Dynamic packaging design is playing a larger and larger role in craft spirits brand differentiation and Saverglass Group is one of the leading suppliers to the industry within that space. We asked marketing director Régis Maillet for his insights on the state of glass packaging and what’s in store for the craft spirits market in 2020 and beyond.
Q: What elements do you see driving spirits packaging innovation in 2020?
Régis Maillet: The emergence of a collective consciousness driven by millennials and the newer generation, focused on showcasing an identity, a need for authenticity and transparency, as well as a concern about environmental challenges. They are looking for the promotion of a new aesthetic of sustainability.
In contrast, there is a need for creativity, shifting, imposed by social networks that work a lot on storytelling, staging but treated with style, idea, eclecticism, inspiration. This generation is fed by stories, which lead to advocating for an aesthetic of surprise!
These elements have distinct characteristics that affect consumer behavior as well as their buying decisions.
In terms of packaging, two major trends will co-exist. First, a focus on eco-packaging that is environmentally friendly. Second is based on ultra-personalization creating surprise while serving the chosen premium/super-premium positioning and value creation of a brand.
What do you see as the key craft spirits trends in 2020?
RM: The total number of active craft distillers increased by 245 in 2018 to surpass the 2,000 mark. The number of craft spirits brands in the U.S. market reached nearly 5,000, with over 600 new brands added in 2018. The U.S. whiskey category holds the greatest value-to-volume ratio, which has led to select whiskey sub-categories (Rye, Tennessee, American Single Malt) to have the most brand introductions in 2018. Volume sales of all craft spirits reached 9.4m nine-liter cases in 2018, with a 26% growth rate year-over-year. Craft spirits volumes now account for 4.1% of the total spirits industry.
The growth of craft spirits in the United States should accelerate and have a greater impact on the balance of spirits produced in America.
To meet the growth of these locally produced American alcohols, most of which are premium and made in an authentic way from quality raw materials and themselves premium, Saverglass has regularly supplied the market with perfectly adapted offers combining authenticity, different designs, personality and bottle quality. Thus, were born the concepts CRAFT, SPEAKEASY and WANTED.
This year, it is expanding its range of bottles dedicated to Craft distillers by offering a new collection of three bottles; enriched with a mechanical cap, perfectly sustainable and allows the bottles to have a second life (as they are reusable!).
This premium concept is called POP. The bottles are called: DIAMOND mechanical cap, BOTANIC mechanical cap and FORTY-SIX mechanical cap.
What are some of the biggest questions/requests you get from spirits producers?
RM: Many questions related to service and personalization of products and packing.
We are often asked about the availability of products, the depth of the ranges, the MOQs, but also about the possibilities of customization offered from engravings to decoration. This fits perfectly into our U.S. service offering as a premiumization specialist.
What packaging advice could you give brands on how to differentiate themselves in the marketplace?
RM: In the premium market: a single watchword: creating value through packaging differentiation. 80% of purchases on a brand (on shelf) are made thanks to the specific look of the bottle, the way it appropriates the brand’s values and differentiates itself from others. The bottle is also the consumer’s first point of contact with the brand (when it is unknown to them). The attention paid to its design is therefore essential. A design with a strong personality can be the first level of the proposal. Then you can play on the choice of a different glass colors to distinguish yourself. Or give it an even stronger signature through the engravings. Then, finally, to stand out completely by working on a decor specific to your brand and thus become totally unique on the market.
Which spirits categories (whiskey, gin, etc.) have been the biggest for your business?
RM: While the spirits market in general has slowed down in recent years, all categories of premium, super premium and prestige spirits have experienced significant growth in the United States and around the world: this is obviously the case for U.S. whiskeys and bourbons, gin, rum in North America and Mexican categories driven by the U.S. consumption market, namely tequila and mezcal.
All the different spirit categories are important to Saverglass. Over the past 30 years, Saverglass has shared with its global partners a cross-category experience (e.g. Cognac and Vodka) to support our customers in the development of different bottles, and serving their new alcohols the best way we can.