The Power of Four

The number four is hugely important to premium lager brand Beck’s Vier.  Four natural ingredients (barley, hops, yeast and water) explain the beer’s purity and clean taste, it also signifies the beer’s lower strength.

We Are Creation captured this symbolism when it crafted a custom range of barware, as well as a new logo and new iconography for AB Inbev.

Rising to the Design Challenge

Beck’s Vier has a rich history – dating back to 1516 and the adoption of ‘Reinheitsgebot’ – the German Beer Purity Law. Half a millennium later the law is still in effect and means that German brewers can work with just four basic ingredients – barley, hops, yeast and water.

Beck’s Vier was developed exclusively for the UK market, where demand for lower percentage session beers was growing among pub goers.

The four percent beer owes part of its sales success to a popular television spot, which saw four characters performing a four step dance to the sound of The Flaming Lips. The ad was light, it was funny and it did a great job of highlighting the new beer’s key selling points – and those all-important four ingredients.

Following on from this initial launch, brewer AB Inbev asked We Are Creation to help raise the profile of Becks Vier again.

After a hugely successful start, Vier began to face more competition in the four percent category. Buoyed by wave after wave of the latest health kicks, breweries have devised more and more new session beers that have low levels of alcohol and hold onto a clean and familiar finish.

Premium European lagers like Becks Vier have lost some ground to these challenger brands. As part of a larger counter offensive, AB Inbev sought a new point of sale kit that would help to sway drinkers towards the quality Beck’s Vier brand while they are out on the town.

The kit would need to catch someone’s eye in a crowded city-centre bar. It would also need to communicate the brand’s core values and it would need to share a quality message about the beer.

Crucially, the work needed to be carried out quickly. A major sales push was planned by AB Inbev for later in the year and the point of sale items needed to be in pubs by that time.

 Becks Vier Custom Barware

Getting the Point Across

The final point of sale kit was all manufactured from a single sheet of brushed steel. Using a water pressure cutter, the sheet was sliced and folded to create a beer tray, a menu holder, a beer mat holder and two steel chalkboards that worked with special chalk pens.

We Are Creation started by investigating elements of the brand. The brushed metal took inspiration from the different shades of silver on the Beck’s Vier bottle labels. An early preference for brushed aluminium changed to brushed steel after we had issues with some of the first prototypes.

The items were designed to be touchable. Logos, icons and other brand messages were all etched onto the metal using laser technology, so there’s no resistance when drinkers run their fingers across the steel.

The smoothness of the material and the cleanness of the folds complement the beer’s clean, refreshing and modern character.

To reinforce one of the beer’s biggest selling points, we were asked to design a set of icons to represent the four pure ingredients of barley, hops, yeast and water. We also re-arranged the ‘Vier’ logo, making use of negative space so that a clear ‘4’ can be seen. AB Inbev was so impressed with the new logo that they indicated a desire to use it in other upcoming projects.

Critically, we were able to complete all of the necessary designs, prototypes and testing to a tight timescale. Working closely with UK production partners, we were also able to get the initial production run manufactured and delivered to bars within a tight deadline and with low shipping costs.

Becks Vier Custom Barware

Creating Excitement

To help convince bar owners and other licensees to use, for example, the brushed steel chalkboards in their bar instead of a traditional blackboard, we sought to create excitement and anticipation for the new merchandise.

This involved designing a special box for the barware kit to be delivered in, so that when it was opened, the bar manager would take greater notice of the point of sale items and ensure that they were placed where they could have the biggest impact.

To ensure greater impact, we included a letter of explanation introducing the kit, in the hope that it would find its way to the head of the bar, instead of being relegated to a dusty back room, like some lesser quality point of sale items.

Going Global

After the initial production run – carried out by UK manufacturers –and a short trial period when the first point of sale kits were delivered to UK pubs and bars – we supplied AB Inbev with the technical drawings they needed to complete a much larger production run overseas.

Now the kits can be found in metropolitan pubs and bars right across the country – helping to capture attention and influence customers as soon as they enter a bar.

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