Two things on my mind this week. The first, the general public. The second, packaging.
The reason they’re on my mind is because of a complaint made to the Portman Group about Hammer & Son Old English Gin.
The complaint, made by a “member of the public”, said that the gin, which comes packaged in a 750ml ‘champagne-style’ bottle and is sealed with a cork, “encourages excessive drinking”.
Innovation makes a product stand out on the shelf, creates excitement and gives you a reason to chat with the customer
The crux of the complaint appears to be that because of the cork, people will be more likely to drink the gin more quickly. The summary of the complaint doesn’t list exactly who it thinks is the type of person willing to pay for a £30 bottle of premium spirits and then down it in one, or how much time a cork saved on opening a bottle as opposed to a screw cap, but I presume that isn’t the point.
The complaint, predictably, wasn’t upheld by the Portman Group, and in one of my favourite explanations ever, they wrote in their response:
“This … did not cause the Panel to consider the packaging would confuse consumers because they noted that the large descriptor on the packaging, while stylised, very clearly read ‘Gin’.”
Never tell me that the Portman Group doesn’t perform a valuable service.
Packaging is, as my friends in the tobacco industry will tell you, a very important subject. In a statement, the Portman Group complaints panel secretary said: “When designing a product’s packaging, alcohol producers are encouraged to be innovative.”
Innovation makes a product stand out on the shelf, creates excitement and gives you a reason to chat with the customer. I know at times it can be difficult to cope with strange shapes and sizes, to understand how they fit in. But in reading about this product, and the company’s ethos and reasoning, I thought the story was brilliant. Telling your customers about the gin recipe it is based on, and the fact it is distilled in the oldest pot used in England today, would create excitement in the customers mind.
The bottle and the cork are part of it. But the story, for me, is why alcohol innovation like this is important.