In 2017, maverick craft brewer BrewDog had big expansion plans and was set to launch its largest brewery in America.
Our brief was to launch and land BrewDog’s new brewery in Ohio whilst creating a big splash in the US with ripples felt either side of the Atlantic and the world over helping them build a new community in the States that loves the brand for its beer and its ethos.
We wanted our launch moment to firmly cement the brand as a company of DOERS so needed to focus on action over words. Involvement by the brand was key. BrewDog isn’t a brand that can sit back and watch as the world goes about its business, it should have a viewpoint and be fervent about it.
Our big idea was to radically go against the new President of the United States, by proclaiming to “Make Beer, Not Walls” (a new play on the famous anti-war slogan of the 1960s) in relation to Trump’s infamous campaign promise and announcing that BrewDog was opening a new craft beer bar that ‘straddled’ the border between the USA and Mexico. After all, nothing brings people together and breaks down borders like a refreshing, cold beer or cerveza! Just six months after his inauguration, this was risky for a brand trying to boost sales in this vast country, but one that felt instinctively right.
We decided that nothing said ‘BrewDog is coming to the farthest reaches of the States’ better than opening a bar in the desolate arid landscape that is the border. The bold call was rife with jeopardy (and a possible injunction from the new President), but would ultimately impact on millions of lives, bringing inclusivity and community to the divided nations and its people.
In short, a grand opportunity to really show the collective power of beer as a force for good.
Our team worked on the bar’s look and feel, staying sympathetic to the brand’s industrial style, but still effective for media. The bar would play to its surroundings and would be made from old shipping containers. This would handily get us around some laws too, as the construction would officially be defined as a temporary mobile building. Our campaign tagline ‘Make Beer, Not Walls’ was painted across the bar and used as a hashtag – a call to arms for the community old and new to invoke inclusivity and community.
We knew that we needed to get bars across the globe involved, so to mark the unveiling of the plans, we hosted a beer event in its tap room in Columbus, with a range of beers from Texan and Mexican taking over its taps, breweries, as well as offering craft beer cocktails featuring Mezcal and Tequila in all its other bars to drum up awareness and use of the hashtag #makebeernotwalls globally.
Amassing incredible coverage for the brand, The Bar on the Edge went where other brands had dared not to tread but did so in a tasteful, inclusive and non-patronising way, successfully demonstrating what BrewDog stands for as a brand and putting it at the heart of global discussion.