Best Packages of 2006


The saying goes, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but can you judge a beverage by its package? Well, Beverage Industry did and here we feature the designs we selected as the Best Packages of 2006. Taking into account the packages’ innovation in design, differentiation in their category and marketing plans, these packages led the pack this year. The packages include glass, aluminum and PET. They also range from established brands with new marketing positions to new brands stamping out their own unique footprint.
Keeping it ‘cool’
It’s only appropriate that a brand that invites consumers to “Taste the Cold” would be a front-runner in keeping its packaging cold. Following the precedent set by its plastic cooler box last year, Coors Light this year unveiled the new Cold Wrap Bottle and Frost Brewed Liner cans.
The Golden-Colo.-based company introduced the Cold Wrap Bottle, which is a 360-degree label from Boulder, Colo.-based Outlast Technologies to keep beer colder longer. Using the same high-tech insulator developed for space travel, Outlast Thermocules, reflects heat from the hand. Cold Wrap technology will be exclusive to Coors Light for one year.
Not to leave out its cans, Coors and Outlast Technologies developed Frost Brewed Liners. To make the advancement stand out, cans with the high-tech liners featured blue pull tabs and rims. The specially insulated cans, which are meant to protect the “Rocky Mountain taste” of the beer, hit shelves in May.A brand grows up
Another established brand, Miller Genuine Draft, was repositioned and repackaged this year. Milwaukee, Wis.-based Miller Brewing brewing company re-established the brand as “Beer, Grown Up.” The sleek, clear-labeled bottles fit in with the clever marketing campaign in which mature beer drinkers were shown giving up their beer helmets and other “toys.”
Miller worked with longtime partner Multi-Color Corp., Cincinnati, on the label makeover. To emphasize the golden color of the beer, a clear plastic label and more gold coloring were added to the label. The back label also was overhauled to include the required copy needed on the product.
The cans also were redesigned with the golden influence remaining on Miller Genuine Draft cans while the Light version picked up its bottle’s silver accents and went for an overall silver can. Like its counterparts, the Miller Genuine Draft Light can prominently features the signature of Frederick Miller, founder of the brewery. Arctic inspiration
Inspired by its arctic origins, Icelandic Glacial, London, designed its water in a square PET bottle with iceberg-like cut-outs, designed by Design Bridge, London, and a see-through label. Sourced from a 4,500-year-old spring, the package design reflects the water’s pure, ancient source.
“Consumers who have no previous notions of the product can take a glance at the bottle and understand our position,” says Patrick Racz, chief operating officer of Icelandic Glacial.
The bottle’s clear label, designed by Wayne Moran Design, spans all four sides of the bottle, with a different image on each side. The simple silver and navy logo looks through to a glacial image on the inside back panel, which is carried over to the side panels in chilly blue tones.
All of this was intentional, explains Racz, “If you rotate the bottle, each of the four sides has a different Icelandic landscape on it. We have four different backgrounds that are similar and related, but different. When the bottles are lined up on the shelf, it gives a landscape effect. There is a 1,480,000-to-one chance that you will have the same six bottles in a row.” Pom cheers on
Many might think mainstreaming pomegranate juice was a big enough accomplishment for Los Angeles-based Pom Wonderful, but this year the company extended the formerly sidelined fruit even more by introducing Pom Teas. Using its antioxidant-rich pomegranate extract, the company added tea and packaged it in a cylindrical, resealable, reusable glass.
The glass features an understated Pom logo, with a heart-shaped ‘O’ completed with tea leaf, on all four varieties of black, green or white tea. The 13.5-ounce glass containers are merchandised in coolers in the produce section, as pioneered by Pom’s juice products, and feature a somewhat upscale price point, up to $2.99, which is made sensible by the reuseable glass package. The company calls the glass “a gift” and recommends removing the label and reusing.
International intrigue
Outside of the United States, more packaging innovations hit store shelves. Take a look at a few international product packages that might make their way into the American marketplace.
Jacob’s Creek Serve Chilled wine label - Just as Coors Light is keeping its cool, Jacob’s Creek Australian wines have encouraged chilling with temperature-sensitive wine labels. Available in the United Kingdom, the bottle features a temperature-sensitive label that changes color when the wine is chilled to the appropriate temperature.
Jumex Nautix juices in Tetra Paks - Debuting south of the border in Mexico, Jumex Nautix juices feature an innovative juice box/flexible pouch design in Tetra Pak form. Cartoon characters encourage youngsters to drink up, while the see-through sturdy, yet flexible material insulates against spills.
