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Designing Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Collection

Written by in Customer Stories, Packaging, Strategic Branding and Packaging, Strategy & Customer Experience


A One-of-a-Kind Whiskey Experience

Editor’s Note: Against the Grain has celebrated some of the best creative ideas in writing paper and packaging since 2009. This year we begin our series on clients whose ideas in paper and print best demonstrate the enduring beauty and flexibility of print — using some of our most innovative product ideas.  These clients exemplify our belief that “when you print, do it well. 

The iconic Jack Daniel Distillery celebrates over 150 years of making whiskey. That history of extraordinary quality and craftsmanship is evident in all of its products, including the Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Collection.

You see, a barrel from the Single Barrel Collection is more than a barrel of the brand’s finest whiskey. It’s an experience that’s one-of-a-kind, starting with the handmade barrels, from which only one barrel out of every 100 gets to bear the esteemed Single Barrel name.

 

 

Because the Single Barrel Collection grew over time, with each new product introduced separately, there was disconnect with the packaging for the collection as a whole. That’s where Studio MLPS came in. Under the art direction of the Brown-Forman Global Design, the team at Studio MLPS was hired to redesign the Collection’s packaging.

Andy Kaul of Studio MLPS said the mission was to design a concept for both the primary and secondary packaging, one that would work across the four products in the Single Barrel Collection: Select, Rye, 100 Proof, and Barrel Proof.

“It was a highly collaborative process between our team and the Brown-Forman team,” said Kaul. Because the spirits market has grown so dramatically in recent years, our goal was to stand out on the shelf by both maintaining the brand’s historical attributes and elevating the packaging to better represent Jack Daniel’s renowned quality and craftsmanship.”

 

 

To evolve the look of the packaging, without creating something drastically different that might alienate brand loyalists, Kaul says they maintained the historical design elements of the bottle itself, and redesigned the label system with easily identifiable color indicators, all printed on Neenah ESTATE LABEL® Papers.

 

 

To create brand consistency, Studio MLPS designed clear guidelines for an overarching system that would tie the existing four products together, while being flexible enough for new products to be introduced and instantly recognized as part of the collection.

“We wanted consumers to clearly understand that Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel exemplifies the height of our whiskey making credentials,” said Brown-Forman’s Sam Gardner, Art Director.

When identifying materials for the new secondary packaging Gardner says, “We’d recently moved other Jack Daniel’s packaging to Neenah® Folding Board, a vat-dyed board produced with custom colors. It had been a successful move for these other products so we knew it would be an excellent solution for Single Barrel.” They worked with Chattanooga-based Textile Printing Company (TPC) to sample various folding boards and weights, looking for the rigidity needed to support the bottle inside and to stand up to the heavily debossed wood grain pattern that is designed into the box.

 

Then they looked to some internal experience, “We’d recently moved other Jack Daniel’s brands to Neenah® Folding Board, a vat dyed board produced with custom colors. We knew it had been a successful move for the other products so we thought it would be an excellent solution for the Select Barrels products. We select the materials in our packaging design that best represent our high standards when it comes to whiskey, and that reflect the quality of the Tennessee whiskey inside the bottle.”

 

 

The two teams worked with Chattanooga-based Textile Printing Company (TPC) to sample various weights, looking for the rigidity needed to support the bottle inside the box, and stand up to the emboss/deboss wood grain pattern designed into the box.  “The wood grain connects back to the Jack Daniel’s heritage; the skilled craftsmanship, and the fact that we make our own barrels. It was a design element we really wanted to see work and TPC had the experience to know what we could and couldn’t do with this board, and they did a beautiful job,” said Gardner.

 

 

“The wood grain connects back to Jack Daniel’s heritage, the skilled craftsmanship, and the fact that we make our own barrels. It was a design element we really wanted to see come to life and TPC had the experience to know what we could and couldn’t do with this board. They did a beautiful job.”

“We select the materiality in our packaging that best represent our high standards when it comes to making whiskey. This, in turn, reflects the quality of the Tennessee whiskey inside the bottle,” said Gardner.

The new packaging was first seen on the shelves in the Fall of 2015 for the Select, 100 Proof, and Barrel products, and then in Spring 2016 for Rye.

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    Eugene Mixon said:

    I have all the bottles from the 1st. Gold Medal up to the 15th birthday, please don’t get like Jim Beam and make so many collection bottles that we can’t afford to collect them. I like Jack Daniels am also a squire. I try to put 1 of each up for my kids or Grand kids. Thanks !