BORIS Lie-PA: Brewdog’s brilliant topical tactical launch:

As part of a beer brand creation project I’m working on, I was looking today at the Brewdog brand. When I landed on their website I came across one of the best examples I’ve ever seen of a topical, tactical marketing launch: Boris Lie-PA (see below). For non-UK readers, in case you don’t know, our prime minister Boris Johnson resigned yesterday amid a storm of scandals.

In this post, I suggest why this tactical launch is in fact a brilliant bit of brand building.

1. Bang on time

Hats off to the Brewdog team for bang on time with this launch, announced on the day Boris finally resigned. The resignation was first predicted few days ago. But even so, that was fast footwork to create the concept, design the pack and get it on the website. And even though the beer is not yet on sale, orders will be shipped on August 1st, only three weeks away. That is some pretty agile and responsive production right there.

2. Bloody brilliant execution

Successful marketing is about smart strategy but also excellent execution. As I said in the very first brandgym book many years ago, it’s not enough to think different. You also have to DO different.

I love the craft that has gone into the Boris LIE-PA launch:

  • Naming: LIE-PA is genius. It riffs on the popular IPA beer type. It has a twist by changing ‘I’ for ‘LIE’ which sounds the same, whilst making fun of Boris’ reputation for being, let’s say, economical with the truth
  • Descriptor: “A hazy IPA – because we couldn’t make it transparent”. Brilliant. Again taking the piss out of the lack of transparency and truth from our ex-PM
  • Headline: “Eton mess”, referring the famous boarding school Boris attended
  • Occasion: “A beer fit for a work party”. Joke based on the parties government officials had during lockdown, leading to a fine for Boris Johnson
  • Detailed text: “Boris Lie-PA is here for a limited time, so don’t expect this beer to outstay its welcome“. Yet another bit of humour, based on Boris refusing to leave office immediately, but rather stay around until a new leader is elected!
  • Duration: “Boris Lie-PA is a resignation hazy IPA brewed to celebrate the next chapter”. This is clever, as it means the product is not just relevant today, the day after Boris resigned. Rather, it can become a beer to celebrate the next few weeks and even months, as Boris leaves and a new leader take his place.

3. Drives reach, reinforcement, rejuvenation

Boris LIE-PA is a topical form of what I call a LET-OFF: Limited Edition Tactical Offer.

REACH: I suggest this launch is so topical and so well done that it will drive good reach of the brand, which is key to grow penetration. The key is not just to be loved by existing brand users, but rather to get mass reach that talks to non and lapsed drinkers. Brewdog Boris LIE-PA already has 19,000 Google searches less than 24 hours after launch. It has already been picked up by several mass media outlets, inc. the Mirror (1) (see below). Brewdog has cleverly inserted a link to their website within the Mirror piece, by paying an affiliate fee I guess. So, this article is driving not just awareness but also e-commerce traffic.

My score: 4 out of 4

REINFORCEMENT: LET-OFF does a brilliant job of reinforcing Brew Dog’s image of being a fun, rebellious and cheeky brand. As described above, the brand’s tone of voice comes through loud and clear. Note also how, in contrast to the recent Tropicana cereal example, Brewdog is fully focused on its core beer business with this initiative.

My score: 4 out of 4

REJUVENATION: Boris LIE-PA works well to rejuvenate Brewdog, showing their is still some dog in the brand, despite the fact it is now a big business. The LET-OFF taps into a topical event, allowing Brewdog to take not just a share of beer but also a share of culture.

My score: 3 out of 2

MY TOTAL SCORE: 11 out of 10

4. Produce on demand

Another smart tactic used by Brewdog is to brew on demand. The beer is not on sale yet. Rather, the website states, We aim to start dispatching Boris Lie-PA pre-orders from 1st August 2022“. This way, Brewdog can get orders in and then only produce exactly the right amount.

In conclusion, Brewdog’s Boris LIE-PA is a brilliant example of a topical, tactical launch. It taps into popular culture in a timely way, using excellent execution to reinforce the brand’s image and drive reach.


  1. Mirror article