Here&There Collab Series Strategy, Brand and Identity Development
Dillon’s Rum Collab
For the first within the Here&There collaboration series, Geoff Dillon travelled multiple times to Cuba to work with the world famous Cuban distillers behind Ron Vigia and the Cuban Institute of Rum — a national treasure for Cuba.
After a year of visits and sharing ideas, Idiana Blanco, ICIDCA’s master blender created these two incredible rums for Dillon’s to share with their audience within the Here&There series.
The two authentic Cuban Rums — 8yr & 18yr represent a historic partnership between Cuba and Canada. Never before has Cuba exported a rum for a partnership and collaboration.
As part of the project and strategy, Insite developed a label program that could work for a series of projects following the rum which is first of many more from around the world. See Here&There strategy below.
The rum specific labels were designed to celebrate Cuba as the primary focus. Cuban colours, flag and motifs were designed to capture a Cuban feel while also to fit comfortably within the Dillon’s brand family and identity program.
The labels across the series will all be unique but in each release will fit over the same bottle used for all products. These bottles are printed using ACL and tell the story of the Here&There collaboration series and concept of “local from another place”.
Here&There Collab Series
Dillon’s Small Batch is a distillery who’s heart and vision is in crafting spirits from locally sourced ingredients and realizing the talents and passions of local people; creators, makers, producers, farmers and neighbours — doing great things from a world local to them.
What’s incredible about this philosophy is that it creates community — not just local community, but a broader community assembled of like minds. Not surprisingly, those that share a similar vision and philosophy are drawn to each other on this local common ground and the ideas flow.
Thinking deeply about local; asking what is local, to whom and what are the standards and ethos to uphold we have concluded that local is a promise, approach and practice as much as it is a uniqueness of place that one can taste in the final product.
Local is about the confidence in identity, transparency and honesty. It’s about the end audience knowing the stories of source, place and the people where ingredients and materials originate. It’s about you trusting that the producers of these ingredients and components made every effort to stick to their hearts and vision that local can be a viable practice worth pursuing.
It’s among this new family of producers, growers, farmers and makers that Dillon’s has found a broader sense community and idea sharing. And naturally along with this friendship, a desire to collaborate as a means to cross-pollinate their learnings and products but most of all to share each other's rich stories and learnings with their own audiences that believe in and appreciate local.
In order for Dillon’s to participate in collaborations with their distant friends and fit these products into the “brand local” positioning of the Dillon’s brand, Insite strategized and development a collaboration series called Here&There — a symbol of the relationship with other local makers and producers.
The fine people at Dillon’s will be crafting batch products with their remote collaborators to bring audiences unique ideas, tastes, stories and experiences. This may mean oranges and lemons from their organic farmer friends in Florida, special collaborative blends of whisky with other small batch maker friends around the world, authentic artisanal spirits of source by master distillers that they will work with to marry their talents and bring home other maker's stories — and much more.
The Here&There symbol on Dillon's products signal the fruits of these collaborations and as people to refer to the stories on the Dillon's website that highlight the adventures and efforts among this community.
Brand & Identity Development
Great Plains Craft Spirits is a whisky company that has positioned themselves within a relatively new category in Canadian whisky know as finishers and bottlers.
The practice of sourcing high quality whiskies and then finishing in specialty cognac, brandy or armagnac barrels to impart additional flavours and character to the whisky is a relatively common practice in Europe. However for a Canadian whisky to endeavour to present finishing to the conservative Canadian market is a risk.
Consequently we identified the need to create a unique brand and package that could introduce the idea of finishing to audiences but in a manner that felt as though it was a well established and highly regarded practice.
Canadian whisky in currently under appreciated within Canada since most Canadians don’t have access to well aged product. The well aged whiskies don’t typically end up in audiences hands because of the high cost as well as the demand for such aged product as blending stock for the large Canadian brands.
The offering from Great Plains brings 18, 19 and possibly 20+ year whisky to the shelves and with the additional finishing, a taste profile that is unique, complex and mature.
