We recently wrapped up the branding package for a local craft distillery. The work involved coming up with a graphic language for the distillery that could be applied to all of their social extensions, most importantly their bottle labeling. Although this type of work isn’t what’s typically in our wheelhouse, we found that our skills as architects and designers applied quite well to the exercise. After all, it’s got the same ingredients as an architecture project; it has a rigorous analysis phase, state codes must be followed, it requires creative interpretation, and the end goal is still a physical product. Oh, and alcohol -they both have that going for them. So we dove in and had a ton of fun with the project.

We developed three entirely separate branding concepts based on various explorations at different times. The craft distillery environment is evolving very quickly and we found it challenging to stay a step ahead of the branding wave. But coming from architecture backgrounds, we felt that a different perspective on the subject would bring about some fresh methods and ideas. After a ton of studying up on the distilling process, familiarizing ourselves with the liquor business, and getting our palettes on the product we arrived at 3 distinct branding concepts and about a dozen label designs.

In the end, the distillery chose not to distill – there are just too many craft distilleries coming up the ranks, the financial risk was too high and the bureaucracy involved in producing liquor makes pulling a master-use permit at the building department look like a walk in the park. So you won’t be seeing any of these labels lining the shelves at your favorite watering hole. But it was a fulfilling project and we thought that design-minded blog readers might find it to be an entertaining study. So in the spirit of Friday, pull up with a something-or-other on the rocks, take a peek  and let us know what you think. And bonus points if you know why “173” is significant to the distillery biz.

Cheers from team build and virtual martinis all around.