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E-Malt.com News article: Sri Lanka: Leading Lion Brewery completes the largest repackaging in its history
Brewery news

Beer market leader Lion Brewery recently completed the largest and most extensive repackaging in its 125-year history with an aim to strengthening the company's soft alcohol portfolio, Financial Times communicated on September, 9.

Lion brews, bottles and markets four of Sri Lanka's most popular brands - flagship brand Lion Lager, Lion Stout, Strong Beer, and Carlsberg. Its 546,000 hectolitre brewery at Biyagama is equipped with the latest brewing technology and was commissioned in 1997.

The repackaging of Lion Lager, Lion Stout, and Strong Beer, was undertaken to strengthen the positioning of their beer portfolio against aggressive competition: "For example, we anticipate the entry of top global brand Heineken and we need to be one step ahead of the rest," noted Suresh Shah, the company’s Executive Director/CEO.

He also stressed the importance the packaging would now play: "It all comes down to the packaging, which is now decisive. It involves using it effectively to convey our brand message, and what it stands for to the consumer."

"We wanted a 'new voice' to highlight the brand, a new profile to promote what we call 'legendary leadership' - essentially, this is all about the values a lion has," Shah said, standing before all the new bottles and labels displayed on the office conference table.

The decision to change the shape of the bottle was one of the most important aspects of the packaging. "There was an exhaustive amount of qualitative research that went into the packaging and one of the main points that came through was the shape of the bottle. We needed to transform the current bottle - which was seen as passive and functional - into an integral part of the packaging," says Marketing Director Prasanna Amarasinghe.

"The bottle really needed to connect with the consumer emotionally. This would also be a very important way of differentiating ourselves from the competition, and developing the association of pride that the consumer wanted to feel."

A little known fact is that Lion is Asia's oldest beer. Historical records show that Lion emerged when Mohan Meakin, a large group of companies, incorporated the Kausauli Brewery in 1855 and produced Lion to quench the thirst of British administrators and troops stationed in India. It subsequently made its way from the Himalayan Mountains to Nuwara Eliya in the 1880s to become Sri Lanka's first beer.

For Shah and his team at Lion Brewery, these reasons are just as compelling as today's challenging marketing environment. "We believe it's about respecting and leveraging our heritage and iconic brand status in everything we do. That's what we've done in the packaging, and that's what continues to keep us competitive and far ahead of the pack."

09 September, 2008

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