Packaging allows brands to communicate with consumers before they even drink a product. When considering the increasing number of SKUs on retail shelves, having an appealing package is a crucial element to consider for new products as well as existing products’ package redesigns. Based on this year’s Best Packages of 2015 poll, the readers of Beverage Industry think communication is a key element when it comes to packaging and the path to purchase.

The Beverage Industry editors examined this year’s new products and package redesigns and narrowed the list to our Top 10. These packages were then put to a reader vote on After examining the 4,314 votes cast by you, the readers, the following Top 5 packages were the Best Packages of 2015.


Earning 52 percent of the votes, Hamilton, Bermuda-based Bacardi Ltd. captured the interest of the Beverage Industry readers with an updated look for its rums.

In celebration of its 153rd anniversary, each new bottle of Bacardi’s light and dark rums features its own unique printer’s ornament, a brief story about the Bacardi family along with a taste description and serving suggestion on the back.

“The Bacardi story is one of overcoming adversity and of a family with great determination and passion for its craftsmanship of making the ‘World’s Most Awarded’ rum,” says Fabio Di Giammarco, global vice president of Bacardi rum. “However, somehow over the years, this story got lost on the bottle. We wanted to reflect on the outside what you can experience on the inside. Bacardi rum is a timeless classic, which inspired cocktail culture and we wanted our bottle to reflect this.”

The brand also used this opportunity to further its sustainability commitment by using paper labels made from recycled cane fiber, a natural by-product of the rum-making process. “Bacardi cares deeply about the environment and being true to our family values. We want to do our part in leaving the world in a better place for the next generation,” Di Giammarco says. “Our goal is to put back in as much as we take away from the environment. In making Bacardi rum in large quantities to enjoy around the world, we use high-quality molasses, which, in turn, is created from sugar cane. So it made complete sense to use a by-product from our process into our paper labels.”

Di Giammarco adds that consumers and bartenders have raved about the new packaging. “It has been overwhelmingly positive,” he says. “It shows that if you take deep care in what both the consumer and bartender value, you will have a good result.”

Although Di Giammarco and the company are pleased to be recognized, he is quick to credit the people who made it possible. “We are delighted and really honored,” he says. “It is especially nice to be able to communicate this award to all the hundreds of men and women in our company who are working on making Bacardi rum every day. It is really them who deserve this award.”

Honest Tea

Also understanding the value of communication, Bethesda, Md.-based Honest Tea, a wholly owned division of The Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, updated its line of 16.9-ounce real-brewed iced teas with new varieties, new label graphics and a new bottle.

Taking second in the poll with 15 percent of the vote, Honest Tea unified the line by converting its Honest Ade juice-based drinks into new herbal tea varieties. Labels for the new products also were redesigned to stand out on store shelves and help consumers discern among the different varieties through color, banding and bright imagery of the ingredients, the company says. The new bottles are taller and more slender than the previous ones, it notes.

Emory Vodka

Sometimes packaging also can take an artistic approach. With 14 percent of the vote, Beverly, Mass.-based Blue Vase Marketing’s Emory Vodka used its packaging to create a piece of art and further drive a deeper message.

Designed by New York-based artist Blake Emory, the vodka was developed as an extension of the artist’s existing Zebra Love collection for the brand design concept, which is embossed onto frosted glass on a signature artisan bottle. A portion of the proceeds from the sales of Emory Vodka were donated to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

Sparkling Ice

Convenience also is a popular component to packaging design. Preston, Wash.-based Talking Rain Beverage Co. took this into consideration when it released four varieties — Orange Mango, Black Raspberry, Cherry Limeade and Kiwi Strawberry — of its Sparkling Ice brand in 8-ounce slim cans that are available in an eight-count fridge pack.

Achieving 7 percent of the vote, the new packaging format was designed to give the brand new distribution opportunities within the convenience and foodservice industries, two major focus areas for the brand as it continues to grow, the company says.

Marley Coffee

As more companies become committed to making their products more sustainable, they also are hoping to do the same with their packaging.

Denver-based Marley Coffee, part of Jammin’ Java, and its latest sustainable move — the EcoCup — resonated with readers as it accounted for 4 percent of the vote.

An easy-to-recycle single-serve capsule, EcoCup directly addresses consumer frustration with a lack of recyclable options in the single-serve capsule space, the company says.

Compatible with most Keurig K-Cup machines, capsules are easy to recycle: peel the lid off of the pod, compost the grounds, discard the lid and filter, and recycle the outer cup, according to the company.

Honorable mentions

Close behind Marley Coffee’s EcoCup, Nestlé Waters North America’s resource came in at No. 6 with 3 percent of the vote for its recycled PET (rPET) bottle. Excluding the cap and label, the rest of the package is made from 100 percent rPET.

Tied for the No. 7 position with 2 percent of the vote were NextFoods’ GoodBelly and Korbel Champagne Cellars’ Korbel Brut Rose.

GoodBelly probiotic drinks’ updated packaging features the new product names and highlights each flavor’s ingredients with colorful illustrations and animated graphics atop a bold black background, according to the brand.

Korbel Brut’s limited-edition sleeved bottle combined hot and cool colors, the company says. The label’s white background is accented by red lip prints and a wisp of black lace from below a black foil top wrap.

Rounding out the Top 10 and tied with 1 percent each were Proximo Spirits’ Jose Cuervo 220th anniversary bottle and Hain Celestial Group Inc.’s Celestial Seasonings’ packaging redesign.

Commemorative Jose Cuervo Especial Gold and Silver bottles were released earlier this year making it the first limited-edition Jose Cuervo packaging in the brand’s history, the company says. Each bottle features gold or silver metallic coatings and a Day of the Dead-themed skull representing the brand’s Mexican roots.

Celestial Seasonings also took a cue from history when it unveiled its redesigned packaging, which highlighted the brand’s heritage with a new, contemporary logo.