RSS Feeds

Advanced search

You are in:


Wood's rum repositioned and repackaged

London design agency Purple Creative has just completed a 10-month project for William Grant & Sons UK, helping to reposition and repackage Wood’s Old Navy Rum, established in 1887.

 “Our objective was to make the Wood’s bottle and packaging more premium, iconic and memorable,” says Purple founding partner and creative director Steve Bewick. “We conducted extensive research into the history and heritage of Wood’s, including unearthing some previously unknown facts about the brand inspired by its rich naval heritage and traditions.”

The rum’s recipe has never changed in 129 years. It is distilled in the world’s only single wooden pot still (up to 250 years old), which is made of greenheart, a local hardwood that imparts complex flavours. It’s the only demerara rum bottled at 57% ABV (British Navy issue strength) – a blend of three Guyana rums made from demerara black strap molasses

Bewick explains the design decisions: “We gave the Wood’s bottle an overhaul – a stronger, sturdier bottle with thicker glass to represent the strength of the liquid and the toughness of sailors in the British Navy in the eighteenth century when they were given their daily ration of rum. We added a cork to make it more premium and more authentic, as original bottles on board would have had corks.

“We transformed the pastel illustration of the sailor from the old bottle, into a bolder and more iconic image, strong enough to stand alone as part of the Wood’s brand identity. It is now a more realistic representation of an able seaman in and around the early 1900s (beards were allowed!).

“Aboard old British Navy ships, ‘splicing the mainbrace’ was the exhausting job of intertwining thick hemp to repair the mast’s main rigging – only the strongest able seamen were chosen to perform it. As a reward for a job well done, each sailor involved was issued with an extra ration of navy rum. Inspired by this tradition, we have incorporated subtle rope embellishments into the design.

“We took inspiration from navel uniforms of the time, especially the stripes on the lapels, to create a simple but bold graphic device that can be used on communications to create a recognisable look and feel. And, like the language on board ship, the brand’s tone of voice is bold, honest and straightforward.”

Gwilym Cooke, Wood’s brand manager, comments: “After evaluating the brand’s rich history, consumer trends and the dark rum category, we recognised an opportunity to rejuvenate Wood’s. Purple has succeeded in creating premium packaging that matches the quality of the liquid inside the bottle, without straying from the navy history that is so iconic to the brand.” 

Pictured above: Before and after redesign (before in centre)

20 April 2016 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Rport, editor