In The Meantime

Creative Director Ian Langlois discovers an unexpected brand asset that carries exceptional value.


It’s October. It’s a pilgrimage to England’s capital. Six lads from the length and breadth of Britain pay homage to the great commercial giant of NFL at Wembley Stadium. It’s a Sunday afternoon kick-off and America’s most loved sport rolls into town with a swagger. But the lads hit London early on Friday evening... how will they occupy themselves in the meantime? Therein lies the answer... in the Meantime


Where else would you find The Meantime Brewery other than in Greenwich? But you’ll find its well-branded products invading supermarkets nationally. And you bet it’s pleasing the pallette of many a man. I first came across Yakima Red, one of Meantime’s core beers, when we trawled a few bottles into the agency on a Friday afternoon to celebrate some significant moment in our history. It became an instant fruity favourite. But something other than the beer attracted me to the product. It was the elegant, yet playful, nature of the brand, conveyed not only through the distinct and clear graphics, but the ‘cool’ lines of the traditional bottle that the guys like, and the slender sexy bottle that (I’m guessing) the girls are probably attracted to. This is a brand worth exploring.


And so it was, just a few months later I found myself at the brewery gates. The pre-cursor to the Jaguars v Colts Wembley encounter was a planned two-hour tour. And what a tour it was? Perhaps we were just lucky to be in the tow of a guide who was a truly great brand ambassador. Big Al was big in just about every sense - stature, character, knowledge, comedy, memory. As the first hour of beer tasting disappeared down the hatch, Big Al had assessed each of the 25 or so individuals in his charge. No one escaped his observations and we all had a turn at being the butt of his quips. He even referenced other groups as they passed by the windowed tasting room. After sampling a good few beers we had to do a little walking, but the entertainment intensity never wavered. What a bonus to have an extra 45 minutes tagged onto the tour because the man simply loves his task and loves the brand he represents.


Before we left the premises, not only were there more opportunities to taste the plethora of wares, we were also faced with a bevy of quality branded merchandise in Meantime’s signature black packaging. We couldn’t resist a few frosted beer glasses and a pack of cards in which, you’ve guessed it, the picture cards are a collection of their finest, including my old friend Yakima Red that started me on this journey.


So, was the tour really the ‘warm-up’ act? Hardly. The Wembley game may have been great drama, the Jaguars only just held on for the win after being comfortably ahead at half-time. But the weekend belonged to Big Al and The Meantime Brewery. This is an excellent brand that has expertly crafted products. But the branding has been expertly crafted too. Not just in two dimensional graphics and the tone of the copy on a bottle, but extravagantly through Big Al and his tours. He epitomises the brand through his script and his talented delivery. Further proof that the art of good branding is multi-dimensional, working through many and varied channels.


Take a look at the Meantime brand at