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Rethink on The Beer-Infused Syrup That Celebrates and Supports Canada's Olympic Teams


Rethink’s art directors Rachel LeBlanc and Ryan Cookish talk to LBB’s Ben Conway about creating the Maple Beerup for Molson Canadian that “maxed out on Canadian-ness” to cheer the national team on at the Beijing 2022 winter games

Rethink on The Beer-Infused Syrup That Celebrates and Supports Canada's Olympic Teams

Three maple syrups, infused by Molson Canadian beer - what could be more fitting to pour over your breakfast while watching the Canadian Winter Olympics team competing? Due to the time difference between Canada and Beijing, brewing company Molson and Canadian creative agency Rethink wanted to create a product that would allow Canadians to celebrate and cheer on their Olympics team during the events, which were airing in the morning in Canada. So what better way of expressing your Canadian pride than with Canadian beer-infused maple syrup?

The Winter Olympics closed on Sunday, with the Canadians placing 11th overall - and most importantly, for many Canadians, winning gold in the women's ice hockey. Anticipating the athletes’ success, Rethink pitched the idea to Molson for a Molson beer-infused line of maple syrups, which were then given away to lucky supporters in a contest. To continue to support the Canadians’ Olympic efforts for years to come, Molson promised to donate $5 for every contest entry to the Canadian Olympic Foundation in support of Team Canada athletes, up to a maximum of $10,000 CAD.

To discuss how this collaborative Canadian celebration came about and how they developed a product that doesn’t just “scream Canada” but supports its Olympics efforts too, LBB’s Ben Conway spoke with Rethink’s art directors Rachel LeBlanc and Ryan Cookish.

LBB> Where did the initial creative spark for the campaign come from? Did Team Canada approach Molson to create a new product? 

Ryan> The initial spark came from an honest reflection of our own memories of watching the Olympics in the past. Thinking back, some of our fondest memories of cheering on Team Canada were happening at obscure hours in the day - or night. While watching the Games with Canada's most iconic beer in hand is the best way to do it, we know beer isn’t the ideal choice during early morning broadcasts on a weekday.


LBB> Once the Molson - Team Canada partnership was agreed, how did the idea of creating Maple Beerup come about? What were the initial reactions to creating these amazingly Canadian beer-infused maple syrups? 

Rachel>  Rethink pitched the idea initially as a broad concept of Molson-injected breakfast items to enjoy in the morning. It was then narrowed down to one strong item: Beer-Infused Maple Syrup. Naturally, we called it Maple Beerup. It’s just become such a fun idea that really contributes to the whole experience of cheering on Team Canada. We hope people look back on these Olympics and remember how they enjoyed it with Molson - regardless of what time of day.

LBB> Were there any other ideas for Canadian/Molson mixed products that didn’t make the cut? Could the products have been made even more ‘Canadian’? 

Ryan> I feel like we maxed out in terms of Canadian-ness. But we definitely had other ideas for beer-inspired breakfast items. Maple Beerup made the most sense for a product that screams “Canada” while also being simple enough to produce in collaboration with an existing vendor.


LBB> How did you develop the idea of beer-infused Maple Syrup into the three products with the branding and everything that we see today? How did you find and work with Bretelles? 

Rachel> We knew we wanted to come up with an idea that incorporated all three beers under the Molson trademark from the beginning. When we looked at Pure Maple Syrup we immediately found crossover between their world and the world of beer - not only as Canadian icons but with them both being sold in cans. From there, the syrup cans were heavily inspired by the beer can labels Molson already produces.

When it came to working with Bretelles, they were a natural fit! As a Quebec-based Syrup company, they not only ensured Beerup maintained its Canadian roots, they brought their expertise in blending original ideas and producing top-quality Maple Syrup and Maple infused product products.

LBB> How long was this product development stage? Did you encounter any interesting creative or logistic challenges? 

Ryan>  It was a relatively quick turnaround time from when the client said yes to launch, probably two to three months in its entirety. Bretelles was very easy to work with and developed a recipe for each of the Maple Beerups, we got the beer to them and trusted them to get the ratios right for the best version of the syrup.


LBB> Have you tried the syrups yourselves? If so, what are they like and which do you prefer?

Rachel> Unfortunately not yet! The tight turnarounds meant having us taste test would delay the process. We’re just as excited to try them as everyone else and we trust Bretelles has done an amazing job integrating the beers into their respective syrups.


LBB> Why did you decide to run a competition for the campaign?

Ryan> As much as we would have loved to sell Maple Beerup there were licenses we were unable to obtain to sell “food” on such short notice. With that in mind, we thought the best bet would be to give them out instead.


LBB> What was the most difficult challenge you faced on this project and how did you overcome it?

Rachel> Probably the timelines. It took a massive team effort to pull this off and everyone worked their butt off to keep this project moving despite any roadblocks. We couldn’t have done it without the whole team. 

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Rethink, Tue, 22 Feb 2022 16:02:00 GMT