THE DOs AND DON’Ts OF LABEL HIERARCHY FOR ALCOHOL BEVERAGE BRANDING WRITTEN BY
When consumers are choosing a spirit from the shelf or from a bar or restaurant back bar, they are influenced both by analytical and aesthetic cues provided by the packaging and its hierarchy.
ere’s what you need to know about this delicate balance to influence consumers to choose your product over your competitor’s.
TYPICAL HIERARCHY In very general terms a typical label hierarchy from most prominent to the least prominent is as follows:
Product type/flavor (bourbon, gin, vodka, etc.).
Sourcing (the source of grains, botanicals, where the distillery is located, etc.).
Batch number, bottle number, production level.
Endorsements, qualifiers, distiller artifacts (awards, distiller’s signature, handwritten information on the bottle, etc.).
Alcohol percentage, volume and other legal mandatories (legal information required by the country where it is sold).
HOW PRODUCT TYPE AND SALES CHANNEL SHIFTS HIERARCHY When designing your label, consider the various channels in which the product will be sold. For instance, label information for WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM
spirits brands that are sold on-premise should be much larger so that it can be easily read by consumers from a distance as they scan the back bar for a choice. The brand name should always be the first read on a spirits package and it needs to be easy to read from a distance. There seems to be a strange design trend emerging where the product type, such as vodka, overshadows the brand name, sometimes to where the brand name is almost hidden. This implies a sort of generic offering at best, but in my eyes it is quite dangerous because in most cases the product type provides no brand equity— anyone that makes a vodka can say vodka on their label. One case where product type and another piece of information may share an equal or similar hierarchy is in the case of flavored products. For example, in order for consumers and bartenders to easily identify what they are looking for, flavored vodkas, liqueurs, etc. may be labeled so that bartenders can easily find the correct flavor to make a pomegranate martini and consumers can quickly call out their favorite cinnamon shooter.
THE DOs AND DON’Ts OF LABEL HIERARCHY DO
make sure your brand name stands out.
make the consumer search for your brand name because it is too small, in an unlikely place or hidden within a camouflaging design.