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The blurred lines of beauty and spirits packaging: Packaging synergies abound in the cosmetics, fragrance and liquor packaging industries.

At first blush, there doesn't seem to be much common ground between beauty products and alcoholic sprits. But while the products inside the packaging have their obvious differences, the product categories each have a shared emphasis on iniac. What's more, the packages housing beauty products and spirits also share similar design and decorative techniques--and many packaging suppliers accommodate brands in both markets.

While packaging design has always been at the forefront in the beauty industry, the wine and spirits industry is still experimenting with how packaging design techniques can elevate brand image. A recent study from Affinnova Inc., a Waltham, MA-based global marketing technology company, underscored the importance of package design, specifically in the vodka industry, where results showed that bold and unique package designs, specifically those employed by brands like Belvedere and Pinnacle, are both attracting greater consumer attention and gaining market share.

"Design remains one of the most underleveraged assets a company has in launching and maintaining a successful brand," says Waked Al-Atraqchi, president and CEO of-Affinnova. "As advertising becomes increasingly fragmented and has less impact on consumers, packaging must work harder to build brand equity and drive purchases. Advanced marketers need to monitor how package design is impacting shelf presence and consumer perception and respond accordingly, much in the same way they actively measure and adjust other aspects of their marketing performance."

"The mainstream wine and spirits offerings generally don't have the budget headroom for a lot of bells and whistles in secondary packaging, but for limited and. specialty runs, the packaging itself is a distinguished presentation piece whose value to the end-user approaches that oldie product itself," comments Jonathan Dudlak, general manager, Chicago Paper Tube & Can Co., Chicago, IL.

The company recently developed a canister with a custom lid closure for a limited-edition rum produced to celebrate Bacardi's 150th anniversary. Dudlak says the design was inspired by his company's line of Rolled Edge Overcap products, which use a fully printed, paperboard. lid to convey a premium feel for top-tier fragrances, candles and personal-care products. The package was created with the expectation that it would be saved and displayed, much like a fragrance bottle.

The round canister body is accented with multiple. press coatings and foil stamping in the artwork. While the lid features a luxuriously embossed and printed company logo, it's the custom closure that sets the package apart from competing containers, which generally employ a stamped metal closure recessed within the container. "Because this type of closure isn't often used in the spirits market, we had to make sure it met the client's expectations not just for appearance, but for functionality as well," explains Dudlak. "Because liquor stores had experienced problems with theft of high-end and limited-edition spirits in the past, final package fulfillment was left to the retailer at time of purchase, so considerations for this varied pool of check-out-lane assemblers had to be made."

The package also required Chicago. Paper Tube & Can to tap into its cosmetic packaging expertise. "We had to keep the tolerances tight over hundreds of thousands of units so. that the lid had an easy but stable fit over the base so fulfillment was universally easy" he adds. "We also incorporated a discreet vent channel--to prevent a 'piston' effect--and allow air to escape from inside the canister when the lid is removed and re-fitted. These are the types of considerations we're used to in dealing with our cosmetics clients, but the first time we've had to apply them to the wine and spirits market."

Emphasis on Image

After a long period of stasis, spirit brands are vying for all-important attention on shelf by experimenting with new packaging mediums for bottles and labels, much like we've seen the fragrance and beauty industries do in their long and creative history--and the creative vibes and inspirations are flowing both ways.

"The fragrance industry is following very closely all the innovation done in the spirit [industry]," says Xavier Adnet, vice president of sales and marketing, Stoelzle Glass USA, New York. Stoelzle recently launched a new fluorescent print/spray color technique that imbues a glowing effect, and Adnet notes that it's been well-received in both the spirit and fragrance categories.

Attitudes toward wine and spirit packaging continue to evolve, and non-traditional packaging continues to grow in popularity (Euromonitor, "Alcoholic Drinks Packaging in the U.S.," April 201.3). PET bottles demonstrated significant growth in recent years, as spirits manufacturers continued the trend of replacing or supplementing their current glass-bottled spirits with well-executed PET bottles. The trend has also challenged the misconception that liquor in a plastic bottle is inherently of lower quality than glass-bottled spirits. This was the case for McCormick Distilling, which recently phased its 360 Vodka into custom 1.75 liter PET bottles with retro swing top closures from Amcor Rigid Plastics, Ann Arbor, MI. The bottles look like glass but because they are one-tenth the weight of glass, they offer the lightweight advantages of PET: sustainability, reduced shipping and transportation costs, and a reduced carbon footprint.

Adapting the swing top unique closure to PET was a major design chalienge for the bottle manufacturer, according to Myles Graybill, Amcor project engineer. Amcor's Advanced Engineering team performed Finite Element Analysis (FEA) modeling to predict the container's performance behavior and adapted the metal-based 'closure to the 23mm finish diameter. The design also incorporates a tamper-evident band strip.

Last year also saw the Truett-Hurst wine company release the first paper wine bottle in the U.S., under the super-premium Paper Boy moniker. Developed in partnership with designer Kevin Shaw and Green Bottle, a UK-based paper bottle- manufacturer, the ultra-lightweight bottle 'consists of a molded outer shell in the shape of a wine bottle that is made from recycled cardboard with a plastic liner. The entire package is recyclable and 85% lighter than a glass bottle. According to Truett-Hurst, the Paper Boy bottle is superior to a traditional glass bottle because "it insulates better, recycles more readily, and is lighter and more transportable, yet it looks and acts like a traditional glass bottle."

