Mac's has undergone something of facelift, which has seen the brand livery across its range of beers and ciders change. And this news has also coincided with the announcement that Mac's drinkers will now have seven new options to choose from.
These newcomers consist of two new beers (Three Wolves pale ale and Green Beret Indian pale ale), four new ciders (Cloudy Apple, Chilli and Lime, Blood Orange and Cardamom, and Cranberry and ginger) and an upcoming light beer called Mid Vicious, which will be available on tap.
To make way for these new products, Mac's will be retiring its Shady pale ale.
All other existing beers will be transferred into the new packaging, developed by Dow Design, over the course of March.
Dave Pearce, Lion's category marketing director for wine, cider and craft, said that the new look aims to give a nod to the history of brand.
"We’ve added some stories on the bottles and packs that talk about our history and some of the unique things about Mac’s, like our unusual ribbed bottle and rip cap, and we’ve also added ‘Since 1981’ to our main logo," Pearce says. "We wanted to give each beer a bit more of its own personality, so we’ve added a distinctive icon for each one, which all tell a bit of the story behind that beer. For example Three Wolves is named after the three hops we use in this beer – the Latin word for hops translates as ‘wolf of the woods’, and there are two American hops and one New Zealand one, and so the wolves are ‘dressed’ to reflect that.
The new packaging also features other elements such as medal tags and a flavour scale to help consumers choose according to their preferences. The scale runs from one through seven, rating the beers from 'quenching' (beers that are crisp, clean, refreshing and lighter in flavour) to 'savouring' (beers that have more complex or intense flavours).
"Of course there is a lot more to styles of beer than can be reflected in a simple scale, so for those wanting more info we also provide info on the suggested serving temperature and glassware, and list the IBU (a measurement of bitterness/hoppiness) on the packs, and we’ll have more info on ingredients, tasting notes and so forth on the website," explains Pearce.
To accompany the launch of the new branding, Mac's has released a Shine-created outdoor campaign and will next week also update its website with a new design by Young & Shand.
"Comms focuses on introducing the new beers and ciders – we love the new members of the family so wanted to make sure we let people know about them," says Pearce. "There is also a ‘family’ execution showing all of our range coming up, and some of the digital executions feature some of the old favourites as well as the new products."
The move to launch four new ciders as well as a light beer also makes commercial sense for Mac's, given the growth of these two categories in the Kiwi market.
Over the course of the last three years, cider sales have increased significantly, with Nielsen's supermarket sales stats showing that overall cider sales have increased from $29.7 million for the year ended 27 January 2013 to $47 million for the year ended 25 January 2015.
Furthermore, the recent reduction in the alcohol limit is expected to result in an increase in the sale of light beers in bars in much the same way that it did in the Australian market. According to Lion's category manager Ben Wheeler, this has already seen Steinlager's Premium light beer experience double-digit growth since the laws changed. And should this trend continue, then the Mid Vicious tap beer could prove a profitable addition for Mac's.