Distillery Meets Gallery, and the Bottle is the Canvas

Surrealism meets spirit in Burl & Sprig’s award-winning digitally printed premium liquor bottles.

A tamper-evident ribbon label on the bartop carries the brand name and reinforces the brand presence. The tall bottles have white cigar bands, while the short bottles that carry the premium rums use a black ribbon label with silver foil embossed logo and hit of bright color that points to aging.
A tamper-evident ribbon label on the bartop carries the brand name and reinforces the brand presence. The tall bottles have white cigar bands, while the short bottles that carry the premium rums use a black ribbon label with silver foil embossed logo and hit of bright color that points to aging.
Photo by David Stoken

West Michigan Rum Company’s Burl & Sprig believes that it represents a different kind of distillery since, according to Burl & Sprig team members, it's a place where creativity, innovation, and the artisanal spirit are celebrated as much as a barrel of rum. From their travels all over the world searching for the finest ingredients, to their imaginative signature cocktails, to their beautiful tasting room decor and artistic package design, the company's passion for design and craft can be seen in everything they do. With art and artistry as key components of the Burl & Sprig brand story, having beautiful bottles for their premium spirits was a top priority. For this, the brand worked with Berlin Packaging's design division, Studio One Eleven.

"I absolutely love the design and the direction that the brand took,” says Cody Wasilchenko, owner. “It definitely sets us apart from everyone else. We just went into distribution in July and the feedback on the packaging has been extremely positive. A lot of variables went into finding the right artwork for the bottles and I’m really happy with how it turned out. We’re planning to launch six new products and have already begun looking for new art.” 

The design team started by finding stock bottles that break the mold from the traditional rounded shapes that line the liquor store shelf. The 750-ml premium glass rum bottle has a cube silhouette that is meant to reflect the brand’s creativity and quality. The large square sides provided a canvas for brand design, so Studio One Eleven’s designers incorporated the co-owner’s art background and love of surrealism into the label. The graphics, the company says, represent a journey into the unconscious mind, playing with the juxtaposition of dreams and reality. Artists from all over the world created one-of-a-kind pieces for each product in the line, resulting in a portfolio fit for a gallery. The surreal artwork is married with a simple band for branding, and a unique wood texture fingerprint brandmark speaks to the uniqueness of dreams as well as each artist leaving their individual mark.

The digitally printed pressure sensitive labels--two on every bottle--are made from matte textured paper. Silver foil and embossment is used for the Burl & Sprig logo. All labels are die cut from a roll and manually applied at the distillery. The primary label carries the artwork and is placed on the front and wraps to the right side of the bottle. The second one begins from the left side and has the brand story, artist name, barcode, etc, and wraps to the front of the bottle. This is the label that carries the brand and type of rum and origin.

The bartop [cork-style spirits closure] is clear plastic with a white synthetic shank, supplied by Tapi. A tamper-evident ribbon label on the bartop carries the brand name and reinforces the brand presence. The tall bottles have white cigar bands, while the short bottles that carry the premium rums use a black ribbon label with silver foil embossed logo and hit of bright color that points to aging.

“The bottles are beautiful 'canvases' that bring the bottles to life and capture the unconscious minds of different artists from all over the world. The labels showcase bright and bold creative talents," says Toni Galabova, Senior Brand Design Director, Studio One Eleven. "The three-sided labels wrap the bottle, forming a 'unity' bottle." 

The beautiful Burl & Sprig custom bottle earned a silver medal at the 2020 National Association of Container Distributors (NACD) packaging awards competition. The NACD awards celebrate the year’s most innovative packaging solutions. -PW

Companies in this article
More in Package Design