This article examines the creation of a national beer brand in Canada. It analyses the challenges faced by the marketing managers at John Labatt Limited ‒ one of Canada’s oldest and most successful brewers ‒ in solving the ‘national lager problem’ (i.e. the inability of Labatt’s ‘Pilsener’ to capture a significant share of the Canadian market). It examines how executives use marketing knowledge to recreate brand identities. It argues that the rebranding of ‘Pilsener’ as ‘Blue’ was successful because Labatt’s managers fashioned a new brand identity that downplayed the ‘ethnic’ heritage of the brand by appealing to a new ‘Canadian’ cosmopolitan modernity.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Advertising, beer, brands, Canada, John Labatt Limited, Labatt Blue
Persistent URL
Journal Business History
Bellamy, M. (2017). The making of Labatt ‘Blue’: The quest for a national lager brand, 1959–1971. Business History, 1–28. doi:10.1080/00076791.2017.1310195