• Transform magazine
  • October 20, 2020


Out of this world sub-brands unveiled for UK heritage brewer

  • Image 1 - Cosmic Brew.jpg
  • Image 3 - The Boilerhouse.jpg

The UK’s northern hub of Manchester is home to many notable things. Rock bands. Football clubs. World-class universities. Of its many contributions to the British culture and economy is 190 year-old brewing company and pub chain JW Lees.

With around 140 pubs and a family-owned brewery, the company had heritage and it had awareness. What it didn’t have was modern branding. Having to compete with the craft brewers dominating supermarket shelves and on-trade sales, JW Lees needed a fresh approach to reinvigorate its existing beers and introduce new offers for pub-goers. It began working with brand consultancy Squad in 2017 on a new, typographically driven masterbrand, but has since examined its entire range and positioning.

The result is out of this world. The brewery teamed up with renowned physicist and University of Manchester professor, Brian Cox, on a new Cosmic Brew. The collaboration features a wonderfully space-age-meets-retro-robots brand developed by Squad. Cox says the pattern of stars on the pack is based on the night sky on his date of birth, 3 March 1968.

Rob Gray, strategy partner at Squad, says, “A few years ago we started working with JW Lees to develop the new vision of putting the brewery at the heart of the business. They’ve truly embraced this with a stream of new and interesting beers. These latest brands are great examples of this.”

Squad also developed a range of seasonable brews that will be unveiled throughout 2019. The packaging is colourful, punchy and helps JW Lees pay tribute to its Manchester home. With nods to Manchester’s greatest bands, the range links the brewery’s history to the city’s modern character. The new look is completed by the Boilerhouse Range – named for the brewery boilerhouse – which consists of small-batch, experimental brews of the type now often found in craft breweries.