Iron Wine - If we’ve done wine in a box, why not wine in a can? This Argentinian product packages in an insulated aluminum can, which it claims does not effect taste. The silver can’s simple graphics do differentiate from the traditional canned beverage – the soft drink.Ginger spice
Though it takes its flavor inspiration from Asia, Yazi Ginger-flavored vodka used imported French glass to package its product. Flavored with ginger, orange, lemon, cayenne and red pepper extracts, the vodka stands out on the shelves with its block-shaped bottle. The rectangular-shaped 750-ml. package features a spiral dragon etched on the bottle and red accents.
Less vertical than many new vodka bottles, the block-shaped package with bold red accents reflects another product category — perfume. Oregon’s Hood River Distillers, the maker of the super-premium vodka, purposefully evoked perfume packaging for a feminine product appeal. The packaging, with its red sidewalls and shiny red neck wrap, was designed by Andrew Reed of Leopold Ketel & Partners, Portland, Ore. Pretty in pink
With the tagline: “The World’s Most Beautiful Vodka” it’s easy to understand how the package for Pinky Vodka might reflect the beauty to which it aspires. The subtly pink spirit is packaged in what the importer Liquidity LLC, Manhasset, N.J., says has been described as a giant perfume bottle.
Designed by Xanthe Hohalek and Andre Fiorini at Ground Zero advertising agency in Los Angeles, the floral-infused spirit has both hard and soft appeal: the pink vodka is contrasted by the black label with silver thorned script in an elegantly tall bottle, which was created by Saverglass of France. To cover the bottle, sleek black boxes were designed by Smurfit of Sweden.
Several of our best packages also were finalists in BrandPackaging’s Design Gallery showcase. They will be featured in its annual Design Gallery book available at
Beverage not chilled enough? There’s no sense in adding ice made with tap water to a purified beverage – at least that’s what some companies are pitching with ready-to-freeze ice cube trays filled with purified water. Ready to make its national debut are aquaICE products from the Atlanta-based company of the same name. Available in regular, Lemon Essence and Lime Essence these shelf-stable, sealed trays of purified water are ready to freeze and enjoy.
A finalist in BrandPackaging’s Design Gallery Showcase, Ice Rocks features portion-controllable square plastic trays filled with spring water. The product from Miami, Fla.-based Water Bank of America allows consumers to freeze the products in four-count pods that are sealed with film so users can take one or many ice cubes. The company also markets Scotch Rocks, which it calls “a luxury product” was initially co-branded with Chivas Regal scotch.
Valve cap
NOS High Performance Energy Drink from Fuze’s High Performance Beverage Co., Englewood Cliff, N.J., and Holley Performance Products, Bowling Green, Ky., now comes in a 22-ounce plastic, resealable bottle. Celebrating its debut, bottles with promotional NOS valve overcaps hit shelves this month. The valve overcap is a limited-time package, and will only be available on the first 50,000 cases.
LABEL redesign
Skyy Spirits LLC, San Francisco, developed a contemporary package design for Campari, a spirit blend of 60 herbs and spices with orange as the predominant flavor. The newly elongated bottle shape with full, clean shoulder lines gives the brand stature, greater distinction and a more contemporary image. A more slender label allows Campari's bold red color to fully shine through and provides the packaging a unique border that clearly distinguishes the brand. A more intense shade of red on the front label accentuates the product’s color while the bar on the lower section of the label presents a strong visual that further reiterates the brand’s Italian roots.
Laser-incised tabs
Fluid Motion Beverage Inc., Anaheim, Calif., debuted a new laser-incised branded black can tab that will hit stores this month. The new sleek black tab complements the Talon Energy drink’s black can and features the fierce Talon icon etched into the black tab. This new laser-incising technology comes from Fluid Motion Beverage’s primary can supplier, Ball Corp.
Bag-in-box for kegs
In a pioneering partnership with Bavarian brewer Ankerbräu, Rapak, headquarted in the United Kingdom, has launched a bag?in?box system for the keg beer market. The new technology, which is suitable for all types of beers, offers an alternative to the traditional keg. The beer is filled in 25-liter Rapak bags using Rapak's Autokap 650 semi?automatic beer filler and then packed in boxes. The bag-in-box system for beer offers the benefits of lower transport costs, a longer shelf life and a firmer, longer?lasting foam on the beer. Key to this packaging is the removal of CO2 from the beer after brewing and a specially developed carbonator box which reintroduces it at the trade outlet. This system can be used in all outlets currently using kegs.