Carlsberg sets to Reclaim its Craft Beer Heritage

As part of a new global campaign Carlsberg are considering using yeast cells from a 133 year old bottle of beer, in an attempt to re-brew the original, for an online campaign and tasting sessions. 

Bringing their heritage back into the limelight, whilst of course increasing their brand awareness through their story telling…


1) The campaign

As Carlsberg, amongst others are finding, more and more consumers are turning away from big brands in favour of craft variants – so using their knowledge of this information Carlsberg have decided how they too are major players in this sector.

To give them the media spin they needed, they’ve produced 30 beer bottles that replicate the very first Carlsberg lager.

Consumers can then sign up online (a great way to gather customer information, demographics etc. etc.) and try the beer in tasting sessions that will be hosted in a variety of places, where Carlsberg is dominant.

To support the online sign up and the physical tasting sessions, the brand will also be releasing a documentary to show how the craft beer has been brewed – it will be through the documentary that they tell “their story”.

carlsberg_craft_beer_campaign_the_branding_journal_2

2) The Story

We’ve mentioned in the news a number of times about the power of a brand story.  Carlsberg already has a strong brand image.  However, within the craft market and to almost make it seem believable, they needed to tell their story about belonging.

Reported in Marketing Week, Rasmus Bendtsen, Carlsberg’s global marketing manager commented “[Yeast] is part of our daily life. We haven’t told the world it originates from Carlsberg, but we felt that we should do it in a modern and entertaining way. We have done it in the past in a way that nobody found interesting, so we wanted to change that,” he said.


“Having the Carlsberg Laboratory for 140 years is a hard message to tell. It’s not easy to do in a 30-second TV ad, so we knew we had to make it interesting in order for people to relate to the problem [that brewers faced] at that time. That’s why we decided to create a short clip and tasting sessions, as well as a documentary.”

carlsberg_craft_beer_campaign_the_branding_journal_33) Making it different

For Carlsberg they don’t feel like they’re a new player in a different market – they have simply changed their packaging to demonstrate the heritage as they use the brands original beer bottle shape.

The aim is to change the image in consumers’ minds and help Carlsberg to reclaim their craft status.

Bendsten goes on to insist that Carlsberg was indeed “the first craft brewer” in the world that gained mainstream popularity – did they just choose then to simply take their brand in a different direction and now come back to it as popularity has shifted again?!

4) Just for the campaign

At the moment the brand has no plans to roll this out commercially but as with anything if this is hugely successful a more permanent roll out surely wouldn’t be ruled out.

Carlsberg are using their brand to link in their heritage, however is the slogan “probably the best in the world” too good, to allow them to be able to fully distinguish themselves in the craft beer market as well?  Or will they simply come across as a big beer brand trying to tap into more sales, regardless of their heritage story?

One thing is for sure their communications and marketing messages are going to have to be spot on if they’re going to get this right – executing it as a campaign, through online and tasting sessions certainly allows them to test the waters and gauge consumer reaction, whilst seeing if they can help build their brand further.

References:  Perfect Pearl SolutionsMarketing Week
Pictures from: MarketingWeek.com, Carlsberg.com, PackagingoftheWorld.com

Amanda is a copywriter with over 10 years’ experience in the world of marketing and communications. With an effective and no nonsense approach, she can look at any challenge with a creative and can do attitude.

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