Eighty-nine years after it was introduced at the Clark County Fair, Ale-8-One's packaging and branding is getting a 21st-century update.
Announcing the new brand and bottle design Monday, Fielding Rogers, the fourth-generation owner of Ale-8-One Bottling Co., said the change came because the company wanted "to better communicate our proud heritage, great story and flavor profile."
Ale-8, known for its long-neck returnable glass bottles, designed its non-returnable glass and plastic bottles to reflect the look of what a company news release called "the iconic returnable bottle." The new bottle adds information about the single bottle's 120-calorie content. The packaging also states that the original ginger-and-citrus formula is unchanged.
The new cans are wrapped in a picture of the Red River Gorge, described by Ellen McGeeney, president and chief operating officer for Ale-8-One, as "a retreat off the beaten path, where cherished memories are made," like Ale-8-One itself.
Ale-8 is available in glass bottles, plastic bottles and cans. Its formulas include original, diet and caffeine-free diet.
The company's brand presentation said the soft drink is in a favorable niche to attract millennials, citing the generational preference for handmade and regional items, the soft drink's heavy distribution in glass containers, its use as a mixer with Kentucky bourbon, and the millennial preference for artisanal items with a traceable heritage.
Steve Bale, sales manager for Ale-8-One, said the company was benefiting from the explosion of Kentucky bourbon sales because Ale-8 was a preferred mixer.
"As a small, family-owned business that is experiencing growth when industry leaders are declining, we are excited to take advantage of market trends in our favor," Bale said. "The company is experiencing double-digit growth in the Louisville and Cincinnati markets, and we're excited for new opportunities."