Liqueurs report: Packaging

But shouldn’t liqueurs go beyond what they are made of? Be more mysterious about their recipes? Create something you are drawn to because it’s more than an ingredient? If the product is devised to be diluted, isn’t it more difficult to stand on its own two feet?

You’ve got shelf appeal…

More a case of nomenclature, than category migration, there is a whole new range of brands moving into the liqueur category bringing the aesthetics of their core brand category.

Fireball, the cinnamon whisky liqueur, for instance – it doesn’t feel like a compromise on real whisky. It doesn’t look like the usual whisky liqueurs either, which tend to be a softer shape than the parent brand. 

Fireball ‘whisky’ isn’t a nightcap and its shot ritual certainly doesn’t need mixing. Aimed at younger adults, itlooks edgy and seems to have an irreverent underground pirated heritage. It’s also a very successful liqueur precisely because it doesn’t behave like one. The whole brand aesthetic is contemporary, dynamic and fearless.

Reinvigorating the liqueur market could just be about breaking the rules for packaging and branding. It doesn’t have to be a sub-product for the faint hearted, or just another cocktail component.  

Give it a memorable name, start from an authentic brand story, a product with an unexpected challenging twist, single-minded branding proposition and bottle design celebrating its uniqueness in the boldest of ways to intrigue and attract new consumers. 

As brand designers, we always say you can’t knowingly create an iconic design, as it becomes iconic with time. That being said, you can create something that communicates the brand in such a beautiful coherent way that it feels timeless and has the full potential to become an icon. 

Unless new ingredient combinations are found, a new orange liqueur will struggle to replace a traditional one as the ingredient of reference for cocktails and beyond.  In other words, salvation won’t come from becoming just a competing cocktail ingredient.

There are hundreds of orange liqueurs, but only one Cointreau. 

To a casual observer, the liqueur category seems to have lost momentum; the growing brands are known by the brand name and are not necessarily recognised as liqueurs by their drinkers.   In fact, most of these growing brands have been around for decades.

If, as a brand owner, you want to take on the big brands, then it’s time to move the goal posts with new risqué recipes, new serves, new brands, new designs and new consumers.

Tap into the trends

Powerful universal global trends in food and drink always find their way into the spirits market – right now the obvious home for current trends is liqueurs.  

There is certainly a place for a new generation of liqueurs. Food and drink has moved away from colours and additives, and towards superfoods and provenance. 

It’s all about natural, heritage, and even foraged. This is fertile creative territory for liqueur distillers.

The holy grail would be a new style of liqueur which is perfect just over ice. 

It’s more than likely those in the world of cocktails will inspire the next generation of liqueurs by tapping into the food and drink trends of major world cities.

So, in the not-too-distant future we will likely see a Thai basil and lemongrass liqueur. However, the successful version won’t be branded like that – it will fit into the exotic category and will be served with frozen fresh lemonade. 

We might see bergamot and kumquat liqueur delicately fragranced with jasmine, drizzled into champagne or prosecco.   

The accompanying pack and decorative aesthetic will draw heavily on fresh food and ingredient design codes. Cold pressed juices are setting the soft drinks world alight – liqueurs will find parallels.

So we believe there is still huge potential for new aesthetics in branding and packaging for liqueurs.  

The blockbuster will be non-gender specific, will set a new language… and over time become iconic. That is not to say this is an easy task, but as an old Russian proverb goes: “He who doesn’t risk, never gets to drink champagne.” Or liqueurs, as the case may be.