Wine & Spirits

More than Good Looks

Posted: October 15, 2011 by
Darcy Lewis

When premium wholesale liquor distributor Haas Brothers set out to recreate its Cyrus Noble Bourbon brand, creating the ideal packaging was top of mind.

The San Francisco-based company, a family business, still had the original recipe and a single bottle of pre-World War II Cyrus Noble that had been ready for sale in 1948. The brand had survived for nearly a century before finally falling out of favor in the mid-twentieth century as consumers’ tastes changed.

For the relaunch, “the family wanted to convey that Gold Rush-era spirit of opportunity,” says Philippe Becker, creative director of PhilippeBecker. “But they ultimately decided to add a modern twist to make it even more compelling.”

The process started with the label. “The server needs to read the label from across the bar, so we wanted more visual impact than the original,” says Becker. “We ultimately created an engraving effect, like old currency, to build that idea of wealth and prosperity.” The design team also devised a new brand “seal” of a crown atop crossed miner’s tools for both label and bottle.

Cameo Crafts ran the self-adhesive labels on a Gallus press as an eight-color job with overall varnish, embossing, spot UV, and gold foil. “The method is rotary offset, which gave us much better quality than we would have had in flexo,” Becker says. “The job was all run inline, so what came off press was the finished label.”

For the capsule surrounding the synthetic cork, the team wanted to replicate hand-applied excise tax stamps. “We ended up going with all plastic, but we weren’t happy with the shrink wrapping. So we’re redoing them as paper over foil,” Becker says.

The new bottle, supplied by Global Package LLC, also adds contemporary flair while honoring the original’s spirit. Erica Harrop, founder of Global Package, explains: “Today’s interesting bottle shapes weren’t available then, so we decided not to be limited by that.”

The biggest issue was how to emboss the new seal on the bottle so that the label would line up correctly. “I had to reverse-engineer the bottle and eventually figured out what we needed: An IV notch, so named for when hospitals used glass IV bottles,” Harrop says. “Now the label lines up perfectly every time.”

The initial run of 5,000 cases of Cyrus Noble was filled early this year and will launch for the 2011 holiday season. –

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