The label is intentionally uncomplicated in production but utilizes techniques that are symbolic of high quality print from past eras. A deep deboss of all content is hit with a roughened metallic foil to give the feel of old bonds. The cap is finished with laser etched identity and then wrapped with a strip seal reminiscent of regulated alcohol products in the 1800’s.
Interior Experience Planning and Interior Design
Fixture Design and Manufacturing Management
Custom in-house fixture construction
Project management of renovation
Brand & Identity Development
Brand & Identity Development
Brand ecosytem and nomenclature
A new wine brand for Steven Campbell of the highly regarded national wine importer and distributer Lifford, the dream and lofty goal of this brand and wine company challenges to search the world for the very best wines and wineries that are making great efforts to reduce the impact they have on the planet and bottle them for Canadians.
Either by sustainable practices, organic and biodynamic methods, land stewardship or other environmentally responsible actions, these wines, wineries and wine makers represent those taking leadership roles in the industry and pushing the envelope of responsibility.
In this initial wine, aside from its environmental practices, it has reached Carbonzero certification. Insite dubbed this category of wine approach #kindwine. We assisted in all aspects of thinking from naming, positioning, brand, identity system and packaging program.
Watch for these incredible and kind wines to hit the Canadian market starting spring 2019.
Package Design and Illustration
Following our redesign of the Greenhouse Juice packaging line and system, we were asked to create a series that would play off of the main Greenhouse Juice product line as an obvious family member, but which would have its own look that could be more suitable for quick sell situations like cafés and variety — where the whole Greenhouse family of product would likely not be sold.
We used our main line’s core system elements but introduced a more product forward name hierarchy typical of the sales channel as well as we illustrated an organic geometric form to represent the Kombucha mother — an iconic form which could become the identifying element between the flavours.
Line Extension Brand and Package Program
Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers was founded in 2011 with the lofty goal to bring authenticity and seasonality back to spirits. To allow people to feel a connection to where the spirits were made, what the ingredients were, where these fresh seasonal ingredients were grown and even who the growers were. To this day Dillon’s stays true to their promise of keeping the spirts real — with real ingredients, real people and really well made spirits.
Though Dillon’s had become well known for their pure spirits, Dillon’s and Insite saw an opportunity in the prepared cocktail segment to tell the same story of authenticity in real ingredients and sense of place.
Together we focused on a number of key goals for the product.
Firstly the challenge was in how to present serious cocktails in a fashion that would be flexible to be fun and easy for the beach as well as sharp and sophisticated enough to take to a dinner party.
Next, the package needed to speak to the craft and authenticity side of the cocktail and its ingredients, as well as deliver an overt feeling of ritual and timelessness.
And finally the package needed to be a program that would allow a series of cocktails within a form that could become a recognizable silhouette for years to come.
The result has been incredibly well received by audiences who quite clearly welcomed the alignment of Dillon’s core values to the prepared cocktail. Demand is far exceeding production, selling out within hours to days with each batch release.
Brand building and Interior Experience Planning, Interior Design, Fixture Design and Interior Environmental Graphics Creation
Royal Beneficials’ brand parent is an established European mineral water company that has been bottling mineral waters from 3 different Slovakian Tatras mountain sources for years. The brand’s 3 waters had distinctly different mixes of beneficial minerals which the Europeans from the region had relied on for over a century.
Insite was asked to assist in positioning the brand for the North American market place and increase the saturation of the product within various specialty and mainstream grocery stores channels.
Culturally, the European audiences understood the functional benefits of the brand’s mineral waters as well as how to fit the 3 waters into their lives like solutions to daily lifestyle maintenance.
Unfortunately, communicating the benefits to North American audiences was not so easy. We identified the challenges for the Brand in North America were:
1. Retail resistance — retail buyers are saturated with waters of all kinds and as such the category has been commoditized and diluted with waters that have no additional benefit beyond hydration and convenience of portability. Buyers were indicating to the brand owners that the stores didn’t need another water.
2. Audience Knowledge — audiences in NA are not as knowledgable or aware of the benefits of the specific minerals within the brand’s mineral waters.
3. Audience Fatigue — audiences in NA are inundated with waters that have focused on hydration and re-hydration as the main benefits which has diminished the category of importance to a health regimen.
