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Picking the Right Packaging For Your Spirits in 6 Easy Steps

Published on:

October 9, 2019

Written by Jorge Nieri, Brand Realization Consultant, QUEST, LLC.


Congratulations! You’ve created a masterpiece spirit. Now how do you plan to brand it? Have you thought about packaging? For some, this will be the most exciting part of your business, and it might even be the most important. Whether it’s on store shelves or on the bar top, before taking a sip, consumers will first experience your product by its packaging.

As a Brand Realization Consultant at QUEST — a leading provider of specialty glass packaging and decoration — I work with clients every day to ensure that their product is matched with a container and decoration that’s as distinguishable as the liquid it holds. At QUEST, we believe building a brand through premium packaging should be as simple as the results are stunning. To get you started, we’ve provided you with these 6 easy steps for picking the right packaging for your new spirits brand.

1. Take 10% of your retail price and allocate that to your package cost — then spend well!

For craft distillers launching their brand without the packaging procurement staff of major spirits and wine companies, deciding how much to spend on your packaging and labeling can be a real challenge. After 20 years of experience, observation, and research, QUEST recommends that clients allocate 10% of their intended retail price to the cost of their package.

We know that a compelling brand can be presented in packaging at virtually any price point — so long as you’ve done your research and chosen the right partner. QUEST can help you spend this 10% wisely, finding the perfect packaging for your stand-out spirit and bringing your brand to life.

2. Conduct a competitive shelf and positioning analysis — remember the shelf is full!

We recommend taking a look at the “competitive shelf,” not just at the local and regional levels, but nationally. Is your brand or distillery’s positioning unique, compelling, and memorable? Even if you are planning to be a “destination” distillery relying on foot-traffic alone, it is important to understand the competitive landscape, as consumers will compare your product’s aesthetic and brand story to their existing frame of reference.

Remember that the shelf is already full. That means your brand — and it’s packaging — must knock someone else “off the shelf” and keep the competition from doing the same to you. QUEST can help you carve out your spot on the shelf and maintain your hold with compelling packaging that will engage the consumer and keep them coming back for more.


3. Define your target consumer: Who are they and how will your product reach them?

Your packaging must support your brand’s positioning and attract the target consumer. Who will find your product and brand offering attractive? What are their characteristics, qualities, and consumer behaviors? Not quite sure? Some simple online research can help.

Once you’ve identified your target consumer, think about ways you can make your brand responsive. Now how can you reflect that in your packaging?

For example, if you’re targeting millennials, your brand should speak to that. Choosing packaging that’s “Instagram worthy” can help you sell your product and might even get you some free advertising on social media.

Whatever target consumer you choose, it’s important for your packaging to support your brand’s story — there can’t be dissonance! This will also help you avoid brand confusion, which is a quick way to kill your business. Find your niche, establish your brand identity, and stay with it.

4. Pick the bottle: Stock or signature?

Why is it that so many whiskey brands are in Nordic rounds? Not because it helps them sell. Stock bottles work if they’re “finished off” right — with decoration that helps your brand stand out.

If you really want to make a splash and you’ve done your research, a signature custom bottle may be the way to go — and it doesn’t have to break your budget! QUEST offers a special program that, from idea to bottle, can take as little as 9 months to execute at a cost comparable to stock.


5. Finalize the decoration — it’s time to dress to impress!

Label, Screenprint, Medallions, Appliques, Frost, Spray-finishes — it all can be done; but which will be the best for your brand and budget? QUEST can help you choose wisely.

For example, though a Press Sensitive Label (PSL) may seem inexpensive at first, try labeling by hand or purchasing a pricey labeler and you might realize it isn’t worth the “savings.” QUEST can provide guidance on which options are best for you and help you avoid making decisions that lead to added costs down the road.

You also don’t want to be distracted by balancing an inventory of packaging components when you really should be worrying about crafting and marketing your masterpiece spirit. That’s why QUEST works hand-in-hand with your design team to incorporate as many elements into your bottle as possible without the hassle of leaving you to assemble those components separately.

6. Choose the right partner!

Regardless of your packaging budget, if you have a creative concept and a great partner who can help you express your brand in a compelling way, you can achieve a powerful brand statement. At QUEST, we call this Brand Power Flex Pricingâ„¢. That’s why QUEST is the best partner for clients looking for the consistency of a custom, high-quality, finished package — at any budget.

From caps to bottle and decoration, QUEST can deliver your bottle in the most efficient and effective way, because we know how much every element matters to making your brand — and product — stand out against the competition. To learn more about QUEST’s Brand Power Flex Pricingâ„¢ and Premium Package Realizationâ„¢ services, visit

Written by Jorge Nieri, Brand Realization Consultant, QUEST, LLC.

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