Why Oskar Blues Leans into Dale’s Branding

When your company gets almost known more for a brand name rather than the company name, why not lean into it? Recently, craft beer has seen this shift as New Belgium has really built a brand in Voodoo Ranger while Deschutes now has more than one Dead Guy-branded beer past its original Maibock.

It’s the direction that Oskar Blues is taking with its ever-popular Dale’s Pale Ale now and armed with a campaign slogan and a range of ABVs, the Dale’s line is moving forward with an American Light Lager to compliment the original Dale’s and the newer Dale’s Double IPA.

Dale’s Double IPA was released in January of 2022 as a part of the company’s 20th CANiversary celebration for Dale’s Pale Ale. 

“This broke the seal on Dale’s being just one beer,” said Aaron Baker, Oskar Blues Marketing Manager. “By the middle of 2022, a light lager named Dale’s seemed a logical addition to round out a lineup of no-nonsense, American craft beers.”

The strategic move, the company said in a release, is driven by consumer cravings for familiar brands across the category and based on Oskar Blues’ 2022 sales data, which shows that Dale’s has a built-in and loyal fanbase. The Dale’s family represents well over 50% of the portfolio and continues to grow.

“We’re excited to build on the recognition of Dale’s as a groundbreaking American craft beer by bringing together three steadfast and no-nonsense beers under a name that sends us into the future while celebrating our past,” Baker said. “It may say Oskar Blues on the door of our breweries but make no mistake: Dale’s is the name this place was built on.”

While the Dale’s family is a priority, legacy offerings like Mama’s Little Yella Pils (Bohemian Pilsner), Old Chub (Scotch Ale), and Ten FIDY (Imperial Stout) continue to be an important part of the Oskar Blues portfolio. The origin story of Dale’s Light Lager begins with the brew team, who wanted a beer they could drink after their shifts.

The brewing techniques used to develop it are the culmination of years of experimentation with Lagers, the very first of which was Mama’s Little Yella Pils. 

“Mama’s is a Pilsner through and through, so it contains the classic hoppiness of European pilsners with an American sensibility for thirst-quenching,” Baker said about adding another Lager to the portfolio. “Dale’s Light Lager is lighter on the hops and even more crisp. We like to say that it is supremely crushable.” 

A new “Seize the Dale’s” campaign serves as a call to action for new consumers and loyalists alike to choose Dale’s for all occasions, Baker said. The Dale’s branding has also become a sponsor of the Colorado Rapids MLS soccer team with brand placement on signage and products throughout the stadium, including a Dale’s-branded bar and patio. Dale’s will also be featured at high-profile events including the 2023 National Tough Mudder series.

“‘Seize the Dale’s’ captures the feeling of that decision to put craft beer in a can back in 2002 — a notion considered ridiculous at the time, but which went on to change the entire beer business,” Baker said. “We want Dale’s drinkers to get that same feeling in their own lives. Don’t waste time fussing over which of the 12,000 cartoon-emblazoned IPAs-of-the-week to buy at the store. That’s time you could be drinking and getting back to what you actually care about in life — whatever risk-taking, boundary-stomping activities you like to do.”

Expanding format options was also key in the release of the new look cans: blue for Dale’s Pale Ale; white for Dale’s Light Lager; and red for Dale’s Double IPA. Adding these in 19.2 oz packaging along with creating a 15-can multi-pack are all part of giving consumers choice.

“We think offering Dale’s in 19.2 oz single serve cans will appeal to folks who may be looking to try something new and appreciates the quality and consistency that is synonymous with the Dale’s name,” Baker said. “Our 19.2 oz cans are the perfect opportunity to encourage trial at the store, which we hope will lead folks to consider buying a larger format multi-pack next time they make a beer run. 

“The new Dale’s mixed pack is a great way for consumers to enjoy all three Dale’s beers. We firmly believe that 15 beers are definitely better than 12. That’s just math. These packages are new-to-market, and so far, so good.”

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