The craft spirits industry is growing at a remarkable rate, mirroring the success craft brewers have been experiencing, and the number of craft spirits distillers in the United States has nearly tripled in the last 10 years. In this crowded and ever-growing market, SanTan Brewing Company had an opportunity to take a stand for something with a new product line under SanTan Craft Spirits called Sacred Stave – and Commit was tasked with capturing and translating this into a brand.
The Commit team conducted secondary research in support of a competitive analysis and understanding the target audience personas. The research indicated the craft industry was growing due to a consumer-led shift in the desire to shop, eat and drink products that were not mass-produced, often made locally by independent companies that have a story. The art of drinking whiskey was becoming just that – an art; this was a product that was distilled for sippers, not shooters.
Spirits were a natural evolution to what SanTan Brewing Company was already doing, but they needed to define what makes their spirits different. By using Arizona wine barrels and SanTan water in their distilling, it created a unique flavor profile that is purely Arizona and cannot be replicated. This process, complemented by the company’s rebel attitude, set the stage for a unique brand positioning.
Commit knew the brand must be positioned distinctly and creatively to appeal to those with an adventurous palate and rebel spirit. By focusing on the unique points of difference, the Sacred Stave brand could own the category of superior craft spirits distilled from scratch.
SanTan Craft Spirits had a purpose, but it wasn’t to be everything to everyone. After the research and brand workshop, Commit defined the brand pillars as: rebellious, distinctive, communal and exceptional. These helped put a stake in the ground, allowing Commit to weave the brand story into a cohesive tale that resonates with SanTan and the target audience.
The spirits, and therefore the creative, were influenced by the punk counterculture with straightforward copy that took a stand, such as: “In the end, we make what we like… and if you don’t like it, don’t drink it”. This distinct messaging was complemented by imagery that evokes individual freedom, non-conformity and a sense of community.
The bottle labels use the logo design on the front complemented with a secondary, rectangular label providing space to include the batch and cask numbers, name, filter and date. These hand-applied labels created a craft feeling with handwriting and a personalized touch. The labels also use a different color combination for each spirit, allowing them to be distinguished from one another while retaining the brand look. The back of the bottle has a label with a one-sentence brand story along with the logo and legal requirements.
The Sacred Stave distribution boxes were essentially free branding real estate. The logo was placed on each end of the box, while the sides were reserved for imagery and a quote that spoke to the brand’s sense of community and renegade spirit. The top of each box said “Sacred Cargo | Handle With Care”, playing on the brand’s name in a free-spirited manner.
While this product has yet to launch and there are no numerical results to share at this time, the client said they “absolutely love” the brand positioning, and Sacred Stave is positioned for success for years to come.