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Packaging Your Spirits

03/7/2018 • Shawn Patrick

Craft distilleries are born from the dreams of one person, or maybe a couple of friends who have an idea for a better or unique brand of spirit. Your packaging and label tie into your brand theme, which entails several exciting decisions for passionate owners to make.

Packaging and Sales

The bottle, label, box, even the crate, all tell customers and distributors the story of the brand and why it's worth purchasing. Packaging is immensely important and directly correlates with sales. Just look at kid cereals. Each one has a character or mascot of sorts, all made to do one thing - connect with their audience. It works the same on adults.

Your Target Audience

Understanding your target market is the first step in choosing your packaging design. Are you aiming to sell to dive bars and local pubs? Or are you shooting for the hipster places with names that make little sense? Your audience will typically drive the direction of your branding and packaging design concepts.

One bit of marketing lore I’ve been told was that packaging often has to do the impossible. It’s got to fit in/look like it belongs with all the competing products on the shelf while at the same time stand apart from them. Unless being completely different is what works. Huh... whodda thought?

Brand Values and Packaging

A younger audience is looking for value, quality, and a display of company values. They want to be reassured that showing support to your company connects with their worldview and their ideals.

The most prominent thing they look for whether or not the packaging is made from recycled and sustainable materials. There's a global sense of responsibility to save the planet from global warming, waste, or whatever else. They're also looking for companies that prove inclusiveness or have a larger sense of purpose culturally. They might be open to drinking the same liquor as their granddad, but they don't want the company that makes their granddad's liquor to share his worldview. They're much more apt to spending extra dollars on a brand that makes them feel like they're contributing to a greater cause.

Sourcing Packaging Materials

Consult with a good network of other distillers. Ask who they use. Your friends in the industry can tell you who does good work and who to avoid, which is just as valuable. Calling printers and packaging manufacturers can give you some insight, but you always run the risk of partnering up with an outfit that promises more than they can deliver. Do your research and properly vet all of your vendors, especially if are considering outsourcing your packaging needs to a company outside of North America.