Asahi Group

Lining Up The Beers

Portfolio planning in the premium beer category...

Standing Out In Crowded Spaces

The Asahi Group is assembling an impressive range of beers: Peroni, Meantime, Grolsch, Pilsner Urquell and, of course, Asahi itself. But the challenge is how you build in a unique value to each brand – a narrative and a position, a consumer type and an occasion – which sets them apart from each other; and that therefore totals as a culturally relevant and commercially sound portfolio.

When all of your beers fall broadly into the space marked ‘premium’ that takes careful design, robust strategic thinking and authentically gathered insights. Here’s an overview of our work on two of these brands.


The focus with Meantime, one of the UK’s strongest craft offerings, was on:

developing a credible position that leveraged the brewery’s London heritage

+ mapping the craft beer landscape – the visual and messaging codes, through to taste and flavour – to help define what’s essentially a new beer category, called global craft

uncovering a clear audience type and unique occasion within Asahi Group’s premium beer portfolio

Meantime Methods

Our work involved semiotics, cultural analysis, expert interviews, groups and ethnography in France, Netherlands, Canada, Italy and the UK. But as importantly, it centred on devising narratives and territories to test.


With the famous swing-top beer, the priority was:

+ finding a globally relevant position for a brand that had started to represent different things in different places

+ exploring brand heritage – assessing the currency of Grolsch’s back catalogue of innovation and passion for beer

uncovering a clear audience type and unique occasion within Asahi Group’s premium beer portfolio

Grolsch Methods & Outcomes

Conducting the work in Canada, Netherlands, Japan, France, Italy, Romania and Argentina, a range of methods were called into play – semiotics, cultural analysis, expert/influencer interviews and ethnography.

A consumer tension was identified, an audience typology shaped up and a challenger brand strategy devised. Creative agencies were then briefed and a new global communications plan was developed. Finally, we tested the early stage creative globally via an online community, using both system one and system two measures to gauge to what extent it met with the strategic ambition and the primary consumer needs.

“I worked with Crowd DNA on evaluating a new creative direction and supporting executions for one of our global premium lager brands. We co-developed a way of testing a huge amount of material, getting both system one and system two reactions, across a seven day online community in five countries. I have nothing but praise for the team, who showed a real collaborative spirit when working together on both the methodology and the interpretation of the results. Their final recommendations and presentation were intelligent, actionable and clearly delivered. It has been great to partner with Crowd DNA on this important strategic work."
Paul Thomas, global head of insight, Asahi