As the number of craft spirits distilleries across the United States grows, so does the number of bottles on the retail shelves and back bars. As the square footage on those retail shelves and the space on the back bars remain the same, craft spirits makers need to stay on top of their game to make sure their bottles and labels do their best to grab consumers attention and tell a compelling brand story.
What Was the Inspiration Behind the New Bottle Design?
Over the last few months, Dogfish Head Distilling Co. decided it was time to put a fresh new look on their craft spirits bottles. To get the inside story on the new bottle, we spoke with Dogfish Head Distilling Co’s General Manager James Montero to tell us about the inspiration behind the new bottle designs.
“In short, we wanted our packaging to work harder in telling our brand story and communicating each products story and flavor profile,” said Montero. “As you know, the shelf is mighty competitive these days. The previous packaging had certain benefits, the design strongly communicated Dogfish Head’s off-centered DNA with its highly illustrative screen print over clear glass but, the core messaging, showing off our shark logo, the product name and type of spirit was not fully represented in those critical consumer decision points (i.e. back bar, and on liquor store shelf).”
The new packaging design brings focus to the creativity, high quality and often rare ingredients that go into the portfolio of spirits. Montero says the, “Thoughtfully curated ingredients are the stars of the design, showcased in playful illustrations that create realistic and authentic flavor expectations in an off-centered manner. Consumers can see what goes into each handcrafted spirit by viewing the front panel of the bottle, which highlights the specific elements and unique processes involved in creating the spirit.” As you look at the graphics, you’ll easily see the ingredients used without ever reading the label.
The new packaging will be applied to the entire lineup of spirits including Compelling Gin, Analog Vodka, Whole Leaf Gin, Roasted Peanut Vodka, Barrel Honey Rum as well as seasonal special releases and small batch specials.
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Dogfish Head Distilling spirits use a custom designed bottle from Saxco International. The flint 750ml bottle features a square-shaped mold with DOGFISH HEAD embossed down the right panel with, flat shoulders and a premium thick glass base. Design firm Interact in Boulder, CO created the design on the updated labels.
An Old Dog Still Learning New Tricks – Brewery, Restaurant, Distillery & Inn
In the craft beverage world, the Dogfish Head brand is and old dog that continues to learn new tricks. Dogfish Head started in 1995 when Sam Calagione opened a brewpub in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. At the time he was the smallest brewer in America churning out culinary inspired, off-centered ales. In 2001 he started distributing beer more broadly, and today consumers in 38 states and DC enjoy Dogfish Head beer. The craft beer business is the lion share of the business.
They also have two restaurants that represent a substantial part of the overall business serving hundreds of thousands of fans each year in Rehoboth Beach. Brewings & Eats is the heart and soul of the companies brewing R&D home. For two decades Brewings & Eats has been “mecca” for people around the world to enjoy dogfish head’s off centered ales, as well as taste what’s to come. Every Dogfish Head beer starts as an R&D batch in that restaurant. Next door to Brewings & Eats is Chesapeake & Maine, a seafood centric restaurant with a progressive cocktail program – so much so in 2017 it received a James Beard Nomination for best bar program in America. The distillery uses that bar program as a means of road testing R&D spirits, as well as exploring new cocktail ideas to take into the market.
In 2015 Dogfish moved its distillery production out of the second floor of Brewings & Eats into the middle of its Milton brewing campus, allowing them to tap into the ingredients and brewing expertise that goes into their beer. Compared to other parts of the business, craft spirits is still quite small, with sales focused in their own back yard including DE, MD, VA and DC. Montero says, “Our (crafts spirits) goal is to grow the footprint to match our brewing, but we will be taking our time!”
Dogfish Head Distillery
For 22 years, Dogfish Head has been committed to innovation as the foundation for building its off-centered brands. “We aspire to be the most thoughtfully adventurous craft distillery set apart by our quality, consistent product and portfolio of spirits and cocktails that stand out in the world of creative distilling,” says Sam Calagione founder and CEO of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and Dogfish Head Distilling Co.
And let’s not forget the Dogfish Inn. They have a 16 room Inn located in historic downtown Lewes alongside the canal. And in case you were wondering if they allow dogs, “Heck yeah, dogs!”