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W. B. Doner wins lucrative brewery account


W. B. Doner & Co. said yesterday that it had landed an account worth $10 million in annual billings to help G. Heileman Brewing Co. introduce one of its regional northwestern beer brands to the national market.

The Baltimore advertising agency had a 35-year relationship with corporate predecessors of Chicago-based G. Heileman, but the ties ended in 1990 after failed Australian takeover artist Alan Bond lost control of the brewery.

Doner's relationship with the old National Brewing Co. of Baltimore was one of the accounts upon which the agency's Baltimore office was built, Doner CEO Jim Dale said. It produced well-known slogans for the Colt 45 malt liquor brand like "It Works Every Time" and "Colt, A Completely Unique Experience."

Heileman moved $7 million of annual billings back to Doner last August, for work advertising the company's Colt 45, Champale, Mickey's and Special Export brands. Heileman's marketing director could not be reached yesterday.

The new account calls for Doner to promote Heileman's Henry Weinhard brand, which includes Weinhard's Red, a brew Doner said is the top seller among the red beers that have become the trend-driven beer industry's latest big thing.

"Weinhard may be the first microbrewery," Mr. Dale said. "The beer dates back to 1856. It's a real high-quality, controlled-production product. The microbreweries said if we make a really good beer we can be like Henry Weinhard's. One way to put it is, it's like Samuel Adams wants to be."

Mr. Dale said the brand, which started out in Oregon before it was acquired by Heileman, is available in major markets throughout the nation. He said the task is to help the brand penetrate markets where it is not well known, and said the biggest medium for the coming advertising campaign will be radio.

"Given the markets they're in and the level of spending they have to cover as much territory as they do, radio has been a very good medium for them," Mr. Dale said.

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