De Koninck rebrands beer as ‘Bolleke’

Belgian brewery De Koninck has rebranded its flagship beer as ‘Bolleke’, the popular name by which it is known in its home city of Antwerp.

The De Koninck brewery in the Belgian port city might make the amber coloured pale ale but its inhabitants have always referred to the beer colloquially as ‘Bolleke’ after the bowl-shaped glass it is served in.

After many years the brewery has reputedly decided that ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’, and renamed the beer after the local idiom.

Henceforth, all bottlings of De Koninck pale ale will be prominently labelled as ‘Bolleke’ with the brewery name relegated to a supporting role.

Rebranding a well-known product can be fraught with difficulty. As John Wood, UK general manger of De Koninck’s owner Duvel Moortgat, commented: “Marathon bars renamed themselves Snickers in 1990, against public opinion, and have done incredibly well ever since; but when Coco Pops became Choco Krispies in 1998 the public mood snapped (and crackled & popped), and they reverted to Coco Pops less than a year later.

“In total contrast, ‘Bolleke’ is a hugely popular re-naming. The Bolleke glass has been synonymous with this elegant beer all over the world, and there is no other beer worldwide which is so defined by its glass.

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