Tasting Notes

Rebranding Lighthouse Brewing Company

April, 2015

Recently we had the honour of rebranding Lighthouse Brewing Company, the Esquimalt beer maker that counts classic Race Rocks and IPA favourite Switchback among its lineup.

Owing to a trademark issue, there was a pressing need to rename Switchback, and Lighthouse had excellent new products to introduce. The timing for a rebrand was perfect.

Lighthouse Brrewing Company old bottles


We were tasked with overall brand strategy, which resulted in a new logo, new labels, cans and boxes, a new website, new sales and promotional materials, and strategic marketing initiatives.

New lighthouse bottles


The rebrand happened in phases. We conducted market research to gain the insight we needed, then we involved the brewery in a brand exercise that resulted in a clear recommendation: that Lighthouse return to its nautical roots across all its customer touchpoints – a direction that was embraced by the brewery.

Tiers for Beers: How adventurous are you feeling?

To make it easier for drinkers to choose the right beer for their mood, 3 tiers of flavours were created: House Series, Explorer Series and Uncharted Series.

The House Series represents the Lighthouse take on classic craft beer flavours, like stout, pilsner and dark ale.

Lighthouse new bottles New Race Rocks boxBowline Pilsner box


The designs were inspired by lighthouse patterns from around the world. These strong, simple and colourful patterns create just the right shelf impact.

Lighthouse colours


An Explorer Series was created for craft drinkers in the mood for a more flavourful beer.

In addition to the newly renamed Shipwreck, the series included Tasman Pale Ale and new flavour Seaport Vanilla Stout. The packaging needed to keep pace with the craftier flavours of the Series, so sea patterns were imagined – a different one for each beer.

Lighthouse Explorer packaging


New Lighthouse packaging


The Explorer patterns were drawn by hand in large format so they could be scaled appropriate to the requirement without losing the detail.

Hand drawing sea patterns


The final series, Uncharted, is a place for the upcoming seasonal flavours and experimental bombers that Lighthouse is well-known for releasing. Keep an eye out for them at your beer store!

The Bounty Pack: A treasure trove of flavour.

The mixer pack was re-imagined as a treasure chest, in keeping with the nautical theme.

Here’s the old pack….

Lighthouse mixer box


And here’s the new Bounty Premium Mixer Pack:

LIghthouse beer treasure chest

We launched the Bounty in a way that felt in keeping with the new brand direction: We popped a poster onto a shipwreck out in the waters of Victoria.

Beer poster on shipwreck


The odds were strong that buyers of the Bounty pack would be tasting at least one of these beers for the first time. To capitalize on that “Hmm, this is a great tasting beer” moment, and to make it easy for the customer, we included a response card in the pack. It encourages drinkers to ask their beer store to stock their favourite individual beers.

Lighthouse Insert card


Bounty Pack card



A website to reflect the Lighthouse vibe

For the new website, we recommended moving towards a design that incorporated both their cool craft beer vibes with how serious they are about making the stuff. The visual sea palette flowed naturally from the nautical positioning. A cutout paper seascape, rolling waves and a feisty octopus great the visitor, but with craft beer it’s all about the liquid, so you have to go down under the surface of the water to find the beer and the story. The change here was as dramatic as with the package redesign.

Here’s the old website…

Old Lighthouse website


Old Lighthouse website


And the brand new one:

Lighthouse Brewing Company website


Lighthouse website by Leap


To get the full-on experience, click here.

Once the packaging and website were well-underway, we turned our attention to the other brand/consumer touchpoints. Things like in-store materials, tap handles, T-shirts, coasters, display booths, vehicle decals and social media pages.

In every case, we sought to tie the touchpoint back to the nautical theme.


Lighthouse Brewing Company truck


Lighthouse beer coaster


Lighthouse beer coaster back



Goodbye Switchback, hello Shipwreck.

One of the key challenges was the renaming of popular Switchback IPA. It was taken off the mountain-bike trails and down into the sea – where everything needed to live – and rechristened Shipwreck.

We communicated the new name to the market ahead of the brand launch via point of sale materials in-store, and bottle-neck tags on the Switchback inventory still on the shelves. The blended team hand-tied each so they would look like sailors’ knots. It might have been a little thing, but it felt right for the brand.

Lighthouse beer Switchback new name


The rebranding work culminated in a photo session at the brewery, where the spirit behind all these tasty and newly branded beers was amply on display.

Staff at Lighthouse


Here are the blended teammates who contributed to this rebrand:

  • Neil Tran (+ Simon Robinson and Devin Edwards at Leap) – Website and graphic design
  • Juhli Selby – Social media strategy
  • Doug Brown – Brand strategy
  • Derek Ford – Photography
  • Rod Phillips – Retail strategy
  • Russ Mounsey – Business management
  • Megan Munro – Graphic design
  • Trisha Lees – PR strategy and media training
  • Danny Prew – Graphic design
  • Adem Tepedelen – Copywriting
  • Steve Hutchinson – Media planning
  • Taylor Sato – Graphic design

The blended team would like to make a special acknowledgement to Saint Bernadine in Vancouver for their stellar package design.

Additional photography courtesy Derek Ford and Matt Schmitz. Thanks guys!

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