After nearly 90 years of supplying their popular ginger-flavored soda to fans across the state of Kentucky, Ale-8-One was at a crossroads. Continue business as usual, or take a risk and attempt to grow beyond their core Kentucky market. Typically, small to mid-size soda companies expand by selling out to Coke or Pepsi, but a shift like that was not in Ale-8’s DNA. With bold plans, and an owner committed to sustainable growth, Ale-8 was ready to evolve their brand and charge into new territory.
Over the years, Ale-8’s brand developed through the myth-like stories and raving endorsements of its most loyal fans. Capturing the essence of the brand’s folklore was essential to its future growth.
The Fieldtrip team was challenged to develop branding that would entice an unfamiliar audience, while still appealing to die-hard fans. In order to accomplish this task, we first needed to immerse ourselves in Ale-8 by talking to its people. We picked the brains of key company stakeholders, bottling plant workers and the marketing team. We rode on route trucks, stocked shelves at grocery stores and gas stations, worked in the bottling plant and attended company planning meetings. We bottled the passion and pride of those who make this drink every day. Next we met the people who turned this Winchester-based soda company into a legend. We spoke to fans with Ale-8 tattoos, six-pack-a-day-drinkers, collectors and so many others with memories tied to sipping an Ale-8 with family and friends. To ensure we, and the rest of Ale-8 country, weren’t crazy, we also tested the drink with people who were unfamiliar with the brand and after one sip, they thought about getting tattoos, too.
The boldest reflection of the brand is the packaging and Ale-8’s history was our inspiration for its update and refined logo. An image of the iconic Red River Gorge, where Ale-8 is loved and chugged the most, was featured on every can and carton.
Every element was carefully designed to introduce Ale-8's eye-catching new identity, while still reflecting the company's prolific and uncommon heritage. In the end, created a brand and design that strengthened the bond of its most devoted fans and also offered an iconic look rooted in originality. Ale-8 is currently expanding their footprint from Kentucky into other regional markets, along with national retailers like Cracker Barrel. With its newly defined brand, look and record sales numbers, Ale-8 is poised for steady and significant growth. We’re prouder than ever to help share the best of the Bluegrass in a green glass with the rest of the world.