Lion Lager Retro Evening @ SAB – Celebrating Brands Past

I saw in my Twitter timeline today that some lucky people in Cape Town were having some kind of Lion Lager Retro evening, which I was not invited to, celebrating brands past. Having studied branding myself, this is one re-branding exercise that I will never forget!!!

I saw in my Twitter timeline today that some lucky people in Cape Town were having some kind of Lion Lager Retro evening (which I was not invited to) celebrating brands past. Having studied branding myself, this is one re-branding exercise that I will never forget! My uncle was THE most loyal Lion Lager drinker you get, and, my dad having worked at SAB has told me all about the story! Therefore, whenever the brand is even whispered near me, I perk my head up to join in the conversation.

This is the only picture I was able to find of the re-branded Lion Lager packaging. Don't you think it fits in perfectly? Pffft

Who in their right mind changes the colours of a brand that is over 114 years old? Lion Lager was always known as one of the traditional leaders in the SA beer market, but after their horrific re-branding adventure, it was to be no more. After almost 115 years the brand was taken off the shelves as not only sales, but more so loyal Lion Lager drinkers, started changing their brands. Now wonder, how did they even recognise their favourite product on the shelf?

@stepinside drinking a Lion Lager Retro they managed to source from Zim! Lucky bastards...

For those of you that don’t know, Lion was always traditionally red and gold (similar to that of the Castle). In came a new brand manager who changed the brands colours (to blue and silver), design and packaging. It is said they changed the product in an attempt to attract a younger market. This did not go down well with the Lion loyalists, and rightly so. Changing a brands’ colour’s is a big no no when it comes to altering the design/packaging!!! Could you ever imagine McDonald’s changing their colours to blue and silver? I don’t think so… Don’t forget that Lion Lager was also once a proud sponsor of the Bokke, as you will see from a TwitPic I have uploaded below from the Retro evening event!

I am struggling to find a picture of the rebranded version of the product for my write up though? Did they get it all removed from the net, or was the transition so crap that they didn’t even get a chance to capture the product in store, before it was taken of the shelves? If anyone finds a picture of the Lion Lager blue and silver can/bottle please send it to me at! Raise your glasses to the biggest re-branding fail in the history of the SA beer industry!

There is even a group on Facebook rallying to "Bring Back Lion Lager".

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11 Responses to “Lion Lager Retro Evening @ SAB – Celebrating Brands Past” Subscribe

  1. CampsBay.Com May 25, 2011 at 9:13 pm #

    Where in the world is this facebook groups link – I want to join

    • Mr. Cape Town May 26, 2011 at 9:05 am #

      HAHA I will look for it today, I just typed in Lion Lager and that was the front picture of the group. Definitely an opportunity to maybe re-introduce a nostalgic market challenger to a somewhat crowded SA beer industry!

  2. Michael Melnick May 25, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

    Being a Lion drinker in the old days, I monitored its downfall. Lion was number 1 or 2, but then in later years slipped to number 4. So instead of just accepting that it was still a big seller, SAB came up with the numb skull idea of not only changing the label, but also the taste. Wanting it to appeal to ………….well to who, I do not know.
    So they lost their remaining loyal Lion drinkers, and the brand died.

    • Mr. Cape Town May 26, 2011 at 9:07 am #

      Yeah. Big pity, it was one of the first beers that ever touched my lips when I was about 7 :p Their pay-off line if I am not mistaken changed to “Less Bitter”. That is like changing to taste of Castle because Black Label took over the Market Leader position. Daft really?

  3. Michael Melnick May 26, 2011 at 4:20 pm #

    Their slogan…………….Down a Lion, feel satisfied.

  4. Bernie Kruger October 11, 2011 at 10:30 am #

    I stared a new page on FB, looks like the other one died or was removed.

  5. Rapelang October 12, 2014 at 9:41 am #

    We’re waiting for the LION lager to be in the outlets in Mahikeng

  6. Lihwa December 5, 2014 at 10:12 am #

    I go to Zimbabwe occasionally just to drink lion lager, still in original packaging. I have a friend who worked at Delta (SAB equivalent) in Zim and he gave me a few conspiracy theories as to why SAB is reluctant to bring back the brand although it has had a continued success in Zim where they never rebranded it.

  7. Willem Cecchi January 4, 2015 at 10:19 am #

    Had some Lion these holidays, did not disappoint!

  8. Vutzarco May 23, 2015 at 12:32 am #

    I kept a bottle of the rebranded bottle of Lion Lager as soon as I heard it was going off the market. It has funny things floating in it now so won’t be sampling it! If you still want a pic let me know.

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