Manchester Craft Lager

JW Lees has been brewing beer for nearly 200 years. For most of that time, they’ve focused on ales. In 2017, only one lager was in their range — Original. But their pubs were selling lots of premium lager brands alongside Original. Working with JW Lees, we identified an opportunity to grab a share of the premium lager category from the likes of Peroni and San Miguel.

Manchester Craft Lager

Most premium lagers in the UK position themselves around their foreign provenance. We decided to follow their lead but celebrated local origin rather than foreign. This was a lager brewed for continental crispness but still proudly Mancunian — the taste of Monaco brewed in Middleton. So, continental becomes a state of mind rather than a place.

We named the beer Manchester Craft Lager and developed its signature stemmed glass and branded on-bar collateral.

Our campaign celebrated illustration in bold brand colours, adding an extra dimension to the brewery’s two centuries of expertise in craft ale. The design language we developed unashamedly celebrates a sense of continental style with a cheeky Mancunian twist.

Following the launch, Manchester Craft Lager was JW Lees’ fastest-selling new beer ever. Within 12 months, Manchester Craft Lager was firmly established as one of their ‘core four’.

“Squad provide us with consumer insight and expertise that goes well beyond JW Lees’ marketing requirements and helps to form and direct our strategy for the future of the business.”

William Lees-Jones – Managing Director, JW Lees