You’ve seen it before in the store liquor aisles: shelves and shelves of similar bottles. That makes it especially difficult to brand a spirit like vodka, where the liquid product looks exactly the same as the one next to it on the shelf. To really stand out, the differentiator often is the package—both bottle and label.
Born and Bred Vodka, produced by Grand Teton Distillery of Driggs, Idaho, is a lifestyle vodka brand created through a collaboration between the distillery and actor Channing Tatum. The distillery relies on its bottle and label to relate the product to the lifestyle of the Mountain West.
As the story goes, Tatum discovered Grand Teton during a quest to find the best vodka in America. Born and Bred was officially launched at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival in France, far from Idaho and the potatoes from which it’s distilled. It’s been promoted largely online, with visually striking content and storytelling.
NOT THE TYPICAL VODKA BOTTLE
Part of the uniqueness of Born and Bred is its packaging. Most traditional vodkas come in tall, slim bottles. Their labels typically feature sublime type and graphics. Born and Bred’s bottle is shorter and wider—similar to what’s expected for a brown spirit, or a gin. The label is press printed on a textured facestock, and is simply as stunning as the mountain range die-cut on the label.
The logo’s large, bold lettering is flanked by an image of the brand’s jackalope icon created by acclaimed illustrator Steven Noble and the head distiller’s signature. A die-cut forms the outline of the Teton range. The facestock is accentuated with gold foil highlights.
“The design of the label is an expression that combines the brand’s strategic position with Channing’s personality and values,” said Marcus Bartlett, creative director of Los Angeles-based United Talent Agency, which developed the brand.
“Born and Bred is about celebrating local legends. Small towns. Big personalities. Great stories. And in a way, that’s Channing. He’s the local guy who’s turned himself into a global star. He’s also very down to earth and authentic, someone with a bit of a mischievous personality. The jackalope is a double-sided icon. It represents that aspect of Channing—a personification of that fun-loving, adventurous spirit—as well as the history of the region, and the myths of the local culture. The label needed to be natural and authentic both to that iconography, and to Idaho itself.”
A FAST-GROWING SEGMENT
The craft spirit segment is growing quickly. According to the American Craft Spirits Association, as of August 2016, more than 1,315 craft distillers generated $2.4 billion in retail sales in the U.S. The segment accounts for about 3 percent of liquor sales nationally, and has expanded in volume at a combined annual growth rate of 27.9 percent between 2010 and 2015.
Craft drinkers are thoughtful about the brands they choose. A high-impact label can complement a brand’s story, grab the buyer’s attention with shelf appeal and communicate authenticity.
Mepco Label Systems (mepcolabel.com) handled printing and production of the Born and Bred label. With clients across the country, the company offers digital and flexographic printing through facilities in Lodi, Calif. and Horn Lake, Miss. When presented with the project’s unique challenges, Mepco turned to Avery Dennison (label.averydennison.com) for a substrate that portrayed the product and worked well in the production process.
“We went through a lot of paper options, both before and after we came to Mepco,” said Bartlett. “We were looking for something that felt a little rugged and natural, something that would evoke the values of the brand as well as hold the ink and have the right level of brightness. It’s a lot to ask of a paper, but we didn’t want the label to seem too gimmicky. We couldn’t just ‘faux’ the personality by printing texture or tints onto a sheet of plain vellum. And, even more demanding, the label needed to be able to withstand water, knowing it would be put on ice.”
“When the project came to us, we knew it would be a challenge,” said Michael Rodenborn, vice president of sales and marketing for Mepco. “On the surface, it’s a one-color label, but the stock needed a flood coat to match the background color the client wanted and there were multiple screens needed in the art. Due to the backprint, we had to switch from the HP Indigo 6800 to one of our Nilpeter FBZ 3300 presses with a turnbar and delam/relam unit. We also had to switch from flatbed emboss and hot stamp to inline rotary, due to the length of the label. When the moisture barrier came into play, we knew that we had to involve Avery Dennison on this project, which we are accustomed to doing on unique projects such as this.”
Avery Dennison recommended Fasson 70lb Bright White Felt Wet-strength Weld / S100RB / 44#PK. The construction is in the company’s welded label materials collection, available through its Wine and Spirits Portfolio. Welded technology is engineered specifically to meet rigorous wet, cold, and damp bottling environments.
MEETING LOGISTICAL NEEDS
To help Mepco increase its efficiency and align with the client’s production and distribution needs, Avery Dennison added the label stock to its EXACT program in California. This program allows a customer to order in precise roll width and length to match required slit patterns, eliminating end wasted roll remainders and offcuts.
“We knew that in order to support this business, having EXACT and next-day delivery would be critical for Mepco’s success,” said Joyce Vagnozzi, Avery Dennison regional manager. “Working with our product management and supply chain teams, we were able to add this product and EXACT program to our local inventory in Rancho Cucamonga,” which supplies Mepco’s Lodi facility.