Kona Brewing Rebranded As Kona Big Wave In Premiumization Move

, Kona Brewing Rebranded As Kona Big Wave In Premiumization Move

(Courtesy Anheuser-Busch)

Anheuser-Bush is giving one of its bestselling “craft beer” properties, a lifestyle rebranding update. But there’s strategy here, that’s a little more involved than an image refresh.

Here’s the deal…

Kona Brewing’s history is long and storied. What started as a pure craft beer play, that became part of a collection of craft breweries which was eventually acquired by the nation’s #1 brewer, Anheuser-Busch.

And now, Kona Brewing has been renamed Kona Big Wave to capitalize the fact on that it has consistently out-performed most beers in the slowing craft beer sector, and to position it as a premium brand, rather than craft beer option.

This transition, which includes a new logo and updated packaging, comes as AB InBev furthers its attention towards “premiumization.” The company reported a 13.2% revenue increase in Q1 of 2023, citing the company’s premiumization efforts as part of the success.

, Kona Brewing Rebranded As Kona Big Wave In Premiumization Move

(Courtesy of Anheuser-Busch InBev)

Basically Anheuser-Busch is whitewashing the brand’s craft beer roots, which is understandable with the craft beer sector aging, and hoping to grow its sales as a premium beer.

But even though the brand is shedding its craft beer roots, Kona Big Wave is, if anything, emphasizing its island heritage.

Kona Brewing Company was founded by father and son team Cameron Healy and Spoon Khalsa in 1994 to capture reflect the spirit, culture, and beauty of Hawaii in beer and Kona Big Wave’s new campaign which is built around the Hawaiian concept of “the spirit of Aloha,” certainly does that.

“Kona Big Wave has always been beloved for its authentic connection to the Hawaiian lifestyle and its easy-drinking, island-inspired taste,” said Meredith Ruskin, vice president of marketing for Kona Big Wave. “Now, with a modernized brand look and a new campaign that celebrates and shares stories of the Aloha spirit, we will be able to ‘Bring the Aloha’ to even more fans around the country.”

Expect to see four campaign spots which celebrate Kona Big Wave’s new name and branding — “Mean Mug,” “Dad’s Chair,” “Standoff” and “Noisy Neighbors,’ which were all shot on the island of Oahu.

But ironically, as Marketing Dive astutely points out, although AB InBev now own the rights to the “island” brand. “In 49 states and internationally, PV Brewing Partners owns the Hawaii branch of Kona.”


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