Case Study: CUB Victoria Bitter Sign

Case Study:

Carlton United Breweries


Rejuvenation of local landmark 

Project finish date: 2013
Location: Elsternwick, Melbourne

SignManager have been Carlton & United Breweries signage partner for the past 14 years. In this time SignManager has worked on a number of exciting projects and the Elsternwick Hotel Victoria Bitter neon sign is no exception. The team at SignManager, were extremely happy to be involved in such an iconic project and proud to assist CUB in preserving a local landmark.

In late 2013 Carlton & United Breweries’ Venue Solutions Manager Wayne Pilbeam came to SignManager with an exciting special project. CUB wanted to perform maintenance on their iconic neon VB sign at the Elsternwick Hotel for preservation. The sign was erected in 1951 and is of local significance. 

The project began with an inspection of the structure that secured the sign to the roof. Over time the structure had weathered causing corrosion of the steelwork. The base steelwork was re-engineered and repaired in early February 2014. Following this the letters and border were removed, they were traced and re-fabricated to ensure the letters and border were replicated exactly. There was no record of the original colours used to paint the letters and border, so the colours were matched off sections of the sign that were not faded. 

It was very important to CUB to ensure the sign kept its original look, and to do this GE Contour opal diffuser and green LED engine were bent to replicate the original neon configuration within the letters. Traditional neon glass supports and brass tie wire were used to support the contour, this also helped to retain the original look and space off channel letter. The letters and border are now made from aluminium instead of galvanized steel, and the border contains LED globes for the chasing lights. The new letters and border were then re-erected into the original framework. The electrical components are housed at the base of the sign in weatherproof cabinets. This is useful for future maintenance requirements, as maintenance can take place on the roof rather than on the sign itself, as was the case with the original electrics.

In changing from neon to LED the sign should require less maintenance. Due to low voltage and the impossible to break Contour the sign is now less susceptible to breakage and hi-voltage breakdown of the neon. Hail storms and birds are no longer enemies to the sign. It is now safer as the high voltage has been replaced with low voltage, and it is more environmentally friendly and economical to run. LED Innovations provided the LEDs for the lettering. In using LED technology rather than neon, the cost per year to run the sign will be reduced. 

According to Heritage Victoria’s website the Elsternwick Hotel was built in 1854 and is the oldest hotel structure in the St Kilda area. The Victoria Bitter sign was erected in 1951 and is one of the very few remaining large rooftop sky signs. 

SignManager have been Carlton & United Breweries signage partner for the past 14 years. In this time  SignManager has worked on a number of exciting projects and the Elsternwick Hotel Victoria Bitter neon sign is no exception. The team at SignManager, led by senior Project Manager Dave Cann, were extremely happy to be involved in such an iconic project and proud to assist CUB in preserving a local landmark.