Rickard’s says hallo with Lederhosen

People weren't exactly demanding an Oktoberfest-style lager. But the Molson Coors line tried it anyway.
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The first thing Jodi Jahnke, assistant marketing manager for Rickard’s, Molson Coors, has to remind herself each new season is that not everyone is going to like her latest product.

She, of course, is talking about the seasonal lines for the beer brands, which roll out each fall, winter and summer. This time around, Rickards is unveiling an Oktoberfest-style lager to the masses. Previous lines have included shandies (beer and lemonade) and spiced beers.

“You could bring out the best beer since sliced bread, but at the end of the day it’s a little more seasonal, a little more targeted,” she says. “We accept that. But the point is, we don’t create beer for the masses. We try to create beer we think is cool because Rickard’s has a love of beer and an affinity to the innovation brewing process.”

The whole purpose of the seasonal lines, which started rolling out in 2012, is to emphasize this love of beer – a core tenant in the Rickard’s brand, she says. About a year prior to launch, the team, working with the brewers, looks at the beers that are gaining steam, areas that no one is playing in and other trends in the industry. It does so without the help of reams of data, relying more on the marketers’ and brewers’ taste profiles to help create the new beer (craft brewers have become a huge source of inspiration). Sometimes, like the shandy, the beer is on-trend; other times the brand team pulls something from left field. Basically, they create beers they like, she says.

“There’s not a lot of domestic Oktoberfest-style lagers but people weren’t exactly knocking on our door for that,” she says.

For this fall’s offering, they decided they wanted to celebrate beer, so she says it made sense to tap into the biggest beer celebration in the world. Many of the marketing team members went to school in the Kitchener-Waterloo region – the site of the second-largest Oktoberfest in the world, she adds – so they were excited to get involved in the annual festival.

The new lager, Lederhosen, with creative and packaging by Rethink and media by MEC, will focus a lot of its energy getting folks to pick it up at shelves. (She says a lot of time was spent getting the Bavarian-inspired packaging right). “At the end of the day, there are so many awesome beers out there and so many things on shelf – but that’s the one spot you can truly talk to consumers on a one-to-one level and show people that we’re kind of cool,” she says.

Supporting wild postings heroize the packaging, while a big focus will be on attending Oktoberfests across the country. Creative soft-launched in August, but is ramping up now and through October. It targets everyone who loves beer, she says, and will live through until November.