Castle Milk Stout: Repositioning - Go Back


For years Castle Milk Stout was known as an old man’s beer, and the brand was neglected from a marketing communication perspective. As a consequence of that the brand took on a life of its own amongst consumers and Castle Milk Stout became the enclave of migrant labourers in SA, who were steeped in rural traditions, and also became the symbol of masculinity due to it being a strong beer. Castle Milk Stout’s corporate identity eventually revolved around the black bull – a symbol of wisdom, strength and  community.


A decision was eventually taken by SAB to have some marketing focus on Castle Milk Stout as it was seen as a strategic alcoholic brand within their portfolio of brands. They needed people’s perceptions about the brand to change, as there was a valid concern regarding the growth of the brand. This was largely due to the fact that for a long period the brands growth was stagnant. As a result, Castle Milk Stout had seen no growth and was not able to attract new consumers. In order to achieve sustainable growth Castle Milk Stout needed to appeal to a younger, trendier audience and talk to them in their language. Aside from that, it also needed to educate all the consumers new and old about this category of beers.

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The strategy was based on a key learning from insights that, because of the fast paced lifestyle that most people lead there was no time to pause and connect with close friends and appreciate things of value.

Boomtown Strategic Brand Agency needed to develop an occasion for drinking Castle Milk Stout with a new positioning that was grounded in the notion that people need to slow down to appreciate the things in life of real value, and that Castle Milk Stout will be the alcoholic beverage that provides the pause to connect and unwind. A new manifesto and a brand ladder were drawn up, from which a new strap line “There is a Journey in Every Moment” was conceptualized. This was also followed by a ritual to help facilitate drinking the brand, “Pour Pause Sip Enjoy”. Based on this platform, Castle Milk Stout associated itself to an Unwind occasion, where people take time to enjoy things of great meaning in their lives and they pause to connect with close friends.


Boomtown, together with the brand team of the above-the-line Agency, Metropolitan Republic, implemented a new strategic brand positioning through-the line, which positions the product in a more premium manner and connects with the aspirations of the new high-flyer target market.

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Integral in the brand development, Boomtown’s responsibilities on the Castle Milk Stout brand include below-the-line design of all marketing material, activating the brand in outlets, running national sales promotions and out-of-outlet experiential events to launch the new brand intrinsic and extrinsic.

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