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angle-left How has packaging in the premium segment of the spirits sector changed?
22 May 2020

How has packaging in the premium segment of the spirits sector changed?

The idea of premium in the distillate world and the evolution of luxury packaging

Luxury, by its very nature, is viewed as synonymous with exclusivity, elite values, the best-quality materials and higher cost. All these ideas can be applied to the spirits sector, where the premium sector is undergoing a so-called ‘polarisation in demand’.

Over the last few years, we have seen a notable split in the distillate market. Mass-market products continue to the maintain their dominant position, while those in the mainstream sector, that is in the mid-market, have been losing market share to upmarket distillates, namely the premium segment. This is a compelling evolution that’s also having a direct impact on the packaging world – closely connected to the luxury beverage sector.

This market trend shows that, through purchasing premium products, consumers are satisfying not only their needs – as happens with mass-market products – but also their desires. So how do you make a product desirable to a consumer who hasn’t come across it before? The answer is quite simple – through packaging.

 

Packaging design in the world of premium spirits

Following increasing demand for premium products, offerings have inevitably changed. These days you can find countless distillates that are well placed within this market segment and for the end consumer it’s difficult to make a choice based only on the information available online. So, it has become necessary to guide purchases using powerful visual communication – through the choice of coherent packaging elements that reflect the company’s values and the product on offer.

It’s currently very difficult to identify any single trend connected to the concept of luxury in the world of beverage packaging design. The common thread definitely remains distinctive and exclusive manufacturing processes, and even the use of cutting-edge materials and technologies, as well as taking advantage of cross-over from a number of other sectors.

Within this specific market segment, we can confirm that packaging has radically changed its own role. It’s no longer just a simple container – it has become the brand image’s spokesperson and communication tool for the client.

Even one – apparently simple – element, such as the closure, can play its part in storytelling. Just consider our Abor project. It has a production method that allows distillation waste, that otherwise would have gone to landfill, to be reused in the manufacture of our own line of customisable closures. Or even the whole of the Signature range, which sees premium materials such as ceramics, wood and metal take a leading role in embellishing any bottle it seals.

Closures in the premium segment of the market no longer assume a simply functional role. They also play a part in aesthetic appeal and brand storytelling, by adding the finishing touch to complete the distillate’s packaging.

 

What are the elements that define luxury packaging?

Over recent years, even the elements that distinguish the premiumisation of a given product have altered. Until fairly recently, ‘shiny’ materials took centre stage in luxury package design, but today, the focus is on originality, customisation, eco-friendliness and technology.

Shelf space is in ever-shorter supply for new products and their promotion, so the focus should be on what the container itself can offer and all the associated packaging elements.

 

Sustainability

There are always more brands in the spirit market that want to capture new consumers by focussing on ethical and green values, with cautious, sustainable production methods. Naturally, in these situations it’s important to target the reusable parts of packaging, either in part or in their entirety, or their reduced environmental impact due to the use of waste materials.

Abor, as previously mentioned, belongs to this category, as does Duo – it’s a unique closure whose head can be separated from its leg, making it easier collect for recycling. Another good example is Mekano, the closure designed by Tapì Revò that offers endless possibilities in closures requirements.

 

Emotional connection

A premium product should always convey something to the end consumer, namely emotion. But before getting to the liquid, the consumer needs to get through the packaging – and it needs to be closely connected to the contents.

This is the case with one of Tapì’s most recent references, Ayam. This French sake places itself as the meeting point between East and West, between tradition and innovation. Its packaging perfectly tells its story, through the transparency, sophistication and modernity of the closure selected.

 

Craftsmanship

Often premium can be synonymous with ‘craftsmanship’ in its production processes – either wholly or in part. This craftsmanship trend is growing steadily and consumers are becoming ever more demanding and aware of manufacturing processes, as well as that of how the packaging is made.

Tapì can claim a number of examples of craftsmanship. From the stone-effect finish for Signature Ceramic Inspiration Stone Effect to the Signature Wood Inspiration range with its distinctive Craft Effect that can house leather inserts in its wooden heads. Both of these are strong references for craftsmanship, effectively communicating this significant value.

 

Other unmissable elements for closures in the premium distillate segment

As we have seen, closures no longer play a purely functional role in capping a bottle. They have become an integral part of packaging, a strategic ingredient for communication and the enhancement of a product’s value.

The establishment of the Signature range in 2015 was based on this idea, that is lending importance to an often-undervalued element, such as a closure. This range of products includes distinctive materials, such as ceramics, that ensure the excellence and sophistication of any distillate it seals.

Among the advantages of this range of closures, we find the weightiness of the object. A ceramic, or wooden, closure can never be lightweight because of its very nature and composition. And this is an essential feature that should always be present in a closure destined for the premium market.

Weight, in fact, plays a part in both visual and tactile communication that helps to convey the quality of a specific product. In reality, if the entirety of the packaging makes it heavy, the end-consumer will associate a higher value to the distillate itself.

 

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