The concepts of collective identity and organizational identity constitute two parallel, often separate, research streams in organizational studies. This paper explores how their interplay influences organizational responses to a perceived threat in the institutional environment. The analysis of a global brewer’s response the issue of ‘alcohol-related harm’ suggests the presence of a first and second wave of interpretation. The first wave, guided by collective identity claims, helps to shield the organization from an industry-wide threat via shared industry actions. The second wave, entailing a shift towards organizational identity claims, enables organizational differentiation via the construction of an organizational response aligned with dominant organizational identity claims. The study contributes with insight into how organizational identities are contextualized within collective identities; this relationship shifts over time in response to the intensity of the external pressure and organizational actors’ perception of whether it threatens the periphery or the core of the organizational identity.