4. Claim Regulations — much of modern dietary health is still emerging and consequently not yet considered concrete science in Canada and the US. Talking about even the content of specific minerals is taboo if they don’t fit the standard recommended doses set out by the country’s dietary food guidelines.
In jumping in we simplified the brand’s soul value and essence and trimmed some of the old brand’s layers of communication that we felt were potentially confusing or simply distracting.
We concluded that a name change as part of the brand change would sharpen the message and allow us to create a more modern position.
Next we looked hard at the product line and determined that users were organizing the products into lifestyle needs. We created 3 distinct uses and descriptive product names — 1. Detoxify for cruising through the week and staying well 2. Defend for preparing your body for more elevated output of play or party and 3. Restore for easing the impact of the party and a quicker recovery.
We then set out to redesign the identity, palette and package. Pushing the concept of Royal as a suggestion of living well, power and self control we designed a visual palette that drew from the heritage of Royal crests or playing cards, re-interpreted in a stripped back modern context. We intentionally removed all colour to be purposely black and white — a suggestion of the definitiveness of self control but also with the goal to visually fit in or blend in to the lifestyle of the audiences. Sort of “stand out” by not standing out.
To subtly re-enforce the lifestyle use of the product, the basic bold line work of the Royal figures relate state of the user. Horizontal lines for cruising, inclining lines to winding up, and declining lines to heading down toward rest.
We also addressed the ubiquity of the water challenge by stating that “This is not bottled water” as a casual position statement. To get viewers and specifically buyers to look again. We support the assertion with the term functional water or “Beneficial” water. Consequently Beneficial was sewn into the naming convention and copyrighted.
When it came to package, we dialled back the importance of the minerals themselves and elevated the use and emotional benefit. Starting with name and supported by descriptions of as it relates to the audiences’ weekly routines, we fit the products into the lifestyle of the active energetic and urban target users.
Then further to reinforce the brand’s fit, we created image content to capture the spirit and situation of the users lifestyles with the product in situation.
Brand and Interior Planning and Design
In the world of hospitality, what’s the point or meaning of a room or a space? Or a series of spaces that make up a facility?
The conventional thinking is based on purely practical purposes. Such as with wineries, we need parking. We need greeting. We need a room for retail and tasting the wines. We need dining. We need event spaces. We need wine making and wine cellaring ad so on. Each space is planned so far as puzzle pieces efficiently fitting into a layout to the discretion of the planner and constraints of the lot or existing building.
After that, the spaces are filled with beautiful fixtures, outfitted with tech and point of sale equipment, kitchen and service needs, then decorated to the trend of the day and bam, opened.
What’s not often considered is the point. Or, what do people really want from that room versus what does the facility want from that space? What is the experience that can be enjoyed in the space as it relates to the brand? What stories can be told, what emotions can be elicited, what pleasure or inspiration can be spurred in the direction of the brand so that the guests feel enveloped in the experience, culture and meaning you are projecting?
This is what we ask.
In 2016 we began working with a new winery in Nova Scotia’s breathtaking Annapolis Valley owned and run by a multigenerational family in Wolfville. The winery had already been making waves with their game changing wines and beautiful packaging.
They reached out to us because they felt that they were missing brand. The were approaching the build of their facility as well as ready to roll out a number of new wines, wine club program, and other experiences but they had not undergone the process of brand development.
The brand isn’t a logo. Brand is the personality, the tone, the purpose and motivation, the emotional value, the soul and everything you do, how you do it and what you say. The logo and identity is simply the visual interface or communication that sets up the promise. In the end, brand is what audiences think of you.
But brand does more than interface with the audience. Brand also constantly informs the brand owner what they are supposed to be doing and in the manner they should do it. Brand is purpose. Brand is approach. Brand is the story that influences the outcomes of the physical.
So for L&W they realized that as they were about to dive deep into the largest project that they had ever endeavoured, that they had no guidance, meaning or purpose that could provide cohesion between all aspects of building design, experiences, future labels and wine releases, events and so on.
The solution was to take a step back and back fill the brand. To look at who the Lightfoot were and what motivated them to carve this path. To dig deep to pull out the soul of what drove them to work so hard every day and to what goal.
