Top 10 award-winning spirits bottle designsBy Nicola Carruthers
Brand story, functionality and sustainability are key when it comes to the design of spirits packaging. We present the labels, bottles and boxes that turned heads during our annual competition.
The Spirits Business held its annual Design & Packaging Masters last month, where an experienced panel of judges recognised the best bottlings in the business.
The competition is sponsored by Amorim’s Top Series unit, which specialises in the design, engineering and production of exclusive capsulated cork closures.
Chaired by The Spirits Business, the competition is judged by a number of independent design and packaging experts.
Looking across multiple categories, from Cognac to calvados, gin to Tequila, a wide range of bottles were awarded the top accolade of Master medals for their designs.
The individual scores of each entrant have not been revealed, however these are 10 of the highest rated medalists in the competition, in no particular order.
Click through the following pages to view the top 10 award-winning bottle designs of 2019.
Pink Pepper Gin
Price: £40-£45 (US$52-US$58)
Audemus Spirits’ Pink Pepper Gin scored a Master medal after impressing judges with its “very clever” box packaging that doubled as a cocktail menu.
“I’m super impressed; the user experience and customer experience are completely amazing,” one member of the panel noted.
Vacuum distilled in a rotavap, Pink Pepper Gin contains nine botanicals, including pink peppercorns, juniper, cardamom, and a honey distillate.
Price: £34 (US$44)
Created by the visionaries at Wonderworks, Avallen stormed to success in the Calvados round, picking up a thoroughly deserved Master medal.
Avallen Calvados is packaged in a bottle chosen for its “bartender friendliness”, and encompasses the brand’s green ethos from top to bottom.
The creators at Wonderworks ensured the bottle is also one of the lightest on the market in an attempt to reduce the brand’s environmental impact when it is shipped.
Futhermore, the bottle’s label has been printed on recycled apple pulp paper and only uses sustainable dyes to minimise the impact on the environment. The remaining pulp is distributed to dairy farmers to feed their herds.
Avallen was launched by Healthy Hospo founder Tim Etherington-Judge and wine and spirits specialist Stephanie Jordan.
Knut Hansen Dry Gin
Price: £35 (US$45)
Germany’s Knut Hansen Dry Gin scored a Master medal in the Gin round for its “regional and old fashioned” design, as well as its use of ceramic materials, which judges said “appeals to sustainability”.
Knut Hansen Dry Gin is produced in Hamburg and takes its name and design from a legendary sailor called Knut Hansen. The gin is made using a selection of 14 botanicals including apple, basil and cucumber.
Compass Box Stranger & Stranger
Price: £150 (US$199)
The Scotch Whisky round saw a Master medal go to Compass Box Stranger & Stranger. The design of the whisky was described as “opulent perfection”. One judge enthused: “This is a case of when you spend money, you get quality.”
The bottling marks the 10-year anniversary of the working relationship between Compass Box and packaging designer Stranger & Stranger, which spans 35 whisky bottle designs.
The Stranger & Stranger team, led by design director Guy Pratt, used a “cutting-edge” printing technique not typically used for bottle labels to create an almost 3D effect.
Due to the label being “so heavily embossed”, a specially trained team is required to apply the labels. Stranger & Stranger is comprised of 99% liquid from the three Speyside single malt distilleries.
Zealot’s Heart Gin
Price: £30 (US$39)
BrewDog Distilling Co’s Zealot’s Heart Gin won a Master medal for its originality and “super strong” brand story.
According to the producer, the “beating heart” of the gin is “made by zealots, for zealots”.
It is made with juniper, coriander, angelica root, orris root, Thai lemongrass, grapefruit peel, lavender flower, allspice, goji berries, meadowsweet, lemon peel, lime peel, mace, kaffir lime leaves, Szechuan peppercorn, sansho peppercorn and grains of paradise.
Penderyn Rich Oak
Price: £45 (US$58)
In World Whisky, Welsh whisky producer Penderyn secured a Master for its Penderyn Rich Oak.
“This is something I’d love to have in my cupboard,” said one member of the panel. “There’s something very special about it.”
According to another judge, the “elegant” look of the bottle reflects Penderyn’s position as a “modern” distiller.
The whisky starts off life in ex-Bourbon casks and is finished in a selection of European ex-wine casks.
No.3 London Dry Gin
Price: £36 (US$47)
A Master medal also went to the “classic” and “easy‐to‐hold” No.3 London Dry Gin, produced by English wine and spirits merchant Berry Bros & Rudd.
Designed by Stranger & Stranger, the hexagonal bottle shape reflects each of the six botanicals in the No.3 recipe, and the turquoise colour signifies the “refreshing” taste delivered by the juniper, citrus and spice.
Ferrand 10 Generations
Price: £37 (US$48)
In the Cognac category, the “simple but beautiful” Ferrand 10 Générations bagged the Master accolade after impressing the panel with its intricate illustration subtly depicting the generations of the brand’s founding family.
“It’s like a piece of art,” said one judge, while another added: “It’s very baroque, but it works.”
Ferrand 10 Générations is bottled with a bespoke label that depicts the face profiles of the 10 generations of the Ferrand family in the roots of a vine.
Since 1630, 10 generations of the Ferrand family have passed down their knowledge of the Cognac production process. Maison Ferrand has created 10 Générations as a tribute to their work and the family’s last descendant, Mademoiselle Henriette.
Lind & Lime Gin
Price: £35 (US$45)
Lind & Lime Gin from Edinburgh-based Port of Leith Distillery pleased judges with its “perfume bottle‐like” appearance and “good grip”.
The gin has been distilled with seven botanicals, including lime and pink peppercorns.
Designed in a distinctive wine bottle shape, Lind & Lime Gin harks back to Leith’s past as a trading harbour for wines, Sherries and Ports, which were the most valuable commodities to pass through the docks from the 14th century onwards.
Theodore Pictish Gin
Price: £40 (US$52)
Greenwood Distillers was awarded a Master medal in the Gin round for its Theordore Pictish Gin.
The packaging for Theodore Pictish Gin was said to “convey all the messages about what’s in the bottle” through its “less is more” aesthetic.
The first edition of Theodore Gin was created with guidance from olfactory expert and perfume designer Barnabé Fillion, and takes inspiration from the Picts – an ancient tribe that once settled near the brand’s home in Ardross, northern Highlands, Scotland.
The gin’s name pays homage to Theodore de Bry, a 16th-century engraver who drew the Picts.