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Interview: Stella Artois’ VP On How The Brand Is Becoming A Wellness Partner

Interview: Stella Artois’ VP On How The Brand Is Becoming A Wellness Partner
Food & Beverage

Slow down, reflect and enjoy every sip of a Stella Artois—PSFK speaks with the beverage brand's Vice President Harry Lewis on its foray into the mindfulness space, and how it's using immersive sensory journeys, replete with engaging content and packaging, to connect with customers

PSFK
  • 21 august 2018

20 minutes might be the difference between an optimal state of mind and a lackluster one. Or so, that’s according to beer connoisseurs Stella Artois who have launched the first-ever mindfulness guide to properly enjoy a beer, which comes in the form of STELLASPACE, a 20-minute audio guide narrated by actor Luke Evans, that promises to enhance not just the typical beer drinking experience for consumers but that will improve their mindfulness, relaxation and self-care to boot.

To discover more about the guide’s launch, Stella’s partnership with meditation experts Inscape, and how the brand has gone about in encouraging mindful drinking across consumer groups that need a little more reflection and sociability in their lives, PSFK spoke with Harry Lewis, Vice President of Stella Artois.

PSFK: As you know, beer drinking seems to be falling out of favor with millennials. With STELLASPACE, it seems that Stella Artois wants to enable them to better manage their emotional well-
being, by taking a moment out of their day to reflect on their thoughts. 

Harry Lewis: Stella Artois is a premium Belgian lager that we believe is best enjoyed over delicious bites with good friends, in short we’re a “sit-down beer.” Right now, we’re seeing a trend that millennials are recognizing how important mindfulness, relaxation and self-care is and they’re turning to various tools—apps, meditation studios, adult coloring books and more—to help them be more present in the
moment. Knowing that this is an important topic to our target consumer, we wanted to find a way to inject Stella Artois into a conversation and activity that they care about which is how STELLASPACE was born.

STELLASPACE combines beer tasting notes with mindfulness techniques for an audio guide designed to help people rethink how they enjoy a Stella Artois. It’s a fun, playful way for people to bring a little more enjoyment to the limited time they do have—no matter if they’re current fans or new to the brand.

Studies show that millennials prefer to drink at home rather than go out to bars. How do you believe that STELLASPACE will enable modern consumers to perceive the experience of enjoying a beer as a social and immersive experience?

Whether you’re at home or in a bar, enjoying a beer is an inherently social experience. But people today are busier than ever, so even when they’re drinking a beer with friends it can be hard to truly savor all of the complex flavors and aromas. That’s why we created STELLASPACE—to encourage people to slow down and rethink how they enjoy a Stella Artois.

STELLASPACE combines 20 minutes of detailed beer tasting notes from our own beer expert Master Cicerone® Max Bakker, with modern meditation techniques from our partners at Inscape to create an immersive sensory journey for drinkers.

Beer has long been associated with social gatherings. Accordingly, in the post-digital age and our wellness-centric world, how do you believe that drinking a Stella Artois contributes to consumers’
desires to practice mindfulness in solitude?

The goal of STELLASPACE is to help people take time to stop, sip mindfully and savor the experience of drinking a Stella Artois – and what better way to savor something than with a group of friends? While STELLASPACE uses traditional mindful cues, it is modern take on meditation and one that is best enjoyed in a social setting.

How do you believe that integrating a beverage into a wellness routine enhances it?

At Stella Artois, we know beer but we’re not experts in the mindful or wellness space. That’s why we sought out a credible partner in Inscape to help us develop STELLASPACE. We were drawn to Inscape particularly due to their unique approach to mindfulness—merging traditional techniques with modern technology to help people find balance in their everyday lives. Stella Artois believes that a great beer and great friends can bring more joy to everyday moments, so our goal with STELLASPACE was to create something that would enhance the typical beer drinking experience.

Do you believe that incorporating Stella Artois into meditation/mindfulness practices can and will cultivate a more community-oriented wellness culture among young consumers? 

Our mission at Stella Artois is to help people savor the simple pleasures in life—like a cold beer with friends—and bring more joy to the limited time they have. Earlier this year we launched a new campaign called “Joie de Bière” (our take on the European sentiment of joie de vivre) that brings this sentiment to life. In fact, our current TV spot “Pockets” actually encourages people to put down their phones and pick up a Stella Artois in order to be more present and in the moment.

The driving insight behind the creation of STELLASPACE was helping people find a way to enjoy a Stella Artois free of life’s many distractions, which is why we decided to jump into the mindfulness space—not typically a place you would expect a beer brand to play. And because our consumers enjoy beer with friends in many different social settings, working with a modern mediation partner like Inscape to create STELLASPACE and host it on their app also allows people to mindfully sip a Stella Artois no matter where they are.

wellness

How does engaging packaging or a product experience, as we see with the Sip & Savor Chalice, especially one outfitted with media components, help drive an action with consumers?

We believe the enjoyment of a Stella Artois is about more than just time; it’s about making sure you get the most out of every sip. The number of sips it takes to enjoy a beer is currently up for debate online—we think it’s 12, but won’t judge if it takes people 11 or even 13!—so the Sip and Savor Chalice was designed to help bring this concept of “sipping slowly” to life in a physical way for consumers.

We encourage people everywhere to download STELLASPACE on the Inscape app, grab their Sip & Savor Chalice, a cold Stella Artois and some friends and put this to the test themselves.

Stella Artois

For more about how brands like Stella Artois are crafting full sensory experiences for this customers while becoming lifestyle partners in the process, see PSFK’s report Content & Commerce Debrief.

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(Photos by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Stella Artois)

20 minutes might be the difference between an optimal state of mind and a lackluster one. Or so, that’s according to beer connoisseurs Stella Artois who have launched the first-ever mindfulness guide to properly enjoy a beer, which comes in the form of STELLASPACE, a 20-minute audio guide narrated by actor Luke Evans, that promises to enhance not just the typical beer drinking experience for consumers but that will improve their mindfulness, relaxation and self-care to boot.

+Beer
+beverage
+content debrief
+Features
+Grocery
+Inscape
+Interview
+Meditation
+Millennials
+packaging
+packaging & product engagement
+retail
+shopper marketing & promotions
+Stella Artois
+STELLASPACE
+wellness

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