With this understanding we produced a brand guide that could be used to indoctrinate the new to the growing organization as well as keep those inside the brand focused.
Following this we looked at the wine portfolio as it related to the brand as well as the understanding of the audience. We helped reorganize the portfolio into tiers that could in themselves story tell with meaning; coastal or “Tidal” lifestyle, Terroir & Biodynamic and Family among others. Each of the tiers were given part of the story toward the whole. Each tier now has purpose and a clear delineation so that audiences can appreciate the difference and find their own fit within the range.
Next we turned to the facility design. Working with the highly regarded architect Vincent den Hartog, we assisted in creating purpose for all potential audience experiential spaces. Starting with flow and drawing from our retail knowledge, we organized spaces to work best for audience experience and pleasure. Considering what could be adjusted or created to ensure guests could live the winery dream without emotional barriers, red lights and speed bumps that could break their flow and enjoyment.
We then conceived and designed each space to take on the storytelling of the brand and specifically in special rooms, each wine tier was applied as a subtle theme.
The retail room subtly supports the feel of the Nova Scotia coastal vernacular as well as quietly tells the story of the family’s history of emigrating to Canada before the beginning of the formation of the country as well as the patriarch’s life as a barber.
The Tidal Room and lounge envelopes the guests in coastal hospitality and cheerful small village seaside charm.
The Biodynamic Room sets a moody warm atmosphere for learning about the winery’s approaches to terroir, biodynamic viticulture and efforts to preserve the ecology of the area.
And the Cellar confidently supports the importance and strength of family and friends to the Lightfoot’s within a spectacularly impressive celebratory space that can easily expand or contract to provide great breadth or intimacy.
The result after opening is that the experience at Lightfoot & Wolfville is a dreamy endless experience that flows with cohesion from one scene to the next. And through each scene the audience gains a better understanding of the L&W brand story and approach to hospitality as well as a bigger picture sense of what is Nova Scotia.
Lightfoot & Wolfville Web: https://lightfootandwolfville.com
With every project or brand we work on, one of the first things we do is identify the challenges for the future brand. What must it overcome? What is the deep value of the brand and product that might not be easily understood?
When we were asked to create a brand for Bar Chef, one of the world’s most innovative cocktail artisan’s and cocktail experiences located in Toronto, we quickly identified that the challenge was that this product was very premium offering within a new category that didn’t currently exist in Canada or more importantly, within the rigid categories of the LCBO, Ontario’s single alcohol retail source.
Who cares? Well the issue is, if there isn’t a category, the product would risk either A. not being sold in that retail chain, or B. listed and placed on the shelf within an incompatible category that could taint the brand’s position and diminish sales.
Bar Chef was producing an exquisite version of the “Old Fashioned” cocktail. Every part of the cocktail was artisanal from the base whisky produced in Toronto by Stalk&Barrel to the botanicals, bitters and the local maple syrup.
We identified another challenge which was that the preconceived ideas of what the product was, laid within the audiences past experiences with pre-mixed alcoholic beverages. And these weren’t typically great experiences; generally low quality sugary drinks consumed by young and price sensitive audiences looking to consume in quantity or without any discerning care for quality.
The audiences we needed to attract were those already interested in the growing cocktail culture but who might be without cocktail preparation knowledge, or without a home bar stocked well enough to attempt complex cocktail themselves or the already engaged in premium cocktails but looking for the elevated experience that can come from an artisan.
What this product was attempting to be was a finished object. Complete. Not a pre-mixed set of ingredients assembled into a bottle, rather a definitive statement and opinion on the Old Fashioned. It was a “complete cocktail” in our minds and as such we established that term as the position of the brand.
The first step in the brand build was to get the entire team to agree that the product would only be a success if A. everyone agreed to only refer to the product series as “Complete Cocktails”, and never “pre-mixed” or “ready made”, or “convenient” and B. To encourage the media and retailer to also only think of the product as the same. We needed to create a new premium category by separating the Bar Chef creation from the down and dirty pre-mixed field. To carve a new space with hopes that the shelf category would back fill with other sophisticated and premium offerings.
