Newcastle Brown Ale is getting a facelift.
The brand, created in England by Lieutenant Colonel Jim Porter in 1927, exploded in popularity after it was purchased by Heineken in 2008, largely due to a national advertising campaign that saw it use celebrities and tongue-and-cheek self-awareness. But the last few years haven’t been kind to Newcastle.
“Whether it’s the rise of craft, a focus on different business priorities, or what have you, we took our foot off the pedal,” said Amy Tay, brand director for Newcastle Brown Ale. “A little bit of the brand has been lost over the last few years.”
Globally, sales of Newcastle have plummeted. Even 5 years ago, the brand was close to 7 million cases — today, they’re at around 2 million.
“We recognized that we needed to do something drastic,” Tay said.
The answer came to Newcastle when they partnered with Lagunitas, another Heineken brand, to make a new beer for the U.S. market. The Lagunitas Brewing Company, which was founded in 1993 in Lagunitas, California, sold a 50% stake in the company to Heineken International in 2015 and the remaining 50% in 2017. They have brewing operations in Petaluma, California, and Chicago, Illinois.