St. Stefanus is a Belgian Abbey beer whose roots date back to 1295. Originally brewed by Augustinian monks, the beer is now licenced and distributed by SAB Miller. Under the stewardship of a sixth generation Master Brewer, St. Stefanus is still produced in small batches with the same care and craftsmanship as it always was. It is a product that oozes authenticity.
Unpasteurised, St. Stefanus continues to ferment once bottled. This ongoing fermentation means that the flavour and complexity of the beer develops as it matures – ranging from a fresh and fruity three-month old to a rounded and aromatic 18-month old. Although common amongst Belgian beers, bottle maturation has never been communicated single-mindedly by any one brand. This presented a great opportunity for St. Stefanus to behave more like a fine wine than a beer, command a higher price point and connect with the most discerning of drinkers.
The challenge was to create brand assets, which would allow St Stefanus to be discovered by true beer connoisseurs. We needed to bring them into the St Stefanus story without it feeling like they were being lectured or marketed to – they want to discover great beers for themselves. Everything had to feel ‘authentic’, small batch and true to the monastic origins of the beer.
Our solution was to create carefully crafted assets, from materials that belong to the monastery and beer cellar: crates and blocks made from aged wood, cast-iron keys repurposed as bottle openers and parchment paper used to create taste tags and food pairing menus. Collectively they are designed to pique interest about the beer’s age and changing taste; they also encourage dialogue with bartenders and specialist beer retailers. In this way beer connoisseurs can piece together the facts from trusted experts and in turn, become custodians of the St. Stefanus story, inspired to share their discoveries among their peers.