The next challenge was that the brand was a collaboration between two existing brands — Bar Chef and the Toronto Whisky Distillery Stillwater who would be supplying their Stalk & Barrel Red as the base for the cocktail. Both of these brands needed to be represented on the packaging and within the brand architecture.
Problem with a brand with multiple principals is that it can often be confusing and diluted in voice. So attention was needed to ensure the brand would be strong, confident and clearly demonstrated in terms of emotional value to the audience without the noise of multiple brands screaming over one another.
What we were able to convince the team of was that the creative source is the asset and so should always be the emotional lead. In this case Frankie Solerik from Bar Chef was the emotional asset since he was the artist and creative mind behind the cocktail. That suggested that the S&B branding position needed to be diminished since most people wouldn’t really be all that concerned with that part of the ingredient list as long as they knew it was also craft.
Following this decision on architecture we designed the label and package program to stand out from the typical offerings on the shelves — to sit within a craft and hand spun genre but to also be able to be produced at volume. The package needed to feel ultra premium to match its price point as well as to be flexible to roll into a series of products once the initial success proved worthy of more cocktails.
The result is recognizable and in itself a tactile experience to handle and open.
The front label is not glued to the glass and can be removed by ripping the yellow band. Once off, the user can read the reverse side of the front label to learn more about the project and people involved.
Images Credit: Leanne Neufeld
Brand and Experience Planning and Interior Design
Image Credit: Allan Glanfield
Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers is situated in Canada’s largest wine region and sources their base fruit for distilling from the wineries that dot the map around their facility. Why? Because making alcohol from wine grapes produces a superior well balanced neutral alcohol from which to make their vodka, gins, bitters and other seasonal spirits.
They also source fresh tender fruit and ingredients from neighbouring farms for their specialty spirits. This isn’t just a story of neighbourly love, or quality, this is also a larger discussion of sustainable environmental practices. Simply, sourcing the largest component of your production from your neighbours saves energy and reduces waste. The reduced carbon footprint from this activity — this philosophy — is massive.
From the get go for Dillon’s as a distiller from wine grapes, it only made perfect sense to develop a vermouth. However it was critical to Geoff Dillon and his father Dr. Peter Dillon that if they did venture into the legacy field of vermouth, it had better be awesome. So after years of trial, tasting, experimenting and tinkering they nailed it.
Now with just a few complicated governmental barriers to get out of the way, their amazing vermouth will be available directly to the public through an agent and hopefully, eventually, the LCBO.
We set out to design a package that was both reflective of the tradition of vermouths but also to appear well rooted within the Dillon’s identity and package system.
We hand illustrated the label art in near entirety before scanning and producing for refinement in the Mac.
The bottle uses 2 ceramic ink colours screened directly to the glass and is hand dipped in wax to finish the cork closure.
Rebrand and Packaging System
West Avenue Cider was started in 2012 by highly regarded chef Chris Hayworth and partner Amy Robson. Their goal from the outset was to make the best possible authentic craft cider in Ontario Canada using heritage apples — particularly those varieties typical of the UK’s traditional ciders.
Very quickly West Avenue’s ciders became know throughout North America as being among the best — and have amassed a ridiculous amount of critical awards to support the accolades. As the visibility of the brand increased, Chris and Amy began to realize that the startup brand and package that they had created for themselves might not be able to grow with their success or keep up in broader more competitive markets and retail situations.
Furthermore they felt their start-up package didn’t reflect their deep sense of responsibility to craft and authenticity as well as it wasn’t communicating all that was unique about the product.
And finally to further complicate the whole, West Avenue had purchased and moved to an established apple farm and was planting thousands of heritage apple trees with the goal of creating a full time facility and tasting experience — a real home for the brand.
Consequently Insite was asked to evolve the brand into a more sophisticated presentation — a rebrand that could maintain existing audiences but which would collect the missing ideas behind West Avenue and build this in for the long haul.
Insite assisted by boiling down the core emotional value of the brand and creating a strategy around future steps. The missing concepts of craft, authenticity and sense of place were injected into the brand essence and visual palette and in addition, an identity was created for the farm that could tell a separate but complimentary story to the cider brand — called Somerset Orchards.