In addition to pushing the boundaries on creative bottle designs, the cosmetic and fragrance sectors are also flush with ingeniously executed labels--another avenue the wine and spirit segments have tapped into with vigor. For instance, for the fourth installment of its Alphabet series whiskey bottlings, Diageo teamed with Cask-strength Creative to create a limited edition product that comes complete with 3D glasses which, when worn, reveal a "stereoscopic effect" label.

Creating a Lasting Impression

Headquartered in Italy, Boriuioli Luigi has a long and storied history in glass, chiefly in tableware and fragrance bottles. The company recently acquired a second glass factory to help expand, with extra capacity, to meet the needs of a new territory: premium and limited-run liquor brands in Europe and the U.S.

Having already executed glass bottles for Martell Liquor, purveyors of French Cognac, and top-shelf vodka brands in Russia, Olga Bursac, vice president of sales, Bormioli Luigi in New York, says that while the company has made a name for itself as the bottle makers for iconic fragrances by Chanel, the alcohol segment enables the company to showcase its expertise in high-end glass making that takes glass packaging to a whole new level.

"There are many characteristics that are shared between fragrance and high-end spirits," says Bursac. "The materials are the same--fine Belgian sand is used across the board for glass making for shiny, crystalline glass."

Bursac explains that much of the company's premium tableware glass is rep urposed for fragrance and high-end liqueur and spirits packaging, enabling those bottles to enjoy the same brilliantly clear glass qualities that are showcased on fine dining tables.

To earn the favor of the alcohol segment, Bormioli Luigi worked with a team of young Italian designers to create a range of stock bottles designed to appeal to contemporary-minded liqueur and tequila brands. The company also produces bottles on a custom basis. Bursac says the concept of decoration for spirit bottles is as important as it is to fine fragrance bottles.

"All of the high-end deco processes available to fragrance manufacturers are also available to the spirit sector with the extra added possibility for decals and labeling, which can really enhance a bottle further, especially since the surfaces on alcohol bottles are much larger than those on fragrances," she says.

The company is currently testing an internal coating process for European alcohol makers, which is extrapolated from one of its fragrance packaging techniques. "Successfully launched as part of a recent Victoria's Secret fragrance, we're testing a ceramic coated interior in different colors for alcohol bottles," Bursac says. "We'd still need to work with the FDA since alcohol is consumed, but the results so far in Europe have been fantastic."

Fragrance isn't the only sector that's delivering creative inspiration to wine and spirits packaging designers. Powder coated glass nail polish packaging for UV-cured nail polish gels has also been translated into wine packaging that imitates a ceramic look in glass bottles.

"Glass is more consistent than ceramic, which has always had a problem with cap closure and sealing," says Shivie DhiBon, president, Bottle Coatings Inc., Sun Valley, CA. "The glass is--much more predictable and allows us to create almost any design and color imaginable."

The benefits for both the nail and the wine markets are similar when it conies to carving out a shelf presence. Deco possibilities are virtually limitless and powder coating is a green technology that emits no VOCs. "The technique for powder coating glass bottles for nail polish gels and wine and spirits is basically the same," Dhillon says. "It is our patented process that allows for smooth, even coverage over any size bottle. The main challenge that we at Bottle Coatings faced in the beginning was getting the electrostatic powder to adhere to low-conductor glass. Once we solved that problem, it was easy to adapt the technique to other markets."

One of the most important considerations for manufacturers in both sectors is preserving. the performance of the product inside the bottle--a feat accomplished by a UV-protectant coating. "UVB rays can quickly degrade a nail polish gel of this type through exposure to sun or even ambient indoor light so the powder coating serves a special function of shielding the product against UV light," he says. "Wine, in particular, is also vulnerable to UV light, so winemakers and spirits distillers love the idea of preserving their product's quality. Shelf life is greatly enhanced by this relatively new packaging technique."

Like glass, cardboard is another commonplace cosmetic and fragrance packaging medium that's been ex-pertly and artfully adopted by the liquor industry.

"The liquor industry is definitely taking a page from the cosmetic industry," observes Michael Simko, director of new business development, Curtis Packaging, Sandy Hook, CT. "We're seeing paperboard packages with multiple coatings, package stamping, embossing.

"This is especially noticeable in value-added gift set packaging for liquors," he continues. "The budget keeps going up for creative packaging."

Last year Curtis Packaging executed a paperboard package for Browne Forman's Jack Daniel's Silver Select that took multiple cues from the company's fragrance packaging portfolio. "We took them cartons that we produced for cosmetic companies to show them what was possible for their package and they decided on a carton that features a reticulated coating," Simko says.

The Silver Select carton showcases the company's CurtisCrystal technique, a recyclable alternative to micro-embossing that delivers a brushed foil-like effect. The carton also features a silver raised, tactile coating; multi-level embossing and a matte coating, all juxtaposed against a deep, ultra-glossy black background.

Another package Curtis produced for Diageo's Crown Royal Reserve could easily pass for a cosmetic package. "Diageo's Crown Royal Reserve goes through five operations in our plant, printing, embossing, stamping, printing again for a special coating and watermark and so on," remarks Simko.

Simko is enthusiastic about what the future holds for packaging in the liquor industry. "In the last five to six years we've made significant inroads into the beverage industry and it's still going," he said. "It's no longer just printing. The amount of gift sets with embossing, stamping, multiple coatings, hard windows, cut outs--the level of value-added packaging is very exciting."

And just as each year -seems to bring heightened competition when it comes to packaging for cosmetic and fragrance products, the same is true for the alcohol industry. "There's so much competition, especially in flavored vodkas--it's never been more important to create a strong presence on the shelf," Simko concludes.
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Title Annotation:Written by Joanna Cosgrove, Contributing Editor
Publication:Beauty Packaging
Date:Jan 1, 2014
Words:2080
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