Carib Brewery celebrates 70 years of premium beers

Drinks in the air: Singer/Songwriter Kerwin Du Bois hoists his beer in the air during the shooting of the Can You Feel It video as part of Carib’s rebranding and launch of Carib Blue. PHOTOS COURTESY CARIB  -
Drinks in the air: Singer/Songwriter Kerwin Du Bois hoists his beer in the air during the shooting of the Can You Feel It video as part of Carib’s rebranding and launch of Carib Blue. PHOTOS COURTESY CARIB -

For 70 years, Carib has been internationally known to be synonymous with steelpan, Carnival and the vibrant energy of the Caribbean people.

Despite challenges coming from covid19 over the past 18 months, the brewery has not only been able to provide Trinidad and Tobago with a variety of quality beverages but also has been taking its beverages internationally with breweries in Grenada, St Kitts and the US.

Now with a new premium addition, Carib Blue, to its roster of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, a brand new, sleek and eye-catching design to its flagship beer and a brand new campaign to reinvent the identity of both the beer and the region it represents, Carib is celebrating its 70th birthday the only way it knows how – with style.

Celebrating the taste of the Caribbean

In a conversation with Business Day, Carib Brewery category manager of beers and ciders Antron Forte said Carib’s new campaign was a celebration of more than 70 years of being the taste of the Caribbean.

A promotional photo of the new Carib Blue beer. Image taken from -

Carib breweries, started its journey in 1950 when it produced its first beer. It now produces the Carib brand beers – Carib Lager, Carib Pilsner Light and now Carib Blue – as well as Stag, most stouts and international beers like Heineken and Coors and value brands like Polar Light. It also produces non-alcoholic drinks which include Shandy, Ginseng and Carib Malta.

Forte said while Carib’s drinks are a household name in TT, it is also popular internationally, with its flagship beer Carib Lager being distributed in more than 35 countries. He said Carib’s latest rebranding campaign was in celebration of the flagship beer.

“Carib is believed as a son of the soil for TT but it is also the son of the soil of Grenada, St Kitts and the US in terms of breweries. So we wanted to portray Carib as really giving you that Caribbean experience.

“We were already thinking about what we could do to celebrate our flagship brand,” he said. “The one thing we wanted to do and continue to do is see how we could impact more within other markets. It is a really big challenge to prepare our brands for the world stage.”

He said conversations on renovations and rebranding began two years ago, to ensure that the brand would stand out among international brands. Forte said the redesign of the labels, the new ad campaign and even the introduction of Carib Blue was in an effort to bring Caribbean fun into a world that has been for over two years, locked down by a pandemic.

The Caribbean Icon

At the centre of its rebranding campaign is Carib Lager. The re-design of its label, Forte said, was intended to be easily recognisable and stand out among international brands

But more than to be recognisable, Forte said its design with one new added feature which is intended to redefine the symbols that represent TT and the Caribbean as a whole.

“Most times when you look at the Caribbean whether on TV and so on, people identify the Caribbean with a symbol of a coconut tree,” Forte said. “We wanted to re-define for the world what the Caribbean is. The Caribbean is so much more than a coconut tree. We said what better brand to put that symbol than Carib which is meant to unleash Caribbean fun.”

That symbol comes in the form of a shield, which is expected to be placed on all Carib brand items.

“We call it the Caribbean Icon,” Forte said.

American DJ and record producer DJ Khaled (Khaled Mohamed Khaled) films his cameo for the music video for Carib’s theme song, Can You Feel It. -

The icon has multiple features – first, behind the icon are sun rays, which represent energy, life and vitality. On the shield there are also birds, which represent freedom and hope. Waves represent the ocean which binds the Caribbean together and defines each island and a star which represents the North Star which is used as a guide by sailors.

“That shield represents the dreams that is part of being in the Caribbean,” Forte said. “It is a powerful add-on to our label.”

He added that overall the redesign of the label was sleek, with its signature yellow-and-blue colour scheme, trimmed at the base of the neck with a silver band, and although he would not say in what way just yet, he promised that the Caribbean Icon will play a part in their marketing plans for the future.

Carib Blue

In celebrating 70 years, Carib wanted to introduce a new drink that paid tribute to the brand and its culture, Forte said. That tribute came in the form of the premium beer Carib Blue.

