evolving innovation and propositions - foster’s

The vision and contemporary design behind the last Fosters tap handle

The challenge

Created to give prominence and visibility to the dispensing area and designed to give an aura of quality to the surrounding environment of any bar, pub or restaurant, the new Foster's beer tap handle is an iconic masterpiece, thanks to its simple and straightforward design that allows the sponsored brand to be exhibited.

Great design is a core part of any type of brand strategy and will strengthen the performance of any beverage or beer brand in any marketplace. This is especially true within the competitive world of beer dispense. Effective beer tap handles and beer font designs are vital when it comes to brand image and performance, as most purchase decisions are based on what the consumer sees and the emotions stimulated, especially when choosing between multiple brands.
The ADS2 Group's approach has been developed over the last ten years and allows for any design and engineering project to be undertaken. We can develop an agency's design concept or create and deliver a bespoke design entirely in-house. The mission is to deliver bespoke solutions that speak to consumers, influence perception, define the brand and give it its competitive edge.

Foster's beer brand required development of a design created by the ADS2 design team, maintaining the brand intent whilst engineering a solution. More importantly, ADS2 Brands shad to develop the innovative Pourtal engineering project. This was done, as always, with the realization of many prototypes, allowing the consumer to see what was possible before it was designed.

With the development of the hit (head injection technology) tap in partnership with Scotco, ADS2 created the benchmark for dispense innovation. Dispense was now controlled whatever the skill level of the bar staff. Simply open the tap to dispense the beer and then press the hit button to create a tight creamy head. Thanks to the Fosters tap handle, beer tap dispense was redefined.
As with any innovation there is always the question to how we will evolve the proposition or build a new system. The HIT tap population made it very difficult to justify a radical new dispense proposition – strategic innovation was required.

The concept

It all started with a workshop where ideas on aesthetic design and process were developed; sketching ideas in front of the customer involves them in the process and reinforces the skills within ADS2 Brands team. Following this stage and the development of the brand strategy, favoured routes were developed in line with the emerging brand strategy.

After working closely with the technical team and customer's brands, the ADS2 team started following the Project Path; this ensures key development milestones are identified and achieved, starting from Insight and Discovery, which is probably the most important stage within any project, where we define the creative and technical brief with the customer.
Understanding is essential to every successful project. Every designer should be able to work to a brief, but understanding the business requirements behind it, and being able to make positive suggestions as to how a brief can be improved, is something completely different. This is where our experience as designers and engineers gives us a unique perspective and distinct advantage.
Each stage of the Project path requires a different approach and skillset to ensure the correct focus in given.

In keeping with the brand's emphasis on quality, this called for a premium design solution. The vision of this project was to help Foster's beer to be delivered creating a best-in-class draught experience.
Working in partnership with Heineken UK the challenge was to redefine the HIT tap, create a better system, but equally importantly allow for brand to have better presence on the tap.

Enter the POURTAL project.


Pourtal was a redefinition of the HIT tap; a change with very little change of the functionality of the tap but a radical point of difference in its operation. The second operation of pressing the button was removed. By engineering the handle base differently, the HIT tap became the POURTAL tap with the second stage pour being delivered through a push forward a new way of operating the tap.

Whilst a subtle change this allowed the brands far more freedom to explore different designs for the new Foster's tap handle – the functionality of the HIT tap was a restriction and more importantly the removal of the obvious button press gave consumers more confidence in the system.
The complex series of developments was made easier through the vertical integration of print, moulding forming and trimming in the ADS2 business.

ADS2 Brands has worked collaboratively with Heineken for many years, exploring ideas, developing their potential and bringing effective bespoke product solutions to market. The result of the new Foster's beer tap handle clearly communicates the core values of the brand and appeals directly to the quality and taste demands of UK beer drinkers.
Delivering a great beer brand experience is a powerful way to build competitive advantage and strengthen consumer loyalty and advocacy, and Foster's remains one of the finest exponents of this art. The new tap handle brings an element of quality, sophistication and consistency to the beer-drinking experience, and ensures consumers are always served a perfectly poured ice cold beer.

Mastering the art of branding and design aesthetics is no simple task, and requires that Sean Fortune, creative and technical director of ADS2 Group, and his team follow a clear design and development strategy. They work with the customer's brands and technical teams in a specific way, so that they understand everything, from budgets to the brand's design and redesign schedule; as well as whether it will be competing within an emerging or mature market. All will influence the final product deliver.
Our design and engineering team always strikes the right balance between creative, technical engineering, procurement, assembly and operations. This needs to be mirrored within the customer team too, ensuring momentum and focus are maintained and questions are addressed quickly, removing uncertainty as to what will be delivered and when.

The key to success has always been the same: maintaining a close relationship with the customer's brands team. When we fully engage with them and become an extension of their team, we can deliver insights and the skills they do not possess in-house.

Working as partners truly delivers great results.

Related case studies