As far back as the 1930s a Boiler Maker was the serve of choice for industrial metalworkers. When just one drink won’t suffice, this simple beer and whiskey partnership was the perfect solution. Although no one knows exactly where the name Boiler Maker comes from, it’s fair to assume that the origin links back to the infamous serve’s working-class fan base.
Diageo approached us because they wanted to use this iconic serve to help boost Bulleit Bourbon’s presence within the on-trade. This Frontier Whiskey brand, rich in heritage, aimed to encourage consumer uptake through pairing the drink with craft ales – an area of the drinks trade displaying exceptional growth and popularity at this time.
Our initial brief was to develop a serve mechanism for the Boiler Maker along with a selection of supporting POS items. Our aim was to create unique and ownable concepts that not only increased Bulleit’s on-trade presence and sales but also ensured simple and functional serve preparation. This Boiler Maker serve was to be used at a selection of trial events within the UK.
Having considered the brief, we acknowledged that one of our biggest challenges on this project was ensuring that our serve development promoted responsible drinking. At every point throughout the process, we’d need to reassess concepts to ensure our beer and a bourbon serve was not encouraging excessive consumption.
Having investigated ways of fixing a shot glass to a beer serve via a number of mechanisms we decided barriers to success were numerous. This realisation encouraged us to look beyond a generic shot serve. At this point, we decided another vessel entirely could be the solution we’d been searching for.
Enter the Hip Flask. Just like Bulleit and the Boiler Maker serve, the hip flask as we know it today is steeped in history. This traditional spirit vessel has been around since the 18th century and offered a number of notable benefits. By using a miniature flask, consumers are encouraged to sip, not slam their bourbon, the tiny vessels are easily filled using supplied funnels and allow for convenient and hygienic pre-filling prior to events. Finally, these mini flasks could be tethered to both bottles and cans of beer using a simple and cost effective leather cord. A 300 year old vessel was once again being used to aid the transport of valuable distilled spirits when other options simply weren’t adequate.
In addition to finding a solution to the serve mechanic at experiential events, we also wanted to ensure that outlets were encouraged to promote the Boiler Maker serve even if they weren’t supplied with hip flasks. We opted to supply a selection of designs for jigsaw style, interlocking coasters – one large for the beer and a smaller variant for the shot. This low cost POS solution utilised the skills of our design team to encapsulate Bulleit’s brand style with eye-catching creative.
Following a successful trial of the Boiler Maker hip flask serve, it was decided that further promotion at live music events throughout the summer months posed an additional opportunity for increased brand presence and serve promotion.
Diageo asked We are Creation to produce an alternative serve mechanic for these events; something low cost, simple but still highly visible. In response, we designed and supplied Bulleit branded paper cups. Like the coaster concept, we produced a large and small version to accommodate the Boiler Maker serve. In addition to the matching paper cups, we supplied bunting that, like the cups, used colours synonymous with the Bulleit brand.
Although low cost, these live music event serve and branding solutions proved, once again, to be a successful response to the brief. The cups and bunting offered increased visibility for the brand whilst the Boiler Maker serve, with its matching small and large cups, generated intrigue and interest amongst attendees at these music festivals.
The continued success of Bulleit’s Boiler Maker prompted the decision to further develop the hip flask serve. Instead of applying branding to an existing off-the-shelf mini hip flask, Diageo wanted to increase their ownership of the concept through manufacturing bespoke, Bulleit bottle shaped versions of the miniature vessels.
We are Creation created initial CADs and renders to illustrate how the units would look whilst ensuring the concepts remained both functional and cost effective. As with all custom barware projects the process of taking an idea from concept to creation requires a number of carefully planned stages.
Once initial design renders and CADs had been approved by Diageo, the next step was to take these files and create a tangible prototype. Using the digital designs, We are Creation initially created a 3D printed mini hip flask to ensure that size, shape and capacity were perfect for purpose. Once this initial prototype was signed off, the next stage was to manufacture a pre-production sample, in metal, for final approval. At this stage, the embossed branding, surface finish and design were checked prior to full scale mass production.
Once the bespoke unit was fully signed off with regard to design, finish and capacity, there was one final touch that was required; the creation of a suitable hashtag that could be etched onto the underside of the flask. Through developing a relevant hashtag, Diageo would be able to further promote the Boiler Maker’s success via popular social media sites, whilst encouraging online engagement… #BulleitBoiler
The Bulleit bespoke hip flasks were an instant hit amongst Diageo representatives across Europe. Manufactured in their tens of thousands, We are Creation ensured that the Boiler Maker serve continued its success by managing the production, finishing and distribution of the units.
Feedback from Diageo was consistently positive in every regard but with the introduction of the #BulleitBoiler feature to the hip flasks, it became possible to witness the strong consumer engagement of the serve ourselves through social media. The bespoke hip flasks featured in hundreds of social media posts, proving that the custom units not only increased interactions with consumers and but also significantly increased the online presence of the Bulleit brand across a number of social media channels.
In today’s ever changing marketing environment, social media has become an invaluable insight into the success of a brand beyond simply looking at statistics. The strength of a brand goes beyond its monetary value. Bulleit represents heritage, quality and the desire to do things differently. We are Creation’s bespoke Bulleit hip flasks not only supported this ethos, they also encouraged engagement with consumers and continued to assert the idea that Bulleit does not simply do things differently, it does things better.