A Hard Cider Draws Inspiration from a Legendary Reputation

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Wrangletown Cider Company is a small, craft cider company in the heart of Humboldt County in Northern California. This small batch hard cider maker is committed to its community, sourcing apples locally and drawing inspiration from the colorful local history for its branding.

You see, today it’s a small quiet community named Freshwater, but around the turn of the century it was better known as Wrangletown. And while Wrangletown was small, it was anything but quiet — this mining and logging town once had a population of 300… with seven saloons. One might imagine the tales of wild Saturday nights can only be accurate.

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The folks at Wrangletown Cider worked with California-based designer, Tony Auston, of Auston Design Group, to develop the branding and create the label for the line of ciders. Auston used a particularly interesting piece of the town’s history for the focal point of the package — the legend of two of Wrangletown’s most disagreeable women. According to local history, these two extremely strong-willed women, who could never quite see eye-to-eye, were especially notorious for their very public disagreements, often brawling in the streets.

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The unique town history not only provided the inspiration for the old-west look, it became a prominent element of the packaging. Auston’s team created every element on the label, from the illustrations to the seals and custom hand lettering.

Auston worked with Portland’s CCL Digital to produce the labels. The bottle labels are digitally printed on ESTATE LABEL® by Neenah Packaging the preferred go-to stock for much of the beverage packaging projects that Auston Design Group works on.

To add an extra level of authenticity to the label Auston debossed the brand mark and all of the red elements on the label to simulate the vintage look of letterpress printing, and added a deckle edge die-cut to the left side.

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The use of multiple typefaces also evokes the era of the brand’s heritage, and gives the sense that the printer used every piece of wood-type in his drawer ­— not an uncommon practice back when printers doubled as designers. The proprietary, hand-lettered brand mark and the custom woodcut style illustrations were created to roughly reflect the old west look and feel of print design in the late 1800’s.

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A change in color of the seal on the label and the name of the orchard differentiate the three Wrangletown ciders: The main tier cider package, and the two orchard specific, seasonal small-lot productions.

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“This is an authentically local brand, Wrangletown fully embraces the heritage of craft cider making and has a deep appreciation of the history of its community. It shares both of those messages with every bottle of cider it produces. And, as the motto reads, we think it all adds up to a ‘sorta refined, kinda classy’ package,” says Auston.