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Adnams redesigns portfolio but still looks for funds

Suffolk-based brewer Adnams has updated its packaging and revealed two new beers joining its portfolio, but admitted it is still searching for funds to secure its future.

The redesign, which Adnams head of brand and creative Jess Turner said occurred because the portfolio needed “stronger brand recognition to help customers shop across the range and explore other Adnams beers” led her to discover the skills of design studio CookChick and local artist Vanessa Sorboen who helped to reflect the brand’s Suffolk home.

Adnams is rolling out a full redesign of its core beer range, across both the off and on-trade across core kegs, casks, bottles and cans with new designs rolling out from 2 April.

Speaking to the drinks business, Adnams head of production Fergus Fitzgerald said: “As you’d expect there has been a lot of discussion about what direction the redesign should take but from the moment Jess showed us the painting of Southwold Bitter we knew that this was the way.”

Each beer has its own unique painting, illustrating the beer’s origins and expressing its story. From looking out to the North Sea or inland, the brewery has outlined in a statement that the range’s new designs capture “a true 360 view of Adnams’ proud East Anglian heritage”.

Fitzgerald however told db that he knew the newer beers are more straightforward to redesign but the longstanding brews still possessed emotional attachment to their image for many drinkers. As such, he was aware that they had to get this right.

Describing this, he revealed to db: “I think the newer beers are easier to change, there is more emotion involved when you change a long standing beer like Southwold bitter. For some of our customers it’s been a constant part of their beer drinking life. So it’s important that it still feels like it belongs to them, that it still tells the story of where it’s been, but at the same time it needs to look relevant enough to bring new customers to the beer. I think the new artwork does that and I hope people feel the same when they see it in real life.”

On querying whether Adnams was in a strong enough fiscal position to push through a rebrand, especially in light of how last month Adnams sent the industry into panic when it was revealed it was seeking guidance from advisors to raise funding. Fitzgerald assured: “The [redsign] project has been a long time in planning and is driven by a desire to unify and refresh the branding of our full product line up.”

That term “unify” and “unifier” – recently used by Breal Group’s Keystone owned Black Sheep Brewery – during its recent rebrand saw the news coincide with a raft of staff redundancies that were uncovered. As such, the sector has remained dubious over whether beer packaging updates can “unify” a business that is already experiencing fiscal challenges.

Fitzgerald has however confirmed that, for Adnams, “the rebrand has been in the plans for more than a year so [there is] absolutely no link to the longer term funding options being looked at.”

He revealed that “it is and has been funded through our normal day-to-day spending” but insisted “we aren’t commenting on the overall cost”.

To confirm the position Adnams is still in, Fitzgerald added: “Separately, the business is continuing to explore a range of options to fund its future growth plans”.

Adnams also amplified the point in a statement about the redesign how “investment in cask was key to this project, providing an opportunity to draw consumers into the cask category” and reinforced this sentiment as it pointed out how Adnams “was one of the first breweries to feature moulded pump clips in pubs, so it was important that the redesign encompassed a new and innovative offering for the on trade”.

Ghost Ship 0.5% ABV pale ale launched in December 2023 in the new design with a slimline can and Broadside and Ghost Ship 4.5% ABV pale ale bottles will follow from 2 April, with the rest of the range to emerge throughout April and early May.


To coincide with this, two new brews will also launch on 4 April as part of the refresh. The beers, a double dry-hopped IPA named Big Skies and a Belgian-style Blonde named Deep Seas will both be available in 440ml cans from the Adnams webshop retailing at £34.99 per pack of 12.

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