With the brand work complete and new identity for West Avenue and Somerset were created along with a communication system for the packaging. New packaging was developed for multiple tiers for West Avenue that would provide clear paths for future releases, the first of which are the 500mL series such as the immensely popular Heritage Dry as well as the critically acclaimed 750mL releases such as Gold Dust.
Much more to come from West Avenue ahead so watch for them in a wide array of local pups and restaurants that care about what they serve as well as retail in the future.
For distiller Geoff Dillon, making spirits is a labor of love. And that’s the only way to describe this new 100% Canadian Rye from Geoff, the founder of Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers in Beamsville Ontario.
Years and years and years of planning, investment, hard work, sweat, tears, wins, luck and good people is what is has taken to produce Canada’s first 100% Rye Whisky in decades. Possibly since the 1920’s, US prohibition and other factors of the era created a panic rush boon for Canadian whisky; squeezing the majority rye content out of the world renown product and introducing cheaper more generic ingredients that could be made quicker and more on mass.
This ultra-premium category package design needed to tell the story of how Dillon’s came to make such a new expression of Canadian whisky while also engaging the audience with the concepts of what makes a real rye — rye grain, milling, malting, mashing, distilling in copper and aging in oak — all in Ontario Canada, right down to the Canadian Oak casks among the 3 oaks used.
Insite illustrated the concepts as a full continuous scene around the bottle which was screen printed and baked with ceramic inks. A pressure sensitive front and rear label carries specific release information and bottle numbers as well as cask number and release year to reinforce how special this product actually is.
Package System Redesign
Greenhouse Juice is the idol of the cold-pressed green juice movement in Toronto if not all of Canada. From it’s quiet start in January 2014, the brand has exploded in popularity and distribution through it’s network of small company owned outlets. Hanging on to its roots, the brand knew if it were to grow outward, it would need to solve a few key challenge that were clearly going to restrict the brands success if not resolved.
1. Shelf Life
2. Package Differentiation / Competitiveness
3. Package Visibility / Shelf Presence
4. Clear communication of product and value to new audiences
The startup package design was beautifully simple and met the needs of the original intention. Hand sell cold-pressed juice to a fast moving deeply engaged urban audience. That allowed the colour of the juice alone to be the star and the brand elements of the package to take a back seat. All sold in Greenhouse Juice stores meant that the environment could do the talking for identity and brand, further relieving the package of any tiring effort.
However in 2016 the Greenhouse team knew that expanding into environments that they didn’t control would be their only option for strengthening the brand in the face of extremely fast assembling copy-cat competition. Greenhouse 1.0 knew that they had already lost their visual uniqueness amongst this new crowd as well they feared that if they hastily expanded into grocery they faced the ultimate compromise — pasteurization for shelf life — something they were deeply apposed to.
The solution was to develop a proprietary cold filtering process using light — “Light Filtering” — to extend shelf life and stability of the delicate natural juice as well as change the packaging to suit and compete in the new environments.
We were invited to assist the Greenhouse Juice team to focus their visual communication on package as well as create a new package system and package design that their team could manage and roll out across their full and extended product line. So in collaboration with the Green team we redesigned their packaging range so that it could better communicate in more intense retail environments outside and more distant from their own aesthetically controlled, hand sell stores and situations. Picking up on the Greenhouse design team’s desire for a craft paper, the system cleanly concentrates the most important and differentiating product merits on the facing panel. Then the system utilizes bold and colorful geometric symbols to separate product categories while tying the family’s core natural value together within a craft paper and subtle silkscreen feel.
Greenhouse Juice Website: https://greenhousejuice.com
Station Home, located in mid town Burlington Ontario, is a lifestyle, home decor and design store aimed at urbanites and their busy evolving lives. Station is a hub where people come and go, from within the city and all over the world. Station is a source of supply and outfitting for the way people dwell and it’s a connection point to find inspiration, like minded people, style guidance, decor and creature comforts for wherever one calls home.
