At less than two years old, Erich and Kallman has already picked up liquor and wine accounts. Now the San Francisco shop is getting into the beer business, as agency-of-record for Fat Tire. New Belgium, one the nation's largest craft brewers, has chosen the agency to handle strategy, creative and package design for its most important brew. Erich and Kallman will also handle the brewer's Dayblazer golden ale.
The agency, founded early last year by former Goodby, Silverstein & Partners Execuive Creative DIrector Eric Kallman and ex-CP&B President Steven Erich, already handles Astral tequila and Noble Vines wine, in addition to several General Mills brands.
Kyle Bradshaw, New Belgium's director of brands, in an email interview said the agency "displayed a great understanding of our company ethos, which will always be at the heart of any New Belgium creative work. They are small, nimble but also a creative powerhouse, which is exactly what we need in the ever-evolving craft beer landscape." The brewer has used a variety of agencies over the years, as well as relying on what Bradshaw described as "our deep pool of in-house talent."
"It's always good to get new eyes on our branding, so this is a continuation of our long-running process in that regard," he said.
The craft beer segment, while still growing, has cooled. Production volume in the first half of the year grew 5 percent, trailing the 8 percent growth pace set at the same time last year, according to the Brewers Association. In the 52 weeks ending Oct. 8, New Belgium's dollar sales grew 4 percent to $205.3 million, according to IRI, which does not include bar sales.
"While there are headwinds, we still see growth in the craft segment and New Belgium is trending slightly ahead of the industry right now," Bradshaw said. "That said, the landscape is more competitive than ever which means you have to stay on point and ahead of the game."
The Colorado-based brewer has has experienced some executive turnover of late. Steve Fechheimer, former chief strategy officer at Beam Suntory, came aboard as CEO in the summer, replacing Christine Perish, who left in November last year. Ruairi Twomey, who was named the brewer's VP of marketing in March of last year, departed earlier this year. Jenn Vervier took over as interim marketing VP.
Like most craft brands, New Belgium has not spent much on measured media. In 2016, the brewer spent just $97,900, which was down from $341,400 in 2015, according to Kantar Media. Asked if the brewer plans to spend more, Bradshaw said, "we'll do what's right for New Belgium and our brands. First and foremost, we want to approach our marketing with a fresh perspective to generate big, breakthrough ideas that still stay true to who we are as an independent, employee-owned craft brewery."