
I spoke to a packaging designer about the rebrand and they made some interesting points from a design perspective:
‘I like them, but they feel a bit behind the curve now. I think the boat has sailed on all that distressed looking type stuff that BrewDog were doing 7 years ago. The problem is they are very aligned to what is considered cool right now (or 2 years ago in this case) and as a result they’ll date really fast. Also, it feels like a bit of a half arsed attempt at jumping on the bandwagon. I do like the Burton Union System though!’
I’ll be interested to see how this one plays out.