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Igniting a UK Craft Beer Trend in Cans

Can Makers, the UK trade body for the manufacturers of beverage cans, wanted to drive new market demand and attract new drinks brands to the market. Our campaign needed to educate the industry on the benefits of the can. It also had to change perceptions from the ground up to ensure that craft brewers saw the can as a viable option for their shorter production runs, and that the can wasn’t limited to the mass-producing, market leading brands. 

To set this in motion, we needed an integrated campaign with an engaging call to action for our drinks makers. We devised an online competition giving brewers the chance to see and taste their beer in can, and a campaign to promote across channels tgenerate industry interest and discussion at multiple touch points. 

The launch of the Indie Beer Can Festival competition scored widespread coverage in the trade press with a clear call-to-action to take part. We partnered with the leading industry trade association, SIBA, which promoted the competition to all its members through its newsletter and social channels, and created an industry influencer judging panel. We also contacted the top 20 independent brewers personally to fill them in and encourage them to take part. A dedicated microsite was created as a one-stop-shop education hub informing on the benefits of the can and its availability to companies big and smallIt was advocated by online influencers and key contacts in the trade.  

Our finalists were given the exclusive opportunity to taste their beer in can and experience the benefits for themselves. The Indie Beer Can Festival final showcased the can at a industry event, uniting 100+ key influencers, craft brewers, bloggers and media to taste the finalists’ canned beers and celebrate the winners. The campaign was leveraged by the industry to entice new low volume production capacity to market, another vital piece in the jigsaw. 


The campaign won PRCA’s Best B2B Campaign of the Year and The Grocer’s Best Trade Campaign of the Year. 

The number of UK independent beers in cans grew from four to 45 within the first 12 months and the number now amounts to too many hundreds to count. Eighty percent of the brewers who tasted their beer in can were so impressed that they chose the pack format for their next run.  

The Can Makers’ canning help line saw a record number of enquiries from brewers – which continues to this day. Three new UK independent mobile canning lines opened as a result of the new demandand more contract canners followed. 

Coverage was secured in many national, business and trade titles including the Guardian, BBC Online, The Telegraph and The Times, with a reach of over 51.5MM.  

The demand created by the competition continues to increase. In 2018, the UK market for craft beer in cans grew 58 percent.