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Decorative bourbon bottles, gift cartons hit market

In December, Heaven Hill introduced three 750-mL "Single Barrel" premium aged Kentucky straight bourbon whiskeys, each in a decorative glass container placed on a special gift carton and sold throughout the year.

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Labels bear hand-written authentication of barrel number and the date the spirits were entered into the barrel. The hand-written details emphasize the Single Barrel distinction of Heaven Hill's Elijah Craig®, Evan Williams and Henry McKenna® brands. These specialty offerings account for less than 1% of the distillery's total volume, according to David Hobbs, vice president/operations manager. Eighteen-year-old, 90-proof Elijah Craig retails for $34.99 and is sold in a 9"-tall oval glass decanter from Demptos Glass (Louisville, KY). The striking bottle is screen-printed by additional vendors, and includes an authentic cork closure that's covered in a marbled looking foil. The "EC" initial stands out in pewter-colored wax with an intricate stylized corn filigree. The 60# paper label is printed in six colors plus varnish on a rotary letterpress by Jonergin (St. Hubert, Quebec Canada). Distinctive container The bottle is sold within a distinctive oval-shaped paperboard container from Cin-Made (Cincinnati, OH). The three-ply, 12-pt kraft's total wall thickness measures 0.036". The container stands 10" H, with a 5" dia, and includes black-colored injection-molded polystyrene top and bottom ends. The carton is offset printed in copper and pewter colors plus varnish, by Lithocraft (New Albany, IN). Graphics and logo on the container match those of the bottle and label. Another premium offering, Henry McKenna, is marketed by Heaven Hill as Kentucky's finest table whiskey. The 100-proof, 10-year-old "bottled in bond" designation is stamped into a copper tag held in place by a copper wire wound around the bottle neck. Anchor Glass provides the 91/2"-tall bottle. Hamilton Printing (Louisville, KY) offset prints an 80# paper cover stock in two colors, then die cuts and folds it into a four-page brochure. The brochure is placed onto a decorative paper label that's die-cut and applied to the bottle. Its forest green color matches the champagne-style foil capsule. The brochure is held in place with a small p-s label that includes the hand-written barrel number and date spirits were entered into the barrel. McKenna's suggested retail price is $24.99. Second vintage For Heaven Hill's 86.6-proof Evan Williams, the new Single Barrel offering represents a second vintage (1987). "When we introduced our first Evan Williams bourbon dated Autumn 1986, it was the only brand carrying vintage-dating, a major point of difference from others in the market," notes James Cotter, group marketing manager. "It has been so successful, we sold out of our first vintage within six months." The second vintage comes in packaging "reminiscent of that originating in the early days of the industry, which was founded in the late 18th Century," he says. The elegant 11"-H bottle, again from Demptos, is finished in wax. It uses a cork stopper, with a distinctive label from Jonergin. The 60" paper label is printed rotary letterpress in three colors plus varnish, and it's stamped with the season and year of production. Single-face carton Perhaps most impressive is Evan Williams' 200#-test, E-flute corrugated carton in its natural kraft color. The single-face carton is supplied by Packaging Unlimited (Louisville, KY). The square carton measures 11" H x 4" and includes a UV-coated label from Pepper Printing (Cincinnati, OH). Printed offset in six colors, the glossy label is particularly striking against the natural fluting because of its dark black primary color that matches the wax neck seal, as well as a distinctive gold script logo and a bright red circular stamp that contains the vintage date. The product retails for $19.99.

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