Kronenbourg samples a new approach for the holidays

To capitalize on growing "year-round" beer consumption, Carlsberg has been enforcing a premium positioning by activating at holiday markets.


Carlsberg is activating outside of the traditional summer months, using the wintry backdrop of a Christmas market to showcase its wheat beer’s premium status.

The brewer has partnered with Cluny, a French restaurant in Toronto’s Distillery District to sample its flagship Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc. It’s also activating a moving billboard throughout the neighborhood to create a personalized connection to the brand.

Alistair Kidd, marketing director at Carlsberg Group, tells strategy Cluny is a premium dining experience highlighting great French cuisine and the partnership with hero line 1664 Blanc is a great way to showcase the premium brand’s image.

“For 1664 Blanc, experiential marketing and sampling is a proven growth driver for the brand the world over and we have done lots of this in Canada,” says Kidd, adding that this time of year – when the neighborhood’s popular holiday market draws big crowds – gives the brand added visibility.


The goal is to recruit new and infrequent 1664 Blanc consumers to the brand as people make their holiday celebrations plans. The holidays have not typical been viewed as a beer-drinking season, when people tend to turn to wine and liqueurs, but that is changing in the mind of consumers, and enforcing a premium positioning taps into that while still providing something special for festive occasions.

As part of its “always on” ethos, the brand has been running digital, social and out of home media, mainly in Quebec and Ontario, throughout the summer and extending it into the fall and winter to try and keep our brands top of mind with shoppers and consumers.

“What we changed is the timing,” Kidd points out. “Beer is consumed year round and so with these changing trends we believe that we need to connect with consumers year round as well, not just in the summer.”

According to Kidd, 1664 Blanc is the hero SKU for activations like this because its distinctive blue bottle is recognizable around the world and stands out in ads and across social media.

However, Kidd points out that the bottle format isn’t the biggest selling SKU. Canadian consumers and retailers have moved to more cans over the last 15 years and, like most beer brands in the market, most of Carlsberg’s sales are from this format.

Canada is one of the biggest markets for 1664 Blanc and there was an desire to “over-invest,” Kidd says, particularly as 1664 Blanc remains a challenger brand that looks and tastes different to most beers. Kidd reports “continued good sales for 1664 Blanc in retail” and is looking for its on-premise sales to pick up after a challenging past 24 months.

Carlsberg has also launched 1664 Blanc 0.5% Beer this year to tap growing opportunities in the Alcohol Free beer market

Vibrant Marketing is Carlsberg Canada’s AOR for shopper and experiential.