Here at Carling, we’re really proud of our heritage. Check out our story below; from humble beginnings right through to all the exciting stuff we’ve got up to with our ‘refreshingly perfect’ campaign. Here’s to all those who have made us No.1 and cheers to many more years.
In The Beginning
Carling’s British roots trace all the way back to the Yorkshire village of Etton, little known, but forever in the hearts of Carling as the birthplace of our namesakes, William Carling and his son Thomas. Inheriting his father’s passion and skill for brewing, a 21 year old Thomas emigrated to Canada taking his father’s Yorkshire beer recipe, which on arrival in Canada he used to brew privately for admiring family and friends. The township Thomas settled in soon became an Imperial Army post where the thirsty soldiers became fans of the Carling family’s Yorkshire brew. In 1843 he built his first commercial brewery, only for his sons William and John to take up the baton soon after, and begin producing lager for the first time in 1869, sewing the first seeds of Carling’s refreshingly perfect pint.
Our much loved lager returned home in 1952. Carling Black Label, as it had become known, launched in the UK with the help of Thomas Carter from the Hope & Anchor breweries. In 1965 Carling graduated from bottle to draught, making its debut on tap in a lovely little local in Sheffield.
"I Bet He Drinks.."
The 1980’s saw the launch of the hugely successful “I bet he drinks...” campaign, which ran for 10 years across 41 ads. For a trip down memory lane, or if you missed it the first time round, the classic Dambusters ad is up on the Carling website.
With sales continuing to grow rapidly, Carling ventured into the world of football, becoming the title sponsor for the Premier League in 1993, in a deal that ran for 8 consecutive seasons: somewhat predictably, Man Utd were the first team to take home the silverware! In 1998 “Black Label” is dropped from all the merchandising to make ordering a pint less of a mouthful. Then in 2002, Carling gets a piece of the live music pie, launching ‘Carling Live’, an initiative involving partnerships with the cream of the crop in live music events & venues - we’ve also been regular guests on the Festival circuit, popping up at V, Reading, Leeds and the Isle of Wight.
Fast forward to 2007 for the launch of Carling’s first ad in the ‘You know who your mates are’ campaign. Remember the space one where the mate can’t get in because he’s wearing trainers? They don’t get in, which thankfully isn’t the case when Carling gains valuable Red Tractor accreditation in 2009. Red Tractor are an independent food assurance scheme which make sure responsible production standards are met and fully traceable back to assured farms in the UK
We've Kept Ourselves Busy
We were pretty busy over the next few years, launching a slick new packaging design along with a unique and rather dapper pint glass. New seasonal varieties of Carling arrived in 2012. Carling Zest, beer with a refreshing hint of citrus for summer and beer infused with xmassy spiced orange for winter.
In 2013, we kicked off our “Refreshingly Perfect” ad campaign, which follows the antics of two best mates: Dylan and Jon as they attempt to pull off amazing feats and earn the reward of a pint of Carling, but they always seem to fall just short of the mark, triggering the catchphrase: “It’s good, but it’s not quite Carling.” The latest addition to the Carling family is Carling British Cider, the most refreshing cider in the U.K. Cheeky but true. We’ve got the research results to prove it!
This year we have sent 1000 people to Brighton or Barbados for the bank holiday of a lifetime, spent the summer swapping old football shirts for free brand new ones with the Carling Shirt Amnesty, AND launched our very own app, iPint. From humble beginnings, Carling has gone on to refresh countless thirsty mouths over the generations. Craftsmanship and quality is as important as it always has been, which is probably why Carling is the UK’s no.1 lager brand and has been for the past three decades. Here’s to an even more ‘refreshingly perfect’ 2016.