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St. Pete agency creates a national beer rebrand

Margie Manning



When researchers discovered an alcoholic root beer made by Pabst Brewing Co. was a favorite of millennial women, it was time for a rebrand.

Pabst Brewing Co. turned to Hype Group, a St. Petersburg-based creative agency, to do the work.

The newly rebranded “Not Your Father’s Root Beer” and a new flavor, “Not Your Father’s Lemonade,” hit store shelves nationwide on Monday.

Brooke Boyd

“They came to us looking for a bolder, more feminine look,” said Hype founder and CEO Brooke Boyd. “They noticed a shift in their market in wanting to target more female millennials. Their existing brand was very masculine, very male focused. They saw an opportunity in reaching out to millennial women … This is their first time they’re doing something like this with this line, so it was a big undertaking for them, but all of the market research they did a year prior to bringing us on showed that the millennial woman was the way to go.”

The Pabst project is a major achievement for Hype, a nearly 10-year-old firm that has found a niche in building brand stories. Hype has done a lot of local work for Green Bench Brewing, Made Coffee and Bodega, among others.

“We’ve seen a crazy amount of growth in the past year,” said Boyd. Sales were up 52 percent in 2018 compared to the previous year.

The Not Your Father’s brand originally was developed by Small Town Brewery in suburban Chicago and was acquired by Pabst in 2015. Pabst, North America’s largest privately held brewing company, did research that found women ages 21 to 35 were buying 60 percent of flavored malt beverages, said Daniel Crawford, associate brand manager of Not Your Father’s.

“We took the time to get to know her – what makes her tick, what motivates her and how she likes to spend her free time – it all guided the new look and the campaign we’re launching to introduce the new brand,” Crawford said in a news release from Pabst.

Malt beverages are making a comeback, said Boyd.

“It’s about celebrating your choice. You don’t have to drink an IPA if you don’t like it,” Boyd said. “You can choose what you want to drink and not be embarrassed about it.”

The Not Your Father’s rebrand includes updated labels and packaging and a new marketing strategy.

The previous packaging in sepia tones displayed a man in 19th century clothing with an old-fashioned barrel.

The new packaging developed by the Hype team is completely different. It has two-tone pops of color to denote flavor profiles, ranging from soft and subdued tones for richer flavors to vibrant colors for bolder flavors. There’s a clean custom logotype paired with an icon system to further differentiate flavors. The label also features a lot of white space that allows the logotype to shine.

“This new, bold, yet simplified label system allows for the extensive progression of the Not Your Father’s line beyond the seven SKUs that exist in its current portfolio,” Nico Guidicessi, Hype’s art director, said in the news release.

Hype also is involved on the campaign launch, including copywriting and photos, and is working with Pabst on two additional projects.

“They’re looking to us to be their creative team,” she said.

Brand presence is especially key in a digital world, she said.

“Everybody everywhere is seeing your brand so everybody needs to stay up with the times, the design trends. They need to speak to the right customers. They are not just a business on a certain street, but they are a business online that can reach multiple people,” Boyd said.

There are a couple of indicators that let a company know the time is right for a rebrand.

“If it’s completely outdated and behind the times, you visually just know,” Boyd said. “If you are launching into new markets, new products or services – those are all good times to ask, is now a good time to reposition ourselves or redefine our message.”

She tries to avoid the pitfalls that can come with rebranding, including too many people involved in decision-making and business owners who put their own preferences over those of their customers.

“As a business owner, it’s not about what you like. It’s about what your customer is going to like,” she said. “Of course as a business owner you are investing a lot of money in rebranding, so you want to like the outcome, but it’s really about your customer.”

Read more about Boyd and Hype Group, who are featured in The Hustle, here.

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