Cyrus Noble Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey, a Kentucky spirit bottled by Haas Brothers of San Francisco, has a long and prestigious history that dates back to the California Gold Rush, when it was a favorite among miners, as well as with the upper class of San Francisco. That history ended, though, around the middle of the twentieth century when soldiers returning from World War II were “exposed to other drinks, and young people did not want to drink their father’s beverage,” explains Steven Burrows, principal of Haas Brothers.
A recent resurgence in bourbon drinking, however, has inspired Haas to demothball the brand. “Bourbon is enjoying a comeback, particularly with the younger demographic,” says Burrows. “We still had the original recipe, so it was really a no-brainer.” Burrows says the strategy for the revived brand was to “link the hale and hearty miners, travelers, and explorers of the California Gold Rush to today’s entrepreneurs, who have the guts to lead and not follow.”
To design the packaging, Haas worked with Global Package LLC, a glass and materials sourcing company, and design firm PhilippeBecker. The goal was to create a bottle that had the feel of the original packaging, but with an updated look.
Global Package founder Erica Harrop identified a bottle with the same general shape of the original, but shorter and stouter. “Steven Burrows, who is an expert in the spirits arena, knew that the neck needed to be longer for busy bartenders to grab hold of, so we made several custom molds until the neck was the right length,” she says.
The biggest challenge of the project, Burrows shares, was embossing the logo onto the shoulder of the bottle. “We were working with antiquated equipment, which had a centering device that wasn’t standard,” he says. “But Erica rolled up her sleeves and quickly engineered a solution.”
Bottle decoration includes the logo of a crossed pick and shovel topped by a crown—representing the regal nature of Kentucky’s bourbon whiskey—embossed into the shoulder of the bottle and centered above the label, along with the same ghosted image in green on the label itself. The color scheme of off-white, dark green, and red harkens back to the colors used on the original label. An illustration of a miner panning for gold is used in a medallion design on the neck label, touting the brand’s heritage with the words, “Cyrus Noble Bourbon San Francisco,” and “Est 1871.”
The final result is an elegant, handsome update of a historic original.