Cowan London breathes new life into Billson’s brewery

31 January 2019

Independent, international design agency Cowan London today unveils the brand identity and packaging design for Billson’s new range of all natural small-batch sodas – part of a bigger project to rejuvenate one of Australia’s oldest drinks manufacturers.

A new chapter

It was way back in 1865 when Englishman George Billson first started making drinks from the exceptionally pure Alpine spring water rising from the ground at Beechworth, northeast Victoria. They’re still doing it today, making Billson’s one of the longest continuing beverage manufacturers in Australia.

In 2017 new owners came in, inspired by this heritage and eager to breathe new life into the brewery. The new all-natural range of five lightly sparking, 100% natural sodas is made from local fruits and herbs mixed with the pure spring water that still flows from the brewery’s onsite well.

Design to match a product

Billson’s marketing manager, Julia Vesval, says: “With the launches earlier in 2018 of our classic cordials and sodas we delivered a clear heritage and provenance story to consumers. For the new soda range, we needed Cowan to design packaging that would hit the flavour and natural cues, whilst also making our existing heritage brand story relevant for a contemporary audience.”

These are cans fizzing and popping with fresh, fruity flavours. Contemporary illustrations of the locally-sourced fruits are set against brightly-coloured pearlised backgrounds. The brand leads boldly on pack, supported by the ‘small batch’ message before proudly introducing the unique recipes.

Samantha Dumont, creative director at Cowan London, says: “Designing for this new, contemporary range was an interesting challenge and we took a fresh approach, using a clearly differentiated design strategy to set this range apart from the classic ranges.”

Entrepreneurial design

The launch of the all-natural fruit sodas is one part of a remarkable series of launches. 2018 kicked off with the still and sparkling Alpine spring waters, and was soon followed by 15 traditional and six contemporary cordials. Throughout 2019, we will see the brewery roll out tonic waters, beers, ciders, and even gins.

Foundations for the future

The new team at Billson’s has a passion for both the history and future potential of the brewery. Looking ahead, it plans to turn the site into a destination venue for the growing numbers of tourists visiting the historic town of Beechworth, drawn by local wine producers and other ‘foodie’ attractions, including Billson’s.

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