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Distilling the Filipino spirit

Distilling the Filipino spirit

Few local brands have the same allure as Ginebra. From the familiar cuatro cantos bottle to the indomitable Barangay Ginebra basketball team, this iconic brand has cemented itself into the hearts and minds of every Filipino, drinkers and non-drinkers alike.


This powerful brand equity was crystallized through many decades of brand-building. While the product’s world-class taste is and will always be its primary attribute, the consumers’ affinity or kinship with Ginebra San Miguel is, to a large extent, built on the brand’s ability to embody the ideals and aspirations of generations of Filipinos, and imbue these as its own.



In the 1960s, Ginebra San Miguel became popular in fishing villages; fishermen became part of the drinker’s demographic. Ad campaigns from this period highlighted their hard work,

in the process cementing Ginebra’s status as the perfect drink to celebrate the fishermen’s harvests. This theme, which hewed closely to the everyday struggles of common Filipinos, would come to define not just Ginebra’s primary market, but serve as a blueprint for the

brand’s strategy of celebrating the Filipino everyman, their endeavors, and their contributions

to their families and society.



One historic moment on the hardcourt led to the genesis of Ginebra’s battle cry. In a bid for the second semifinals slot of the 1985 season of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), Robert Jaworski took a massive blow to the upper lip that required an immediate trip to the emergency room and nine stitches. With Big J seemingly down for the count, Ginebra’s hopes for the crown were all but dashed. But Jaworski’s miraculous return to the game reignited the fire of Ginebra and its fans, driving the team to a narrow yet decisive victory over their opponents. It was here that the fans of Ginebra adopted the now-famous battle cry: “Never Say Die.”

This became a credo for the Filipinos—making the brand a symbol of triumph over adversity, championing hard work, endurance, and perseverance in the face of challenges. This equity built by the team and its followers led to the birth of a community that later on became a strong anchor to a very influential brand campaign: Barangay Ginebra. Two years later, San Miguel acquired the business and continued the brand’s support of the everyday working      Filipinos, who embody the same ne     ver-ay-d     ie spirit.



Ginebra taglines are some of the most memorable in Philippine mass media, partly because they are catchy and colloquial, but to a larger extent, because they resonate with and inspire audiences. In the mid-80s, with the restoration of democracy, the prevailing mood was that of national unity. Ginebra San Miguel declared its loyalty and solidarity with the Filipino nation with a powerful slogan: “Ikaw at Ginebra…Magkasangga!”   


Standing in solidarity took a different meaning at the advent of COVID-19 in 2020. Ginebra took to its bottle to pay tribute to the pandemic’s      front liner heroes—replacing the iconic Marca Demonio label with illustrations of medical staff, security personnel, grocery workers, couriers, and other frontliners. It was the brand’s toast to their bravery and courage amidst the turmoil of the pandemic. These everyday heroes fought for not just the medical      well-being of the Filipinos, but to sustain the production and distribution of food, water, fuel, and other essential needs.


In the wake of the pandemic, Ginebra launched the “Bagong Tapang” campaign, highlighting the values of tapang (courage) and lumalaban (resilience), resonating with consumers as most grapple with the effects of the pandemic. Transitioning to the new normal, the campaign “Hanggang sa Huling Patak” was launched in the latter part of 2021. The campaign carried the message that in the most trying and lowest of times, there is still that last ounce of courage, that one final push that will inevitably get you over the hump and be successful. To best communicate this, Ginebra San Miguel tapped none other than the first Philippine Olympic Gold Medalist Hidilyn Diaz to banner this campaign. Her inspiration and effort best represent that anyone can go beyond and achieve something that even      they thought they could never do.


Having survived through 189 years, Ginebra San Miguel remains as relevant as ever. Espousing the same values that it has been known for through the decades—courage, resiliency, perseverance, unity—we remain committed, as we have always been, bringing to fore the resiliency of the Filipino.