Volfas Engelman

Brand audit, turnaround strategy, naming, copywriting, supervision of creative implementation

Volfas Engelman — a premium quality, gentlemen’s beer from Kaunas, Lithuania. One of the most prominent and award-winning brand transformation cases in the market.

We started our cooperation with the Ragutis (now called Volfas Engelman) brewery in 2010. At that time, it was the third largest beer producer in Lithuania. Located in Kaunas, the brewery sits in the very heart of the country. The brewery had enormous production capacities, yet their market share was flat.

Management decided it was time for a change and ambitious goals were established to move beyond the status quo and create a breakthrough.

Major issue. The brewery had three major challenges: first, the brewery was seen as a regional producer in the Kaunas region and not as a national competitor. Secondly, there had been issues with brand consistency during the previous decade. And finally, brand perception was suffering from their Soviet heritage.

Strategic discovery. During a collaborative, strategic session with the client, it was clear that there was a good deal of apprehension concerning the amount of change needed in order to move forward. It became clear that the brand needed a fundamental transformation in order to inspire progress.

The key direction to explore was the brewery’s own glorious roots of origin.

Roots of origin. Ragutis’ roots reach back to the establishment of Volfas Engelman in 1853 by merchant Raphail Wolf. In the last decade of the 19th century, Mr. Wolf acquired a brewery owned by Ferdinand Engelmann, and by the 1930s Volfas Engelman became the largest and most successful beer producer in Lithuania. In the early 1940s, the company was nationalized and quickly lost its historical name.

Winning insight. To get back to the roots — to recreate the glorious and most successful period of the brewery’s history. This was the major insight that led to fundamental changes. The first step was to change the name of the brewery back to Volfas Engelman. From here, a new visual identity, line of products, strategy for communication and concrete brand values were established. Other innovative steps, such as the introduction of pint size cans and glass bottles, gave Volfas Engelman a leading edge in the market.

Volfas Engelman was repositioned as an intelligent and authentic brand firmly standing on the pillars of heritage and their place of origin.

Results. The five years after rebranding saw a tremendous increase in sales and brand appreciation. Sales numbers were the highest in the whole Volfas Engelman history. In the annual marketing competition, “Lithuania’s Brand of the Year,” Volfas Engelman won the category of “Most original Brand Vision” (2013). In 2015, just four years after the changes were implemented, Volfas Engelman became the second largest brewery in Lithuania.

In cooperation with ad agencies: NEW!, TBWA Vilnius and design company Christoph Petersen Design GmbH.