Denomination Margaret Nolan

Mixing it up: how drinks categories can learn from each other

04 June, 2019

The spirits category is becoming increasingly crowded with more and more brands jostling for attention. However, many of them still conform to what is called ‘spirits language’: highly detailed labels, ornate typography, drop shadows and borders, hand-numbering and ticket-style strip labels, engraving illustration styles, gold foiling and embossing, the list goes on. What this graphic language has done is create a sameness in the category. For spirits to stand out in the future they should look to the wine category where simplicity, contemporary photography, illustration and typography are used with great effect.

You can say the same with the cider and beer categories. Strongbow Blossom Rosé Sparkling Apple Cider is a category standout because it took its cues from wine, not cider. Aimed at consumers who would normally drink rosé or sparkling, the elegant, restrained pack positioned itself as a premium contemporary player and gave consumers a sophisticated alternative choice when socialising.

Tasmania's Black Devil Cider used the elegant simplicity found on many wine labels to great effect. The black glass bottle, teamed with a monochromatic label, links it to Tasmania’s most famous marsupial – and creates a super-premium but also standout shelf presence in the crowded craft category.

So to find ways to set yourself apart from the competition, after you’ve analysed your competitive set, step outside your category – you may find the answers you’ve been looking for.


Nick Strangeway


Happy customers across the UK enjoyed their first pints and non-homemade cocktails at the start of July as its hospitality sector reopened after months of lockdown. But normal service has hardly resumed.