Station Home is a concept and design collaboration between Centro Garden and Holland Park Garden Gallery. Following the visibly groundbreaking success of Centro Garden, Holland Park Garden Gallery, one of Canada’s most successful garden lifestyle retailers asked Centro’s founder Jason Pepetone to re-imagine their garden centre and create and expansion concept store.
Jason invited Insite to assist since we were part of the thinking and design behind the original Centro Garden and have maintained a keen interest in the evolution of the category and retail in general.
What was concluded was to create a home & garden lifestyle store that was cross pollinated with the evolution of Centro.
Situated within an old industrial warehouse, Station was designed to take over and luxe-up the space while not losing the raw spontaneous warehouse appeal.
The environment leverages an industrial metaphor as well as the grande nature of a transit hub while marrying the softer comforts and surfaces of urban loft living.
Custom details, surfaces and fixtures were designed and fabricated locally in addition to sourcing and restoring vintage industrial equipment to utilize as displays.
A complete retail package was also designed to compliment the feel of the store while creating a tonal contrast that further softens the industrial backdrop.
You can find the store at 2243 Fairview Street in Burlington — between Holland Park and Nicklebrook Brewing.
Niagara Oast House Brewers is a craft brewery in Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario Canada that has quickly established itself as the “Don’t miss’em” destination for travellers as well as becoming recognized as a critical maker of craft brew.
Key to their success has been the Barn Raiser Country Ale — an easy drinking sunny day glass half full toast lands jam side up kind of beer that simply makes everyone happy.
Demand has been so good that the powers that be demanded a can. And so the quest began to get this fresh faced beer into the hands of the masses while not sacrificing quality of taste, ingredients or bubble.
A few years in the making to get it just right and voila!
Insite was asked to create a package that expressed the cheerful farm pop of the Barn Raiser image while also building on the main Oast Brand and Identity.
We applied our bold farm pop look to the can as well as custom engineered a special 4 pack “lunch box” that sports a convertible handle which makes it ideal for carry out or for stacking case displays in retail once the handle is tucked out of the way.
In 2010 we began working with a young distiller with a simple goal to make some of the most uncompromising spirits that Canada had ever seen. He’d source local honest ingredients, work with local artisans, proud Ontario grain growers and malters and go to work building onto Canada’s respected but mostly forgotten tradition of fine 100% Canadian Rye Whisky.
First, using his copper pot still, he perfected The White Rye which expressed the great personality and aging potential of local Ontario rye and malt. Then he sourced oak barrels from respected American and Canadian cooperages before finally, over 3 years ago, filling the first oak cask to ready and send it through time.
To be called Canadian Rye Whisky means something. But to be called 100% Canadian Rye Whisky means something more. It means pride. It means at least 3 full years of aging in oak casks. It means 100% of the rye is Canadian – not blended with other grains or corn. It means 100% of the rye saw the full aging – not a blend of some aged and some young. It means liquid truth.
This summer Geoff Dillon @dillonsdistills dusted off the oak time machine he called Cask 2 to reflect on his dream of making a Canadian Rye that the world would recognize as distinctly Canadian. Of making a Canadian Rye that we will all be proud of; as friends and locals and Canadians.
Today Geoff and the gang at @dillonsdistills realized the dream and released this ultra limited cask 2 to a long awaiting crowd of enthusiastic whisky drinkers of which I’m one. Hit it out of the park Mr. Dillon.
The package design aims to tell the simplistic story of making this rye the right way by sourcing Ontario rye grain and then milling, malting and coopering here in Ontario. The copper bands that adorn the 200ml bottle are used in the Chad Copper Pot Still to increase the rye to copper exposure during the distillation process. Finally the map wrapper tells the stories of all the characters involved in making such a critical product for Canada.
From Napa California, Bandit Wines is the biggest selling tetra packed wine in the US. Recently we were asked to assist in redesigning the iconic brightly coloured series to better align it with its core outdoor adventurous audience.
The series was created to celebrate key state parks across the US. We illustrated the packages in-house using a constrained set of Pantone colours so that the eventual package designs could print accurately on Tetra’s Flexo presses and processes.
