CAMPAIGNS: Niche brewer uses love for Consumer PR - PR coverage

Client: Church End Brewery PR Team: RBH Salmons Campaign: Alcofrolic - The Valentine's Day 'aphrodisiac' beer Timescale: February 2003 Budget: £3,000

Independent brewers Church End Brewery created a themed microbrew called Alcofrolic to tap into Valentine's Day. This comes as the Warwickshire-based brewery examines new ways to market its products in the face of the national brewers' huge marketing clout.

Objectives

To raise CEB's profile as an independent brewing specialist. To generate awareness of the brewery and its outlets. To generate consumer interest in its products.

Strategy and Plan

RBH Salmons linked the campaign to Valentine's Day and suggested the brewery develop a beer called 'Alcofrolic' and claim it to be an aphrodisiac.

The news hook was tailored to work on different levels, depending on the type of media. Footage of the brew being produced was used for TV, radio stations featured on-air taste-tests, while newspapers offered a combination of the two.

The first news angle centred on the aphrodisiac properties, pushing the idea that it might be an antidote to lovemaking problems associated with excessive drinking.

The secondary angle focused on the history of brewing and aphrodisiacs.

Interviews were offered with CEB head brewer Stewart Elliot, and brewery tours were offered to journalists.

Measurement and Evaluation

CEB achieved coverage in more than 20 regional daily papers, as well as features in industry titles Publife, The Publican, and What's Brewing.

TV coverage included Channel 4's Richard and Judy, who interviewed comedian and CEB 'landlord' Al Murray. Regional TV programme Central News ran a documentary about the history of microbreweries. The Sun showed a scantily-clad barmaid serving drinks and Radio WM, along with other stations, ran lunchtime taste tests.

Results

Sales of Alcofrolic were three times greater than that of any previous guest ale sold over the same period. It went on tap on 12 February and was scheduled to run through Valentine's Day. Because of support from consumers and media, production continued through March.

Alcofrolic's popularity has resulted in new business contracts, including Vitas Wines in Hartfordshire, Lower Red Lion in Banbury and the annual April Beer Festival in Coventry. Plans are in hand to brew the drink annually.

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