When Humboldt Distillery was preparing to launch its first certified organic, small-batch vodka, Auston Design Group was asked to create the branding, and the package design for this new entry into the smoking hot, craft spirits genre. The distillery, located in the city of Fortuna, on California’s rugged North Coast, wanted their brand image to reflect the coastal essence of Humboldt County.
Creating a Brand Icon that Stands Out on Shelf
Tony Auston, owner of Auston Design Group says, “While Redwood trees, rocky shorelines and chainsaw art were expected directions to take, we found out that the Master Distiller had a love of crabbing the local waters, so we started looking at using the Dungeness crab as the icon that could share the story of this brand.”
The Master Distiller was of course in agreement with the idea. Once Auston got the go ahead, he used bold graphics and creative copywriting. The eye-catching label is a simple black and white design, with a big, bold crab that makes a passer-by stop and pick it up – wondering why a crab would be on a vodka bottle.
Creative copywriting explains the somewhat unexpected choice of the brand’s icon. The story goes:
NO, IT’S NOT CRAB FLAVORED. IT’S JUST A PURE, QUADRUPLE DISTILLED, ORGANIC VODKA MADE ALONG THE EMERALD COAST OF HUMBOLDT COUNTY, WHERE THE REDWOODS OVERLOOK THE FRESH WATERS OF THE PACIFIC. AND YEAH, THE CRABS ARE PRETTY GOOD HERE TOO.
Considering Design Through Production
Auston specified ESTATE LABEL® Papers by Neenah Packaging for the label. “ESTATE is the nicest of the uncoated label substrates on the market. It has a subtle grain texture that refracts light nicely and adds a tactile quality. It performs well on press, has great ink holdout, and it responds well to embossing and debossing. ESTATE LABEL® No. 8 is a workhorse; it’s great for superhigh-end wine labels, and just as well suiteed for wines $10 and under. We probably use ESTATE for about seventy-five percent of the labels we design.”
The distillery has also released a certified organic Spiced Rum and Humboldt’s Finest, and is said to be releasing Raspberry and Orange Blossom line extensions in the coming months. Stay tuned!