Weekly Re-Brand #31: The Beer Store

Welcome to the Blade Weekly Re-Brand, a place for us to take a quick look at some of the rebranding going on in the world and give a quick impression of what went right and what went wrong.

As part of a pilot project to test out the rebranding of Ontario’s iconic Beer Store brand, beginning in May four Beer Stores were transformed with an updated logo and completely overhauled interiors.

The old Beer Store logo (left) vs. the new Beer Store logo (right).

The old Beer Store logo (left) vs. the new Beer Store logo (right).

What was wrong with the old Beer Store?
In Ontario, there’s only two places to get beer: The Beer Store or the LCBO. The LCBO mainly focuses on alcohols other than beer, and some LCBO stores have small-to-non-existent beer selections. Seeing as The Beer Store is the only place to get beer, you wouldn’t think that they’d need to do much branding, but if public opinion moves too much against them the government could shake up the market by introducing another competitor or, as has recently been floated, allowing convenience stores to sell beer.

The exterior of the new Beer Store at College and Bathurst in Toronto.

The exterior of the new Beer Store at College and Bathurst in Toronto.

Does the new version fix the problem?
The new Beer Store look takes a lot of cues from the LCBO, which in recent years has revitalized its own brand with a heavy focus on education about various beverages and tastings. In the new Beer Store, touch screen monitors allow you to browse through different brands of beer. Suggestions for food pairings are offered, and histories of the beers are on display. The new logo is also a big improvement, replacing the old “tipsy” B with a classy-yet-friendly serif. The new B icon evokes beer via graphic representation, rather than photographic realism.

beer-store-interior1

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Interior shots of the new Beer Stores.

Interior shots of the new Beer Stores.

What new problems are introduced?
Everyone who drinks beer thinks they are the exact demographic The Beer Store should be targeting. Because of this, many people think they’ve missed the mark. Additionally, many stores in rural Ontario never updated to that last rebranding, and are still sporting the old orange designs. This lack of consistency across stores has the potential to confuse the brand image even further.

Many stores in rural Ontario never updated to the last rebrand.

Many stores in rural Ontario never updated to the last rebrand.

Is it an overall improvement?
The new stores appear cleaner, more friendly, and are trying hard to be a little more upscale and offer more than just a pick-up/drop off location for beer/empties. I’d call it a win.

Do you think the new Beer Store is an improvement?

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4 comments on “Weekly Re-Brand #31: The Beer Store

  1. Katelyn on said:

    I think the new branding is an improvement over the previous “The Beer Store” and obviously better than the white and orange branding that came before that. However, the interior redesign of stores looks, to me at least, a little restauranty and even a little too geared towards craft beer. I like it myself, but know it could easily mean yet another rebranding attempt in five years down the road. I think the LCBO branding is a little more classic and will prove to be more timeless.

    Katelyn

    • Brian WalkerBrian Walker on said:

      Thanks for commenting, Katelyn! I agree that the new interiors seem very craft beer oriented, but they also seem to have a rustic Ontario vibe to them. I’m not sure which they were aiming for, but as this look expands to more stores we will hopefully see some refinements to the look, rather than another complete rebrand in a few years.

  2. Kate Roberts on said:

    I definitely like the new look better than the last two – but it does lend itself to a more urban environment and clientele. That being said, it doesn’t seem to me like Beer Stores in rural Ontario really need to update their look as it may alienate those customers and make them feel like they’re entering an overly classy place when they go to drop off their empties and pick up another case of Molson Canadian or 50. So I say – update all the stores in Toronto and other urban centers across the province to this new sleek look, and let the smaller rural shops stay orange – it’s kinda quaint.

    • Brian WalkerBrian Walker on said:

      I’m probably in the minority on this, but I actually preferred the old orange look to the last version with the tipsy B. Everything about that B, from it being a different font (and weight), to it appearing drunk, to using an actual photo of beer inside it, has driven me crazy since I first saw it.

      As far as the new look goes, I actually think some of the wooden interiors look kind of rustic and might appeal to people more rural areas. On the other hand, the exteriors are pure urban.

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