JDO Brand Design & Innovation has continued its partnership with Shepherd Neame, the Kent based UK brewery, this time refreshing its Master Brew ale brand.

The new design celebrates the brand’s heritage as The Original Kentish Ale: the only UK beer style protected by the EU.

Shepherd Neame briefed JDO to update and modernise the Master Brew design. Spitfire and Bishops Finger, the brewery’s other mainstream brands have both recently been revamped. Spitfire, also redesigned by JDO, is seen as a British icon, while Bishops Finger is known for its heritage. Master Brew needed to be known as a Kentish icon.

The creative team looked to the Shepherd Neame archives for inspiration and found some gems. The new design includes a photograph from 1905 of hop-pickers at Shepherd Neame’s hop farm, Queen Court. Thousands of families from London enjoyed annual ‘hopping’ holidays to the Kent countryside until the mid 20th century – a tradition that continues to be celebrated at the town’s annual Hop Festival.

The use of photography along with the brand signature green offset with a more subtle, silver and cream colour palette has allowed JDO to create a beautiful new presentation complete with clean, modern sans serif typography and silver key lines. The new design stands proud, elevates this unique brand to its rightful position and reinforces and delivers refreshment cues.

The design also references Faversham as the The Home of the Hop, acknowledging the town’s position as a world-centre for hop growing. Shepherd Neame is the only brewer in the UK able to call its beer ‘Kentish Ale’, a style of beer that is afforded Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) from the European Union.

Master Brew is brewed in the UK’s last remaining solid oak mash tuns using the finest quality British pale ale, crystal and brown malted barley. In accordance with its PGI, it uses chalk-filtered mineral water from the artesian well deep beneath the brewery and is bittered with archetypal Kentish hops Admiral and Target with later hopping from Goldings for aroma. The ale is Shepherd Neame’s flagship beer in the brewery’s Kentish heartland.

Malcolm Phipps, senior designer at JDO said, “We wanted to improve and elevate Master Brew’s image and transform the brand with a new smart, contemporary look and feel that draws inspiration and design elements from its history. The new presentation remains very much the ale from Kent with ‘The Home of the Hop’ copy serving to remind consumers of its provenance.”

Mark Miller, head of brand marketing at Shepherd Neame said, “This is an exciting time for the Master Brew brand. The new design is clean and confident allowing us to appeal to a new generation of ale drinkers without alienating our very loyal existing customer base.”

The beer is available on cask and in 500ml bottles (at 3.7% and 4% abv respectively) across pub, bars and off licenses across the South East of England.