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Lifting spirits

Packaging plays an important role in underlying the value of a brand and offers huge opportunities for brand differentiation in terms of shape, print finishes & effects and opening experiences

James Clark Chesapeake

Packaging plays an important role in underlying the value of a brand and in promoting a brand to new and established consumers. Packs offer huge opportunities for brand differentiation in terms of shape, print finishes & effects and opening experiences.

Despite the continued uncertainty in the global economy, established spirits markets are managing to maintain recent sales levels and some markets, such as North America are actually growing again. However, the main source of growth, supported by enormous marketing budgets, has been in emerging markets. Here, value growth continues to outstrip volume growth and this is a clear demonstration of consumer’s ‘trading up’ from local spirits to more premium, aspirational international brands. These new consumers are buying provenance and a brand’s outer packaging is part of that experience.

During the last few years there have been a number of exciting new packaging developments. The market is increasingly using board-to-board lamination which effectively combines two pieces of cartonboard to provide a strong construction. In addition, glued inner folded flaps present a quality finish for premium spirits brands. Varnish effects such as soft touch or silk screen textures which mimic naturally occurring materials such as leather, stone or wood grain as well as in-line reticulation are enhancing the tactile qualities of packs. 3D and holographic print that provide depth and the impression of movement are also in demand for gifting and brand extensions. Printed electronics are even now playing a part in on-trade promotions.

New materials, such as Chesapeake’s Impressions, can add differentiation to a pack by providing a 3D quality. Impressions is formed by using a specialist low energy process which makes it possible to produce a depth of embossing that simply isn’t possible using conventional cartonboard. (see The Drinks Report - New paperboard offers 3D branding opportunities) This tactile board can help to promote and complement a brand – from tactile bubbles on a tube to replicating the shape of a bottle. It also has the flexibility to be formed into a pod to hold a liquid, offering an alternative to plastic.

Over the past few years, there have been developments in spirally wound and composite tubes that have further elevated this high-quality packaging format. The tube can be decorated in a limitless range of colours, enhanced by a foil, varnished or embossed finish. An extensive range of shapes - cylindrical, oval, triangular and square - are now available which allows further brand differentiation.

A new aperture pack provides product visibility allowing the purchaser to see the product as well as the front and reverse of the bottle’s label. The pack’s construction helps to maintain its strength despite the aperture and the pack now offers possibilities for many other products and markets.

Chesapeake provides a full range of printed products to the alcoholic drinks sector including self-adhesive and wet-applied labels, folding cartons, rigid boxes, composite tubes and shaped boxes. Its capabilities include a variety of complex and intricate finishes utilising both lithographic and flexographic printing techniques on a range of substrates including board, plastic, paper and fluted materials.

The company has just installed the world’s longest Heidelberg printing press especially suited to the demands of the drinks market.



1 April 2013