Iconic Scottish favourite Belhaven Best has been rebranded to help bring out the Best in this much-loved classic ale. The rebrand was carried out after long planning, careful consideration and extensive research to ensure that the brand continues to live up to its name.

The fresh new look helps convey the approachability of this 3.2% ABV wonderfully balanced, refreshing and easy drinking ale. The rebrand also helps celebrate Belhaven Best’s unique story and reflect the changing face of socialising.

Belhaven Brand Manager, Fiona Matheson, comments: “At our heart, we believe in bringing people together over a good pint, as times shared will always be the best. So with this rebrand we set out to make sure that Best continues to bring out the best in every occasion.”

This new branding will be carried right across the world, helping to further develop Scotland’s enviable reputation for fantastic quality products.

To inform the rebranding, Belhaven carried out consumer research among adult drinkers, who confirmed the liquid is sessionable and easy to drink.

New look

The branding has been updated with the addition of ‘Smooth Session Ale’ to the can, the font, lenses etc. to reflect and communicate the liquid inside.

Consumer research completed around the new branding showed clearly that the new design appeals to new audiences without alienating existing Best drinkers.

Best was last redesigned back in 2015 and to create the new look for 2023, Belhaven turned to local Scottish agency Thirst to create a design for the times.

“We wanted to make this iconic legend relevant, approachable and inclusive for the new generation of drinkers,” explains Matheson. “We were looking for a design to challenge the old-fashioned image of ale, communicate freshness and sessionability yet still celebrate Belhaven’s proud heritage and provenance.”

The new design incorporates Belhaven Brewery’s iconic malting chimneys that have been part of the brewery’s history since 1719, more than 300 years ago.

The design also makes a nod to the local town of Dunbar, also known as ‘sunny Dunny’, with the rays of sunshine shining through the chimneys.

Rollout plan

The relaunch of Best will begin in mid-May with around 100 venues per month receiving new fonts, tap handles and keg lenses.

Also available will be comprehensive new POS kits which feature branded glassware, t-shirts, bar runners, drip mats, posters and table talkers.

In addition, the activity will be backed by a strong launch campaign across all media types to ensure that Belhaven is bringing out the Best as effectively as possible.

The campaign will help communicate to consumers that the best times are the ones they spend with friends and family with Best playing a vital role in making those times as memorable as possible.

Growing share

“Over the last year, Best gained share in the Scottish Ale market and with this new rebrand, we hope to continue growing,” comments Matheson. “There is every indication that Best will continue to cement its position as Scotland’s favourite ale.

“It has been a privilege to lead the rebrand project of Scotland’s number one ale. The team at Belhaven have worked on this project for many months and I am very excited to see it come to life in venues across Scotland and further field.

“The new branding captures everything that is fantastic about Best and I believe our customers will really understand and appreciate the subtle nods to our long heritage and our brewery in Dunbar.

“Best is the first product in our portfolio to receive a rebrand and hopefully this sets the precedent for things to come from Belhaven, Scotland’s oldest working brewery. Keep an eye out for more important relaunches in the future.”

Trade benefits

Naturally, the rebrand will also have significant benefits for venues stocking Best by bringing new drinkers to the brand while also helping ensure existing fans remain loyal to their favourite ale.

Indeed, the customer research showed clearly that customers are even more likely to recommend Best to their friends after seeing the new designs.

So while things change, times shared together will always be the Best.

Belhaven Best: Tasting Notes

Belhaven Best is Scotland’s Favourite Ale! Best is an extremely sessionable and refreshing brew at 3.2% ABV. It’s available on smooth keg and widget can, and is brewed from malted barley, fresh local water and our unique Belhaven yeast. A bright amber colour ale with malty aromas all crowned with a smooth creamy head.

Colour: Amber, copper

Nose: Sweet, malty aroma

Taste: Sweet malt, light bitter and refreshing.

“We wanted to make this iconic legend relevant, approachable and inclusive for the new generation of drinkers.”

Fiona Matheson, Belhaven Brand Manager

Belhaven Best Outperforms John Smith’s in Rate of Sale (ROS)

Belhaven Best, a Traditional Keg Ale brand, is gaining market share in Scotland, surpassing the volume of the next four largest brands.

Comparing data from the fourth quarter of 2021 to the same period three years ago (CGA QTR to P11 2022 vs 3YA), Belhaven Best demonstrates a higher rate of sale (ROS) when it is stocked alongside John Smith’s.

In direct comparison, when Belhaven Best and John Smith’s are placed together, Belhaven Best achieves a +46% better ROS than John Smith’s. (ROS vis competition: ROS in comparison to a specific competitor.)

In 2022, a staggering 8.2 million pints of Belhaven Best were sold in the United Kingdom, averaging 15 pints sold every minute!