Crisp and iridescent in shimmering shades of green and blue, a new carton from Finnish spirits producer Arctic Brands Group for its premium handcrafted gin features a holographic design inspired by the Northern Lights that is lifting brand sales in Finland and winning accolades throughout the packaging community. The carton uses a unique holographic metallization effect that uses 1% of the aluminum of traditional foil laminates, thereby also helping protect the environment that it so gorgeously depicts.
In 2018, paperboard producer Metsä Board worked with Arctic Brands on a carton for its Arctic Blue Gin for distribution in Finland and Europe. The carton depicted a rugged Finnish landscape of rocks, trees, and water, printed with a range of techniques that conveyed a 3D illusion. The rustic winter-scape matched the gin’s taste profile, described by the brand as “colourless, dry, warm, juniper berry notes, wild berry notes, light cardamom notes, hint of pine.”
For the brand’s launch in the U.S., Metsä suggested the use of the holographic effect, from U.S.-based specialty paper converter Hazen Paper Company, to simulate the Northern Lights as a way to create a Special Edition version of the gin. Arctic Brands embraced the idea, and Metsä moved forward, creating the structure, graphics, and embossing of the carton, which is made from MetsäBoard Pro FBB Bright paperboard. The Northern Lights image was accomplished by printing on top of Envirofoil, a plastic-free holographic metallization effect from Hazen that carries 20 times less material per square inch than metallic ink, making the carton fully recyclable.
Hazen designed the holographic effect and the opaque white plates for rendering the effect, and incorporated a PMS spot-color green plate to highlight some detail in the package. As the viewing angle changes, the holography flashes and moves like an animation. The optical effect is created with a sub-micron embossing grid in the transfer-metallized layer. The ultra-thin coating layer provides visual impact typical of much thicker structures. AM Packaging printed and converted the package at its plant in Chicopee, Mass.
“The result is as close to an actual northern lights flare as printed materials can accomplish,” remarks Mark Beamesderfer, Packaging Services Director for the Americas, Metsä Board.
The carton was converted in October 2019 and was released for the Christmas season in travel retail locations in Finland. “Now all our products are sold in this package here in Finland and in Japan,” shares Arctic Brands Group Brand Manager Toni Eurasto.
Although the carton was originally intended for the U.S. market, the pandemic has delayed its U.S. launch, Eurasto adds. “We are discussing with different partners about entering the U.S. market in 2021,” he says. “Due to COVID-19, the process for market entry has become slower.
Meanwhile, the carton has won the 2020 AIMCAL Product of the Year Award as well as a ScanStar 2020 award from the Finnish Packaging Association. “Both in Finland and especially in the Japanese market consumers are crazy about this package,” says Eurasto. “We have received very good feedback from our distributors from both of our main markets. Finland sales are rising now that we have this package in all alcohol retail outlets here.”