Bringing Designs to Life

Monday 15 July 2013 11:29 AM

Drinks Packaging - Unisto Bottle Decorations Help Bring Designs to Life


In the competitive world of whisky, innovation whether through brand reinvention or new product development is the key to market growth. The highly evocative Monkey Shoulder brand, a new malt whisky from family-owned distillers William Grant and Sons, demonstrates how packaging can help position a brand.

In launching Monkey Shoulder, William Grant’s goal was to demystify a traditional product, introducing different ways of drinking whisky to tempt a new generation of drinkers, with a smooth, rich ‘Triple Malt’ Scotch whisky that taste great straight, whilst its range of flavours lends itself perfectly to mixing.

Heavy investment in the initial design and launch phases with a tightly controlled launch was seen as necessary to achieving the desired gravitas for the new product while building in longevity – with the ability to evolve the brand as customers are recruited in new sectors and the company moves to high volume production.

Key to the packaging design was to strike a balance between the authenticity of a premium brand and the contemporary feel of a product developed to reshape long-established perceptions.

At the heart of the concept is an iconic bottle design incorporating a unique on-bottle badge developed by Unisto for William Grant in the form of three monkeys representing the three single malt used to create Monkey Shoulder. Rooted in malt whiskey lore, the name comes from an injury common among malt men in years gone by, caused by repeated bending in turning the malt.

Monkey Shoulder Bottle Decoration

A major technical consideration was to ensure the emblem, so central to the Monkey Shoulder image, remained firmly fixed on the bottle throughout its lifetime. Unisto were approached by William Grant for their technical expertise in the development and application of sealing devices at production point and their understanding of how different adhesives are affected by environmental factors as well as possible chemical reaction with the finishes used in modern glass treatments.

During initial trialling, Unisto worked closely with French bottle manufacturers Saverglass in developing and testing the uniquely-shaped three-dimensional seal to fit within a specially-designed recessed aperture on the curved shoulder of the bottle, thus reducing the risk of removal during bottle-to-bottle knocking or on contact with bar rails through repeated lifting.

The unique bottle decoration has sparked immense public awareness for the new drink, creating an element of fun that has been heavily exploited as the basis for numerous promotions and an interactive web site and successfully drawing in new consumer markets.

Fast becoming a collector’s item, the monkey ‘badge’ has inspired consumers in the stylish bars where Monkey Shoulder is initially being targeted, not least in devising new ways to display it on ties, hats and other items!

Destined to go down in brand history for its innovative use of glass and packaging, the Monkey Shoulder example also supports thase e cfor collaboration at an early stage between designers and technical specialists to enable companies to reap the benefits of commercial-scale production methods up front.

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