Grain Belt beer gets more of the Minnesota treatment

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By Doug Zanger | Americas Editor

April 28, 2016 | 4 min read

There is a thing called “Minnesota Nice,” for good reason. The people of my native state are overwhelmingly pleasant, friendly, kind and, dare I say, nice. Nice to the point where, at a four-way stop, everyone waves each other on to go ahead. The kind of “nice” where a group of ten people simultaneously say “bless you” to a woman who sneezed at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. (Both have happened to me, by the way.)

Minnesotans are hard-working people as well. A full day of getting things done is rewarded with a fresh, cold beer, accompanying North Star State staples like hot dish and lutefisk (the latter may not be true, lutefisk requires a certain “getting used to” quality).

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To that end, Colle+McVoy has done a masterful job in leveraging the “power of nice” and hard work, both a source of civic and state pride, for Grain Belt Beer, an iconic American beer brand, based in New Ulm, Minnesota, that opened for business 125 years ago.

The “nice” part began with “The Friendly Beer,” a brand campaign launched in early 2014. Now, the Minneapolis-based agency has helped create a new brand extension with Lock & Dam Lager. The new beer pays homage to the Mississippi River, with its always-running lock and dam system, epitomizing Minnesota’s work ethic and the original power source for the Grain Belt brewery.

Colle+McVoy, an MDC Partners shop, was tasked with the full suite of creative responsibility, from bottle caps to billboards — all done with a similar spirit to “The Friendly Beer” campaign, adding a modern twist to a revered, historic brand.

Colle+McVoy for Grain Belt

Colle+McVoy for Grain Belt
Colle+McVoy for Grain Belt
Colle+McVoy for Grain Belt
Colle+McVoy for Grain Belt
Colle+McVoy for Grain Belt
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According to the agency, the beer “combines old-world techniques with a hint of hops to bring the traditional American lager into the 21st century.”

"It's great to work on an iconic, beloved brand,” said Mike Caguin, Colle+McVoy chief creative officer. “It’s not every day that they launch a new beer. Our design aspires to merge Grain Belt's sessionable beer heritage with evolving trends."

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