The rise of the craft alcohol industry has seen an explosion in the way alcohol is presented and consumed through its labelling but most importantly packaging design. The artisanal movement has changed the way that brands connect with consumers, and shifted the focus toward alcohol brands as signifiers of a particular way of doing things.

There are 3 major ways that alcohol brands are now connecting with customers through packaging design:

Identity

The truth is, beverage choice is actually a lifestyle choice – the buying into a particular brands sensibility, aesthetic and place in the market. Think of the differences in branding between
the blue-collar camaraderie of Carling Black Label and the artisanal flair of a Darling Bonecrusher.

A label is a potent signifier – something that clearly indicates the experience that a consumer is buying into premium, affordable or alternative.

Moments

Alcohol manufacturers are realising that life moments are key to their branding strategies. People drink at key moments – weekends, birthdays, celebrations, and brands are competing not only with other brands in the same space but with all other beverage choices.

The choice of alcohol indicates what people intend to communicate at these key moments and branding in general, and labels in particular, are key parts of this communications process.

Difference

Have you ever had the experience of drinking a decent wine out of a plastic cup? It just tastes different. That’s because it’s not just about taste but about the entire range of sensory experience.

There is research to suggest that premium-looking beverages are actually perceived to taste better. The look and feel of a product are key to people’s ultimate experience of that product. Making a product stand out on the shelf and look and feel like it’s meant to taste is a crucial part of a branding strategy.