Claytons Kola Tonic was officially relaunched on 17 November 2015 at a press conference addressed by Pamela Coke-Hamilton of the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export), Andy Armstrong, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Armstrong Manufacturing Limited and Sonja Trotman, CEO of the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC), representing the Ministry of Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development.
Attending the re-launch, were members of the media corps, representatives of West Indies Rum Distillery, the bottlers of Claytons for Armstrong Manufacturing Ltd., Caribbean Label Craft, who supplies the labels, and COT Printery the producers of the gift cartons, as well as Claytons Ambassadors Philip Antoine, Jamaal Bowen, employees and invited guests.
Claytons Kola Tonic was originally produced in Battersea, London in 1880, blending kola nuts from West Africa, hops from England, and sugar from Barbados with other extracts and essential oils to create a full bodied non-alcoholic drink that initially rode the late 1800s temperance movement wave. During the cocktail boom that started in the 1920s Claytons continued to grow in popularity with four specific cocktails in the legendary Savoy Cocktail Book of 1930.
In 1970 Armstrong Manufacturing Ltd. started to manufacture Claytons Kola Tonic, under license for the British owners Beecham, in their factory at Fontabelle to supply the Caribbean.
As Beecham evolved into a pharmaceutical company and away from beverages they sold the Claytons brand to Armstrong Manufacturing in 1993.
Claytons has now been made in Barbados for 45 years, using the same secret recipe created 135 years ago by the Clayton brothers.
In 2014, Armstrong Manufacturing Ltd. was awarded a grant from Caribbean Export, funded by the European Union (EU) under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF), to facilitate the re-design of the Claytons Kola Tonic brand with assistance from award-winning European based agency Brand42, in order to boost its appeal to European consumers. Brand 42, has worked for BBC, CNN, Louis Vuitton, Johnnie Walker, and Smirnoff among other major brands, and the Caribbean Export grant gave Claytons a unique opportunity to work with an agency they would not have normally accessed.
Brand 42 and the Claytons brand manager, Cheryl Armstrong, worked over many months to refine the unique selling proposition for Claytons Kola Tonic. They were able to create a brand architecture that distils the essence of Claytons – a unique brand that blends elements from three worlds: Kola nuts from West Africa; Hops from England; and Sugar from the Caribbean, to create a non-alcoholic drink that is satisfying and stimulating, hence the new sub-branding – “Stimulating Company”.
As with any good project, this one pushed the envelope. It tested the boundaries of what could be printed and applied – and Caribbean Label Craft and West Indies Rum Distillery worked closely with Armstrong and Brand 42 to translate the vision for the brand into practicality.
As an extension of the project, Armstrong worked directly with Brand 42 on the design of 750ml gift box to enhance the shelf presence of the product and to allow exploration into other markets, such as China, that demand gift packaging for luxury products. The gift carton gives us another tool to help us tell the story of Claytons. Local company, Cot Printery, coordinated with Brand 42 in producing the attractive outer box for Claytons. This took several weeks of back and forth as details were ironed out.
So now, thanks to Caribbean Export, the EU, Brand 42, Caribbean Label Craft, COT Printery, and West Indies Rum Distillery, Claytons has a greatly enhanced packaging, which portrays sophistication and authenticity. Armstrong Manufacturing Ltd. has been presenting the refreshed Claytons Kola Tonic to many potential distributors and importers in the United Kingdom over the last several months.
Shane Thomas, a Barbadian, married to a Scottish lady, moved to Glasgow just over a year ago. Shane has formed a company – Barbados House – and been working tirelessly to promote Barbados in Scotland and to find Claytons a distributor. He has made a number of converts in bars and retailers in Scotland but hadn’t been able to pin down an importer. That just changed. Armstrong Manufacturing Ltd. is delighted to announce that, as of Sunday November 15, 2015, their first delivery traveled to Glasgow aboard the inaugural Thomas Cook Charter. Claytons will soon be available in Scotland, and they plan to use them as a base to launch their campaign to capture England and, from there, the rest of the EU market.
17 November 2015
(submitted by Cherry Tree Consulting Ltd)