In the United States, millennials—more than consumers in other age groups—are paying attention to packaging design elements. According to Mintel’s “Beverage Packaging Trends: Spotlight on Alcoholic Beverage Packaging US 2017,” three-quarters of millennials who purchase alcoholic beverages say they pay attention to packaging format and packaging label design. In comparison, just over half of Baby Boomers say the same.



Millennials are a large and influential group for brand owners due to their online presence. The versatility of this demographic makes them a challenging, yet exciting target. For millennials, visual cues often come to the fore, as they are looking for outstanding product propositions. Packaging plays a crucial role at this level of communication, allowing brands to capture millennials’ attention as well as to provide them with experiences worth sharing online.



Brands that explore unusual pack shapes or materials are likely to resonate with younger consumers. When it comes to alcoholic drinks, brands have the opportunity to develop attractive packaging that appeals to millennials.

Until recently, rum had been a neglected category with a cheap image. Now, sales have benefited from a renaissance in dark spirits and are enjoying a recovery in the U.S. due to an influx of flavor innovations. However, as such innovations become more common and reach a saturation point, producers are open to exploring new attributes. New packaging design could be one of those attributes as it can create a distinctive brand identity, shape consumer experiences and create new purchasing occasions.

In 2015, Captain Morgan introduced Cannon Blast Rum in A cannon ball-shaped 750ml bottle. This new pack has been introduced to revive of Captain Morgan rum, which had struggled against price competition. The spherical glass bottle is wrapped in a shrink sleeve, which has a matte finish. The sleeve label also features a textured surface meant to feel like an authentic period cannon ball.

For summer 2017, Diageo launched a new flavor and an updated version of this spherical bottle: LocoNut. The new version of the bottle resembles a coconut, as the rum is flavored with coconut liqueur and spices. Moreover, this bottle also has a scratch-and-sniff logo, with a sweet aroma of coconut.

The round shape is simple, but not common in the spirits category, providing good standout. It also creates a recognizable brand cue for Captain Morgan, reinforcing the essence of the brand.

Even though the innovative flavors of Captain Morgan rum are key to its performance, the bottle shape reinforces the message to millennials about its uniqueness. As packaging design attributes are important to this audience, leveraging unique or distinctive pack structures can further reinvigorate this product category.