When we heard beer brand Sol was setting up a bar in East London based on the positive effects of the sun, the first thing we asked was why now?
“We conducted some research and two thirds of Brits said they don’t get more than an hour of sun per day in the winter, so autumn was the perfect time to add value to consumers’ lives,” says Alexander Drake, senior brand manager at Sol.
“We picked this moment because obviously the clocks are going back [in the UK] so consumers are going to lose an hour of daylight. It’s a good time for Sol to come in and recreate all those cool benefits that come from the sun at a time when there isn’t any.”
Coinciding with the days getting shorter, The Sol Bar extends the British summertime by bottling up the feel-good power of the sun. Sparking the senses and based in Shoreditch, the space is filled with specialist SAD lamps giving the optimal amount of sunlight per day, stimulating the release of serotonin and allowing Londoners to enjoy the vitamin D-boosting benefits of the sun, along with the scents such as freshly cut grass, sounds and warm breeze of the summer air.
Last year, Sol relaunched its positioning with the tagline Taste the Sun, which goes back to its roots and Mexican heritage since launch in 1899. Upon seeing a ray of sunlight hit the beer, the original master brewer named it after the sun crowning it ‘El Sol’, which later became ‘Sol’. The Sol Bar is a way of bringing the story to life.
“It’s a busy and competitive landscape out there and we thought the best way possible for our consumers to experience the new brand positioning was to actually bring it to life,” explains Drake.
“We can talk about it and put up a big poster saying how we want consumers to taste the sun but actually when it’s a physical and tangible thing such as the sun why not bring it to life for them.”
The Sol Bar is the brand’s first ever activation in the UK but with many taking part in Stoptober this month to cut down on the booze consumption, was that a consideration? Drake says yes, but consumers don’t necessarily need to have a beer to enjoy the experience. It’s more about the message that the sun is an important part of life and Sol’s identity as a brand.
The beer commissioned UK-wide research that uncovered people’s perceptions of how the sun impacts and enriches their lives as part of the campaign. It revealed that spending more than 30 minutes in the Sol Bar is longer than what 45% of office workers said they spend in the sunlight during the winter. This contrasts with the 82% of people who agree that having an adequate amount of sunshine daily is important to keeping them healthy and 78% agree it’s key to improving their mood.
The bar is currently offering complimentary product, beer-based cocktails, a DJ bringing to life summery upbeat Latino sounds as well as the other aspects that will heighten the senses.
“On a simple level it’s important that we constantly give new stories and experiences for our consumers to choose Sol as a beer,” says Drake. “It’s a competitive landscape out there and we need to make sure Sol is as relevant as possible for their lifestyle; what this does is give them a brilliant reason to choose Sol.”
In terms of takeaways, he hopes the vibe and feel of the space creates a memorable experience for consumers and they’ll make the connection between Sol, the sun and all the positive benefits that come from it.
The Sol Bar is open today today between 5-10pm and tomorrow from 4-9pm at Protein Studios, 31 New Inn Yard, Hackney, London EC2A 3EY.