Granville Island Brewing
Credit: Granville Island Brewing

The Vancouver institution is changing up its brand for the second time in just over three years 

The name and brand advantage that one of Canada’s oldest microbreweries has had on newcomers has slowly but surely run out over time.  

Started in 1984, Granville Island Brewing has been an institution since its inception. For a long while, it represented the best opportunity for adventurous drinkers to experience something beyond the mass produced likes of Molson and Kokanee. (Sure, that distinction narrowed a bit when GIB was bought by Molson in 2009, but still.) 

But these days it’s been harder and harder for Granville Island Brewing to keep its long-standing foothold in the market. An effort was made in 2019 to rebrand the inside and outside of the brewery’s cans with progressive, quality beers like a west coast IPA. It’s hard to tell whether that rebranding moved the needle for the brewery at all, or whether the beers that GIB made its name on, like the popular Lions Winter Ale and the False Creek Raspberry Ale, were still the main draw.  

Based on this week’s news, the latter is probably true. The company has announced another inside-and-out rebranding, featuring a new can design, three new beers and the return of an old favourite in the Island Lager.  

Granville Island BrewingGranville Island Brewing

Notable in this design is the use of parts of Vancouver in the branding, as the new beers include the English Bay Ale, the Kitsilano Juicy IPA, and the Brockton West Coast IPA, all representing, according to a release, “popular Vancouver neighbourhoods that can be seen from the brewery.” 

It won’t be easy for Granville Island to recapture its former foothold on the market, but we’ll see if a hefty dose of nostalgia and a focus on the city itself is enough.  

“When we were reimagining our visual identity, we really considered the connection Granville Island Brewing has to people who live here and the unique passions that tie them together,” said Granville Island Brewing brand manager Brendan Dalton in a release.

“People who live in B.C have a love for craft beer that goes hand-in-hand with their passion for getting out, and doing the things they love; whether that’s playing volleyball at the beach, or skiing the slopes of the North Shore, and of course enjoying a beer afterwards. This insight really played into our new brand direction, and you’ll see it reflected in the new packaging.”