Big Rock calls out what’s ‘real’ about its hard tea

Calgary's largest brewer is taking a craft-centric approach to its White Peaks brand to pursue more RTD growth.

It’s tea time for Big Rock Brewery.

Calgary’s largest brewer is making further inroads into the ready-to-drink space with its White Peaks brand, and is pushing its four-SKU fruit-based steeped tea line in Western Canada with a shopper program, with plans for more seasonal tea-based offerings down the line.

In store, White Peaks has got large displays and shelf talkers (see, above) and it’s doing lots of contesting over the summer, says Hayley Ballinger, Big Rock’s director of marketing. This includes launching a paddleboard QR code-based contest, but it’s not necessarily about being outdoorsy, Ballinger notes. It’s more about positioning White Peaks around hobbies, indoor and out, with future tie-ins to lifestyle hobbies like knitting coming shortly, amplified on social.

Hard teas, Ballinger says, is part of Big Rock’s response to steady declines in beer consumption in recent years, but still incorporates the brewer’s craft-centric ethos.

“Instead of just doing traditional beer innovation, our CEO said we are going to look into other spaces, and tea was a category that’s up-and-coming,” Ballinger says. She adds that tea has antioxidant properties and other health benefits that are on-trend with consumers looking for “better-for-you” beverages.


White Peaks celebrates Big Rock’s Rocky Mountain roots with peaks as a design feature, and by prominently displaying that it’s steeped in glacial meltwater. The use of natural spring water and natural sugar cane, Ballinger says, is to stay in that better-for-you category. The fact that it uses actual steeped tea –  brewing homemade, 56 kilogram tea bags in big vats – is called out across campaign creative, which also includes OOH placements.

One of the other things Big Rock wanted to do was speak to a younger demo, what it calls “socialites,” who are health conscious and more involved in digital media.

The brand also wants the fruit flavours to come through – Ballinger says consumers might be a bit tired of more lightly flavoured vodka soda waters currently on the market. Putting those fruits on a white can alongside the blue skies and mountains of Alberta, helping stand out in a category Ballinger says is “pretty much yellow.”

The flavour combinations from the different SKUs, were made into a rainbow design feature. It’s both to bring the flavours together, but also to give it a slightly 70s retro feel.

Big Rock is working with agency LPI Group on the campaign, a relationship established roughly eight months ago, developing all branding and helping the brewer flesh out the campaign strategy.