Dewar’s Uncovered

by Helen on April 28, 2014

We’re very excited about this one. Since launching the new look Dewar’s on the world, it’s featured on Dieline, Lovely Package and Harper’s to name but a few.

As Ivan explains: “Working closely throughout with the Dewar’s brand team, we went on a journey back to the origins of the brand. The Dewar’s story is such a rich and authentic tapestry it made complete sense for us to incorporate this across all the packs. Using light contemporary touches we’ve allowed Dewar’s to wear its considerable heritage with pride, tell the real story behind this great true scotch and reinvigorate the brand.”

Hope you like. And there’s more about it here too, on the Live True website.





Eco logical

by Helen on March 10, 2014

Drinks International asked Kev his thoughts on green packaging. Here’s what he said:

Next year is the 20th anniversary of Stranger & Stranger. Yes, we’re having a party and yes, your invite is in the post.

We’ve created brands for everyone from Michel Rolland to Diageo, our job numbers run into the 4,000s, and throughout all of those jobs do you know how many times we’ve been asked to consider the environment? Nine. When we are asked to do something even remotely eco it stands out so much we all comment on it.

Guess how many times we’ve been asked to create an unusual wine bottle? Four. I remember Jeremy Clarkson commenting on Top Gear that, because their cars have changed little in the past 50 years, Porsche designers must be the laziest in the world. It’s not true – wine bottle producers are. The design of the wine bottle – two designs if you count Burgundy and Bordeaux shapes – has changed little in the past 300 years and similar-size bottles have even been found in Pompeii when people were having one last drink in AD79.

Incidentally, do you know why wine bottles are the size they are – 75cl was the average volume of air exhaled by the guys who use to blow the bottles.

We don’t blow bottles by lung anymore but we’re still using those same measures for almost 40 billion wine bottles a year.

This past year we tried to address some of these issues head on and developed a few new energy-efficient brands for wines, the highlight of which was getting a brand launched on the US market called Paperboy in a bottle made out of compressed recycled board. Safeway was progressive enough to offer its support for a launch and Whole Foods was on the phone shortly afterwards.

To produce a paper bottle takes only 15% of the energy that it takes to produce a glass bottle. When empty the paper bottle only weighs an ounce, which means you can pick up a case of wine with one hand. Trucks are filled by weight and, when shipping wine, often travel just over half full. With paper bottles they can be filled to capacity.

Do you know how much energy is spent just shipping the empty 40 billion bottles to the wineries to be filled each year? No, neither do I but it must be a lot. Empty paper bottles can be shipped stacked like egg cartons. I could go on.

Of course a paper bottle is pretty cutting edge radical but you’d be amazed at how even the smallest changes can add up.

A few years ago we started working on Jack Daniel’s and Jose Cuervo and the 12-bottle cases are small. Square bottles, you see, have no dead space between the bottles. The wine shelves would be 11% shorter if everyone used square bottles. Hundreds of thousands of trees would be saved in outer cardboard alone. I could go on again.

This year we launched a square wine bottle called California Square. Total Wines was, like Safeway, progressive enough to trial it and its floor staff were briefed to talk about the benefits of greener packaging. Of course, the bottling line bitched and whined about the fact that it would be impossible to use square bottles, and did that right up to the point when we pointed out that three of the biggest liquor brands in the world come in square format. The wine trade has a lot of people for whom the computer always says no.

The alcohol industry is one of the most energy-hungry and wasteful sectors in the whole of retail but the potential for a positive change is huge. We all saw how Tesco changed the face of the closure industry in the UK when it demonstrated support for screwcaps.

We’re just one small company trying to make a dent in the homogeny of our corner of the trade but just imagine if all retailers actually did something to incentivise brand owners to develop less energy-hungry formats and did a little something to educate consumers on exactly how many carbon dioxides it took to make their packaging or to ship plastic and water from a military junta in Fiji.

This rant piece appears in the current issue of Drinks International.



January 30, 2014
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Here is the news.

November 13, 2013

So, a little late delivering this one but please meet our new Paperboy. Full details on the website but know that what you see here is just about as green as a wine bottle is going to get. We’re talking 15% of the energy it takes to make a glass bottle. Good news indeed.  

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Square Up

September 26, 2013

Square bottles take up less space, but you never see them on the wine shelves. If the wine industry turned over to square instead of round bottles we’d save almost a million trees in outer cardboard boxes alone, not to mention savings in shipping and storage. So, we’ve created California Square. And it’s gone bonkers. Available […]

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Harpers Wine & Spirit Design Awards 2013: The Results

August 16, 2013

So, we’re not normally ones to air punch. But. We’ve just won Best Design Agency in the Harpers Wine & Spirit Design Awards. And: Gold for Jour de Nuit (Wine Range) Gold for I Heart Brasil Moscato (Sparkling Category) Silver for Ballistic Brewing (Beer category) Bronze  for Ballistic Brewing (Range category) Gold for Safeway Bottle […]

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Stirling Silver

July 25, 2013

Last week saw the 18th International Spirits Challenge Awards Dinner and we were there to see one of our designs, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey’s White Rabbit, win a silver medal. With more than 1000 entries from over 70 countries, this is one of the toughest Spirits competitions around. So we’re really thrilled to have pulled one […]

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The Dieline Package Design Awards 2013: The Results

June 26, 2013

So, we’ve had to keep it under wraps* for a while but at last, we can spill. Our Safeway Bottle Sleeves, developed with winemakers Truett Hurst and launched last year, have won. 1st place in the Wine & Champagne category at this year’s Dieline Package Design Awards. And with over 1100 entries, it is one […]

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Who’s the Daddy?

May 8, 2013

Don Papa is his name, and he won Double Gold at this year’s 2013 San Francisco World Spirits Competition Packaging Design Awards. There’s a lot happening on that label. Fifty different types of insects and animals, to be precise. And there’s a whole lot happening in the bottle, just as you’d expect from a premium aged small […]

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World Whiskies Design Awards 2013: Results

March 25, 2013

Last Thursday, we saw some of our latest designs walk the metaphorical Red Carpet at this year’s World Whiskies Design Awards. And, as it turned out, we did rather well. Three gongs for our designs, topped off with Best Design Agency. Cue group hug. Our winning designs were: Best Blended Limited Edition – Flaming Heart […]

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