Ian Macleod Distillers
Whisky volume sales are falling, due in large part to the diminishing appeal of the dominant blended Scotch category and a failure to attract younger drinkers.
In order to attract a new generation to whisky drinking, Ian Macleod Distillers worked with design group Navyblue to create Smokehead, a new product with contemporary, bold packaging that would stand out from traditional whisky branding.
Since its launch in 2006, Smokehead has gained worldwide distribution contracts and sales of the product have doubled from year one to year three.
Most of the other companies feature traditional packaging and labelling, using designs such as ‘heraldic’ crests and seals and hand-drawn Scottish scenes, with a big emphasis on product heritage and provenance. But the managing director Leonard Russell and commercial director Iain Weir realised that they needed to speak a different language to appeal to a younger audience. ‘You can argue that there’s an innate conservatism in the whisky market and we wanted to do something for more modern drinkers,’ says Weir. Taking the product premise and the Smokehead name, the designers created a whole brand identity for the whisky, giving it a style which simultaneously breaks the mould of whisky packaging, whilst retaining cues to heritage and provenance. While Smokehead’s styling is clearly contemporary, the designers used a traditional wooden block letterpress to create the packaging’s typography.
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