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SPECIAL REPORT: Packaging Innovations preview

Diageo, The Lakes Distillery and Glenfiddich are to speak at The Drinks Symposium - a new feature at this year’s Packaging Innovations show being held at the NEC, Birmingham on 25 – 26 February.

The Drinks Symposium, on the second morning of the show, will present case studies from three very different, award-winning, luxury whisky brands. Each brand’s story will demonstrate how original thinking and imaginative packaging design can create a strong brand identity, when either bringing to market a new product, a brand extension, or maintaining an established brand’s unique market position.

The brand new show feature, running in association with, boasts an expert speaker line up from the alcoholic beverage industry, along with their designers, who will use the Symposium to demonstrate the power of packaging. 

Felicity Murray, editor of, says: "The Drinks Symposium is pleased to be part of the UK’s biggest packaging show. We have a particularly strong speaker line-up, spanning three award winning whisky brands, all looking to share their own stories on how they have built a successful brand platform through packaging design and original thinking. It really is not to be missed!”

Paul Currie, founder and MD, of The Lakes Distillery and Duncan McEwan, managing director, at Hedley McEwan will be exploring the whole process from concept to brand design. Sharing their experience in creating the branding for the unique British blended whisky called The One, as well as The Lakes Malt, The Lakes Gin and The Lakes Vodka. They will also talk about the processes put in place to create a new distillery, new concepts and a new brand. 

Revealing the successes of the legendary Scotch whisky Johnnie Walker, will be Giles Calver, planning director, at Sedley Place alongside Jeremy Lindley, global design director, for Diageo who will talk about the development and success of the Johnnie Walker Blue Label whisky packaging. They will discuss how building desire through design effectiveness made Johnnie Walker’s Blue Label its most prestigious whisky, and one of the most famous international super-premium blend whiskies.

Calver explains why he jumped at the chance to speak at The Drinks Symposium: “Firstly, the Johnnie Walker story is really interesting, so it is special to be able to share it with likeminded people in the industry. Secondly, the show always provides interesting speakers and this year this looks like being especially true, with talks on both a new and established brands. Finally, attending the show is a great way to find out what is happening in the packaging world and to meet others involved in the industry. I’m hoping to come back informed and inspired.”

Gary Westlake, founder of design agency Purple Creative, along with Sarah Macaulay, global marketing manager, at Glenfiddich will draw on their personal experience to identify the key factors in creating a new visual identity for a long established brand, like Glenfiddich, the world's most awarded single malt whisky.  

Westlake remarks: “Packaging Innovations is the perfect platform to talk to relevant, interested people about a global visual identity project and brand that I’m passionate about” 

In addition to The Drinks Symposium, the show will also be launching The Pharmaceutical Symposium and The Retail Symposium, offering exhibitors and visitors from all spheres of the packaging and print world a unique programme of valuable and insightful content.

There will be a full inspirational learnShops programme provided by world-class experts, with presentations from Nestlé, Sainsbury and Innocent Drinks. The two day show also feature plenty of show floor ‘theatre’ in the form of The BIG Print Debate and the Lions’ Lair.

Celebrating it's 10th anniversary, Packaging Innovations, with dedicated Ecopack and Contract Pack areas, and co-located with Empack and Label&Print, is the UK’s biggest packaging event with over 350 exhibitors specialising in all aspects of packaging from materials and design, to machinery, new technologies and equipment.

Exhibitor News

Major names have been quick to show their support, with a who’s who of industry names already signed up to exhibit, including Aptar Food + Beverage, Schur Star Systems, Hewlett-Packard, Xeikon, Esko-Graphics, Gmund, Epson (UK), Fujifilm and Atlantic Zeiser.

For those looking to sparkle, Seufert Transparente will be unveiling its new PET promotional packaging with light effects for the drinks market. It combines packaging made of a coloured, transparent PET film together with an LED module. When the packaging is picked up, approximately 80 light-points light up in a pre-set sequence of red, white and yellow.

For high-tech printing Sauven will be displaying its new Sauven 600 inkjet printer, with touch screen technology. The Windows software that drives the printer allows for unlimited font and more functions, enabling the printing of 1D and 2D (data matrix) barcodes to include variable data, which can be fitted with a UV LED lamp for use with UV curing inks.

Also amongst the exhibitors will be Americk Packaging, presenting its Shelf-Life Extension technology which decreases the waste created by retailers, reducing environmental impact. This innovative technology allows the effective monitoring of crop metabolic activity throughout the year; providing ‘real time’ data enabling retailers to reduce their waste, both in packaging and the products themselves.

Kite Packaging will be showcasing three of its latest product ranges. Kite Wrap and Hold, designed for high volume users, offering a universal packing solution that is secure, reduces costs and completely eliminates the need for void fill and in-box solutions. Kite Mini Air, an innovative multi-use packaging solution that creates air cushions on demand. And lastly, Kite Air Shock, an air cushioned packaging system that uses inflatable pouches to protect fragile products, especially within the drinks industry.

Exhibiting at the 2015 show will be Intelligent Finishing Systems (IFS), who will be highlighting how printers can offer short-run, creative, value added and flexible solutions. On display will be its Horizon RD-4055 Rotary Die-Cutting & Creasing System, which can die-cut, kiss-cut, crease, perforate, slit, hole punch and round corner in one process.

First time exhibitor, Bech Packaging, will be showcasing its specialised range of plastic packaging, designed for the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries. Durst will be showcasing its Tau 330 digital UV inkjet print system for the food industry and fully-automated industrial production.

Additional Show Features

There will also be a full learnShops programme provide by world-class experts, with presentations from John Lewis, Nestle, Sainsbury, Innocent Drinks, Mondel─ôz and M&S. Plus live 3D print demos enabling designers, engineers and educators to test and perfect work with 3D modeling.

There will be plenty of show floor ‘theatre’ in the form of The Lions’ Lair and show favourite, The BIG Print Debate, which returns with the topic: What happens when personalisation becomes the norm? The expert panel will be made up of Antoinette Devine, global packaging and materials consultant at SAB Miller, Karen Graleypackaging and reprographics manager at Waitrose, Lynn Harris, account director digital at JKR and Nancy Janes, WW Graphics Solutions business program director at HP.

Finally show organiser, easyFairs, has teamed up with Xeikon to provide a Pack Personalisation feature. To demonstrate to brand owners and printers the power of personalised packaging and how it can trigger consumer emotion. Visitors will have the opportunity to have a message and/or photo printed onto a pack, for them to collect at the show.

New about the next London show....

The autumn Packaging Innovations & Luxury Packaging London show is changing venue. This year it will be held in West and Central halls of Olympia, and on the slightly amended dates of 16 - 17 September 2015.

Show organiser easyFairs says that The Business Design Centre served the exhibition well in its early years, however “with the exhibition growing so fast each year both in terms of visitors and exhibitors, and especially the fast growth of Luxury Packaging, it was important to move on and find a venue more suited to both exhibitor and visitor needs”.

More information can be found at

19 January 2015 - Choose an author