“We called it Carib Blue because the blue is one of the stronger, bolder features of our Carib Lager label,” Forte told Business Day.

He said the beer is just like the blue in the label – it is strong, bold, smooth and stands out.

“It has a very strong recipe which was developed by our grow masters at Carib Brewery. We took our time to make sure the recipe was developed with two things in mind – that although it is six per cent alcohol, it has a premium taste and that the drinkability is very high.”

He said although the beer is strong, it is not so strong that one feels like they could not drink another. He added that the hops and malt used in the beer are premium. He said the brewing team did their homework to ensure that Carib Blue is a premium drink that stands the test of time.

So far, Forte said, the beer is already making waves. Through its social media platforms, Carib brewery has been getting good reviews from people on the beer’s taste.

“I can tell you that we can’t produce enough. It has been going at a rate,” he said. “People are now hunting for the beer, and we are happy that people are excited. Most people would just be happy with the sales but to pay tribute to Carib Lager with a premium beer that people can’t get enough of – that is extremely humbling.”

Trinidadian singer/songwriter Kerwin Du Bois and Jamaican dancehall star Shenseea (Chinsea Lee), co-writers of Carib’s theme song, Can You Feel It. -

The beer’s growing popularity would be good news especially since Carib, like most businesses had been significantly affected by covid19 especially with the restrictions on alcohol sales in even the safest of zones. The shocks along the value chain caused them to think outside of the box, he said, and look for opportunities in the supermarkets.

“Innovation played a significant role in pivoting,” he said. “We introduced craft beers which gave the opportunity to try new styles of beer. We also saw different types in our brand getting more traction. For instance, during the peak of the pandemic people were exercising a lot while at home. These people would have wanted a light beer, so these beers began gaining traction.”

“While people were not liming as much they had their kids at home so drinks like Smalta became a lot more attractive.”

“For us, covid19 really made us think outside the box to ensure that we were able to deliver quality products at a price that was affordable.”

'Can you feel it?'

The campaign culminated with the YouTube première of the music video for Carib’s theme song, Can You Feel It, written by Jamaican dancehall star Shenseea (Chinsea Lee) and Trinidadian singer/songwriter Kerwin Du Bois.

“Kerwin Du Bois is nothing short of amazing,” Forte said. “He is known on the world stage for his writing as well as his performances. With him alongside Shenseea, our brand manager, they sat down and created magic.”

The song was then complimented by a fantasy-like video which was created by producer and BET music video award winner two years running, Gil Green.

“He loves the Caribbean more than us,” Forte said. “He’s worked with nearly every artist and was a creative director for Akon for a few years. When we got in touch with him he immediately got excited. In a few days he came back with a script that we fell in love with.”

That along with a cameo from DJ Khaled and the video was ready to represent the energy and vibe of the Caribbean, with Carib at the center.

The video starts with people in business wear sitting at a conference table. DJ Khaled enters with his usual energy and an air horn, and invites the business people to celebrate “the beautiness of the Caribbean.”

Then from a slide attached directly to the window of the conference room, the employees slide all the way to a fantasy-like island where all the best things which represent the Caribbean are in one place. Shenseea and Du Bois then take centre stage, performing the song.

At the end of the video the businesspeople return to the office laughing and cheering, while a Carib stands at the centre of their office.

“We wanted to unleash Caribbean fun onto the world,” Forte said. “We wanted to portray Carib as really giving you that Caribbean experience.”

Forte said that because of restrictions in TT, they had to shoot the video outside of the country. Part of the video was filmed in Miami, another part was done in the Bahamas.

“We were actually scheduled to go to Jamaica, but before we were ready to travel, they locked Jamaica down for a full week. We were on a timeline so we switched to Bahamas and they welcomed us with open arms.”

Forte said there is more to come from Carib, with more innovations and a continuation of the great quality that comes with every beverage it produces. He added that in spite of the challenges, Carib continues to be the beer that best represents the Caribbean.

“The brand’s purpose is to unleash Caribbean fun onto the world. In this campaign we wanted to bring that excitement and that level of energy that Carib is known for the world over. You can’t spell Caribbean without Carib.”


"Carib Brewery celebrates 70 years of premium beers"

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