"It has a crisp taste with subtle floral aromas that remind you of sunny meadows, wild spruce forests, saunas and the smell of a freshly made traditional Finnish sauna whisk," says Mikko Koskinen describing Napue Gin, the Finnish rye gin that recently won a gold medal for best gin and tonic in the world at the acclaimed International Wine & Spirit Competition.
Koskinen works as the Head of Marketing and Branding at Kyrö Distillery Company, a small distillery from western Finland that was very surprised to receive such recognition. The idea of establishing the distillery was conceived one evening in a sauna, when Koskinen and his friends began to wonder why nobody was manufacturing rye whisky in Finland, even though the Finns are famous for their love of rye bread. The idea soon led to a small and exclusive line of whisky and gin labels.
The distillery was set up in an old dairy in 2012. Since then, the company has produced Napue Gin, Koskue Gin, Juuri Rye Whisky and Verso Rye Whisky; the latter will be bottled in 2017. The Kyrö Distillery's gin and whisky bottles really stand out on the shelf. Far from being a coincidence, this is the result of careful planning. "The branding was discussed long before the actual manufacturing started. We wanted to create a simple, Scandinavian premium product without overdoing it," says Koskinen.
Every detail is perfect. "The choice of material, bottle and label are timeless. The design for a brand of whisky needs to feel relevant for years to come. We also believe that our gin has the makings of a modern classic," Koskinen continues.
Looking at the bottle in a bar or liquor store, you instantly recognise it as gin; this can make a difference when the customer is making his or her decision. In addition, the label has been designed so that you can see different things depending on how close to the bottle you are. The light-coloured label is easy to spot even in dark environments, so it is sure to attract thirsty bar-goers.
Handmade look and feel
The Kyrö Distillery Company has attracted international attention with its packaging, too. Earlier this year, the company was among the shortlisted entries for the Cannes Lions' Premium Packaging category and won second place in the Spirits category of the Dieline Awards.
Elegant packaging and labelling support the overall image of quality. Every detail matters — including the choice of labelling material. The Kyrö Distillery Company uses UPM Raflatac's Antique White WSA FSC self-adhesive label material, and the labels are printed by Tarrax Oy. "The face paper is porous and ribbed, which gives it a distinct feel," says Tarrax CEO Tomi Lohtamo. "The material gives these bottles a handmade look that is fitting for a premium product. The end result looks very distinguished."
To a large extent, the dignified look results from the label’s textured surface. Textured, ribbed and pulp-dyed label materials help products stand out from the shelf.
“When light is refracted through the bottle, you can see a kind of watermark in the label. And the contrast between the black colour and white background is brilliant, says Matti Hakkarainen, UPM Raflatac’s Sales Manager.
The labels are foil-coated by the Starcke printing house. Gold, copper and silver details in the labels indicate the different aging of the beverages.
The beautiful contours of the bottle together with the simple label provide an uncomplicated yet elegant container for the liquors made from pure Nordic ingredients. When you take a rye distillate and add dried herbs, sea buckthorn, meadowsweet, cranberries and fresh birch leaves, you are guaranteed to create an unparalleled harmony of flavours.