Robinsons to ‘modify’ Dizzy Blonde as it plans major revamp of beer range

Stockport brewer Robinsons, which is to celebrate its 180th anniversary this year, is planning a major revamp of its beer range which will see it modify and rebrand its Dizzy Blonde beer and launch new beers including a low alcohol cask ale and an orange craft beer.

The current Dizzy Blonde branding.

In honour of its milestone year, the brewer and pub operator has announced a raft of changes that will see it increase and modify its beer range.

One change that many will welcome in the industry is Robinsons’ decision to rebrand its Dizzy Blonde beer in light of the sexism in beer debate and the #MeToo movement. While the beer itself has proved popular, the imagery and pump clips used to promote it has attracted vociferous criticism, particularly on social media.

When asked what the new branding would look like, a spokesperson for Robinsons’ told the drinks business that it was still “work in progress” but that the brewer “will be actively involving customers and consumers in design options”.

David Bremner, director of marketing for Robinsons Brewery, explained the decision: “Dizzy Blonde is our best-selling cask beer outside our own pub estate and 10 years after the launch is still in growth. The current label was designed in homage to the classic 1940’s Memphis belle style pin up ‘nose art’ of WW2 aircrafts which was so iconic of the era. However, it is no secret that, in the wake of the #MeToo movement and the backlash against sexual harassment and abuse, Dizzy Blonde has been the focal point of the sexism debate in the beer industry. Despite the fact that Dizzy Blonde is a much-loved brand by many, we don’t have our heads in the sand. It is time to acknowledge that the presentation is not universally accepted by a society that strives for, and celebrates, equality.”

“As a family business of 180 years, we take our responsibilities seriously, and the last thing we’re looking to do is cause offence or marginalise anyone. We are a strong advocator of equal rights within our business and have been since our company origins. From our female pioneer Emma Robinson, who owned the brewery ‘lock, stock, and barrel’ after her husband and Founder Frederic died in 1890, to female workers who kept the beer flowing during the war years, we have a history of strong women at Robinsons. Women who proudly brew, test, package, sell, market, and drink beer. Women who enjoy beer for the same reasons that men do — for the beer itself”.

Robinsons is also upping its range of beers in keeping with current trends, releasing a canned orange pale ale and a 3.5% ABV hoppy cask ale, while it will also unveil 10 limited edition beers every year, including six seasonal expressions and four collaborative brews.

In addition, the brewer has announced that it’s moving “into the world of craft keg” with two new brews in the pipeline.

Bremner added: “Following a careful research phase, we are delighted to announce that we have some new beers joining the family; including an orange canned craft beer, a lower abv hoppy golden cask ale, and a number of new bottled beers. We are currently reviewing our beer portfolio, monitoring sales and trends, and adapting brands at an appropriate time. This isn’t about reinventing the wheel or saying goodbye to traditional cask; which is the bloodline of our brewery. It’s about evolution and innovation working hand in hand, forward thinking with the very best traditions, to give our customers quality, choice, and variety in a modern beer market. Our customers can still expect a great pint in a classic British pub, seven days a week, but new product development, driven by an innovation team made up of our customers, our licensees and our brewing team, will be key to 2018 and 2019″.

The orange beer, called One Eye’d Jack, will launch in 330ml cans this summer, and will be joined by a lower alcohol cask ale.

Explaining the move to produce a beer with lower alcohol, Bremner said: “1 in 5 millennials abstain from alcohol and the rest drink less than previous generations, but cutting down alcohol doesn’t have to mean cutting down on visits to the pub. There’s a misconception that low ABV equates to low flavour; this is something we’re keen to disprove”.

Both beers will join the existing line-up which includes Old Tom and Unicorn as well as its collaborative beers with British band Iron Maiden, Trooper and Light Brigade.

Bremner continued: “Craft Keg is a great premiumisation opportunity for licensees and customers. We already offer this via our craft keg club, which rotates more than 25 beers a year with success, so we thought it was high time to show what our brew house can do and launch some craft keg beers of our own in house”.

A spokesperson told db that despite the large number of new beers, the brewer would not be expanding or hiring new staff.

“Our brew house and bottling facility are more than capable of coping with the capacity. If anything, the £7 million investment we made in 2012 into a brand new Krones brew house was for this very reason. So we’re really just getting into our stride and – as it’s our 180th anniversary – pushing our brew house a little to see what she can really brew”.

The investment saw the brewer install a cereal cooker, an energy recovery system, a £2.5 million hopnik and a £2 million visitor centre and conference facility. The brewer also renovated “a significant proportion” of its pub estate and now has a brewhouse that is “60% more energy efficient”.

Read more: 

THIS ONLINE BEER SHOP HAS SAID IT WON’T SELL BEERS WITH SEXIST LABELS 

PORTMAN GROUP JOINS CALLS TO STAMP OUT SEXIST DRINKS MARKETING

SIBA PLEDGES TO CREATE STRICTER GUIDELINES AGAINST SEXIST BEER LABELLING

THREE WAYS TO BEAT SEXISM IN THE BEER INDUSTRY, ACCORDING TO WILD CARD BREWER JAEGA WISE

PEOPLE ARE FURIOUS WITH THIS BREWERY’S “DISGUSTING” BEER LABELS

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