• Transform magazine
  • July 17, 2019


Billson's works with Cowan to begin brand rejuvenation


Billson’s Brewery, one of Australia’s oldest beverage manufacturers, has been making drinks from the nearby alpine spring water since 1865. Now, the company is rejuvenating its products for a 21st century market.

The brewery has begun this process by developing a line of all-natural sodas which combine locally grown fruits and herbs with the same spring water which has enabled Billson’s to operate for centuries. To design the packaging for these sodas, Billson’s enlisted the help of Cowan London, an international design agency. The brewery tasked Cowan with creating packaging that brings the refreshing organic flavors of the sodas to life while simultaneously acknowledging the brewery’s rich history.

Cowan has done this by placing a large emphasis on both vibrancy and the locally sourced fruit content across all five sodas. The sleek, modernised illustrations of the flavours contained in each soda are set at the forefront, while a radiant backdrop of the same color supports them by providing uniformity in the design. The Billson’s brand name is featured prominently in the upper center of the label, and directly underneath are references to the company’s first year of production and the fact it runs a small batch operation. This works to Billson’s advantage by separating the company from major beverage corporations by positioning it as a homely, exclusive brand. Any feeling of the brand being too far in the past, which may arise from the 1865 date on the packaging, is eroded by the ebullient colors and fruits breathing new life into the old brand.

The natural sodas were a good starting point, but Billson’s will use them as the first step in a much larger reboot of the brand. In 2019, Billson’s will roll out new lines of tonic waters, beers, ciders and gins. Additionally, just as they have brought a modern design to the products, Billson’s also wants to modernise the brewery by turning it into a tourist destination for people visiting the historic town of Beechworth, Victoria.

Keeping up with the times is never an easy feat in business, but with over 300 years of history behind it, Billson’s looks to do so for years to come.