Techniques were used within the illustrations to give smooth colour gradients independent of potential press challenges and a PMS background colour allowed the press and brand directors ultimate control over the main pack colour for a strong brand impression.
The result is a very recognizable and memorable series that have worked their way into the hearts of outdoor enthusiasts across the country.
Being that we are believers in healthy eating as best as one can manage these days we helped our wee entrepreneur to style some healthier alternatives to the conventional refined sugar and imported concentrate lemonade. Starting with a base of clean caffeine free botanical teas produced by a Canadian tea maker, we made a number of recipes that built on the tea toward a refreshing cold tea sweetened with local apple cider and local unpasteurized honey. The result was fantastic and Rem’s weekly audience of pint sized fans grew.
Eventually parents asked for recipes so Remi asked if we could help step it up and produce a package with him to sell the teas along with the recipe. Tea Fox Beverage Co. was born.
What’s next? Rem intends to scale the offering from the Sunday morning hand selling toward retail, hence the Happy Camper Tea Set now available at Centro Garden in Downtown Burlington. His goal is to begin to truly fund his dream venture and build the Red Fox Animal Rescue Centre and Foundation. Go kid, go.
Located on the Beamsville Bench, a sub appellation of Niagara’s wine producing region, Thirty Bench Wine Makers is a critically acclaimed wine producer which specializes in making small batch riesling wines. When winemaker Emma Garner made the move to produce their first sparkling wine, a riesling was a natural.
Insite assisted Thirty Bench in creating their current brand and packaging family 10 years ago and so it was an honour to be asked to revise the label line up to tell the story of this new sparkling.
Our goal was to design a package that could continue the bold natural and rustic chic of the brand while stepping into what is typically seen as a fancy attire kind of room for sparkling.
The solution is based on contrasts. The story of a delicate bubbly wine produced at a rugged winery is told in the label’s decorative artsy bling against dark handsome austerity as well as with the finish around the closure where we swapped the traditional shiny hood for a stripped down exposed cage contrasted with the attention of a ribbon and cigar band.
Wine Brand Creation
The Kew family farm was a land grant to an officer in the early 1800’s which began a long tradition of farming and family heritage. The property, being so beautiful as well as situated along a critical trade route, solidified it as a Grande Dame of the Region.
Vinifera was planted by Niagara wine visionaries in the mid 1970’s making Kew’s vines some of the oldest in the region. Since then the estate established a renewed fame within the industry for producing some of the best, most consistent wines which were most often blended within neighbouring wines.
The latest steward owners of the estate approached us with the idea of creating a winery on the estate that would finally showcase the quality of the wines as well as the beauty of the place — to be a gem of Niagara. This wine industry family wished also to make the place their “home” of wine and hospitality, in itself a demonstration of their genuine gracious approach to wine.
Insite assisted by re-imagining the role of wine and facility in the mindset of the audience. Our goal was to develop a unique and emotional experience for visitors who could make the wine pilgrimage to the old Kew estate.
And so a brand was developed that relied on concepts of country graciousness, legacy, family, attention to detail, timelessness and most of all — relationships.
The branding rolled out into package, interior planning and design, fabrication and selections, facility design, and landscape design — all of which was tied together to provide a cohesive finished package.
“From these old vines.”
The interior experience was conceived to shake up the typical impersonal “tasting room” routine and provide guests a more intimate and personalized engagement with the people and wines of Kew. Tasting bars and point of sale counters were replaced with friendly conversation areas such as a kitchen, cafe, dining room and outdoor terrace — all designed to make people feel at home, relaxed and encouraged to take their time.
The end result is a true expression of the goals and dreams of the client as well as what we feel is the desire of the current wine lifestyle engaged audience.
As part of the brand strategy and creation for Dillon’s, Insite proposed a number of events that Dillon’s could found and operate in order to support their local artisan community as well as build and support gastronomic culture in their region.
The first event was an Oyster Festival. Concept being to invite a number of bar tenders, food vendors and musicians to rock the day away surrounding great cocktails and gastronomy. It was a success.
Creative, illustration and production by Insite of a 4 spot colour silk screen poster which was printed by an area fine art silk screen printer.