Craft Spirits July 2021

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packaging

TOP FORM & FUNCTION Part two of our closure series spotlights innovations from Tapi. BY JEFF CIOLETTI

A bottle’s closure says as much about the distiller’s intentions as any production description on a company website could. Different spirits categories and different segments within those categories often have disparate messages to convey and—not to get too McLuhan-esque on you here—the medium (ie: the closure material) that they choose is the message. As part of our occasional series on package closures, we checked in with Tapi USA to detail how its product line helps craft spirits producers communicate an array of brand attributes to a range of target consumers. “The selection of your décor and finish really equate to the end consumer who you are trying to attract,” says Leah Hutchinson, midwest sales manager for Tapi USA. “Probably, this is less a question about spirits brands and more a question about the desired

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end consumer of the brands. There are design cues which customers hit on to identify products to which they’re attracted.” Aged and what Hutchinson calls “more refined” spirits—think higher-end bourbons—are typically associated with deeper stained wood tops and heavier pieces like a weighted metal zamac. Consumers looking for a contemporary-style gin or flavored vodka might gravitate to a lighter color plastic top. Distillers pursuing an agricultural look that says organic or really wanting to play up certain botanicals may consider a natural raw wood top with a rough laser engraving. For a more urban or cosmopolitan look, shiny, reflective aluminum or clear could be the way to go. “The trend for premiumization and competition for shelf space continue to drive brands to develop unique and high-quality designs,”

says Hutchinson. “More and more of our customers are working with designers to help stand out in the fight for shelf space and to create products that enhance their on-site distillery image.” But beyond design aesthetics, closure suppliers and their customers are focused, now more than ever on the supply chain. “When you look at what our customers are asking from us now, they’re looking for supply,” says Tapi USA general manager Kevin Dunbar. “The pandemic has brought the supply chain into sharper perspective for these customers.” Pre-COVID, Dunbar says, the industry could rely on a wide range of points of origins from which to procure materials. “As things have tightened and as demand has increased, all of a sudden everyone all of a sudden everyone had to make sure they

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