By Eric Johnson
Your marketing toolbox Making choices with variety packs Revolution Brewing is a winner. Combining more than one beer style in a 12- or 15-pack format isn’t revolutionary. It has been done for decades by both big beer and craft brewers. Variety packs can be advantageous in grabbing more shelf space. They offer potential for expanding the palates of customers already familiar with your flagship brand. In today’s ultra-competitive marketplace, how would you get your variety pack to stand out – if you make the decision to even launch one. Time for some serious brand strategy considerations. In Craft Beer & Marketing issue No. 3, we featured Revolution Brewing in Chicago. We shared its unique story as well as its insights on contemporary market conditions. The trend toward bigger packaging received a mention from Doug Veliky, CFO/CMO of Revolution, as did its “League of Heroes Series (LoH)” of rotating IPAs. Recently, we had the pleasure of a follow-up visit with Doug and Revolution, which led to taking home the latest edition in the “League of Heroes.” Net result, a remarkable experience. Equally impressive were the brews themselves, as well as the multiple branding choices surrounding them. All are worthy of review. Let’s look at how this variety pack became the No. 1 seller in the Chicago market (per IRI stats). As Veliky mentioned, “League of Heroes” offered many opportunities for expression. For Rev’s brewers, LoH is a platform for them to work with newer hops. For Rev’s branding team, the series cuts loose the inner comic and superhero geek within. There were multiple inspirations all coming together in “League of Heroes.”.
The Beer Rev fans are knowledgeable and discriminating consumers. They have high expectations of Revolution, especially with regards to freshness. The “League of Heroes” series brews are all single-hop varieties (for example: Galaxy, Mosaic, Amarillo, etc.). All are
canned within a couple days of each other. Twelve packs are hand-packed and issued in short runs every two weeks. The date of the oldest can is stamped on the carton. That’s a serious commitment to freshness.
The Brand Concept “League of Heroes” is a concept extension of Revolution’s earlier “Heroes” series of specialty IPAs. “Heroes” issues have been one brew per six-pack format. They have been marketed as seasonal with rotation every two to three months. The “League of Heroes” concept was created with the comparative experience in mind. Each 12-pack contains four different IPAs. Always included is the Anti-Hero flagship brand. The past November was the third release of the League 12-pack. Each features a different mix than earlier issues. Over the year, the “League of Heroes” issues stand as an educational experience in hopped styles.
The Imagery Revolution’s visual expression of brand identity has been rich in comic book style characters from the beginning. Just look at The General featured on Anti-Hero IPA. The Heroes series of characters started when Revolution was asked to do a brew for C2E2, the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo. Galaxy Hero came first. The other characters in The League just rolled on from there. And by the way, Rev’s Anti-Hero can made the Top 10 in Russ Phillips 2014 book, titled “Canned! Artwork of the Modern American Beer Can.”
The Finish “League of Heroes” is a verified success story for Revolution Brewing. Innovation in brewing and branding. What’s your variety pack story? What might it be?
CRAFT BRAND AND MARKETING