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Lifting Spirits

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Lifting Spirits

November 07
09:29 2016

By James Clark, MPS VP Global Sales – Drinks

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.

In 2015, MPS Arbroath was presented with an Eska Frog award for the third year in succession. This global award, organised by the carton-board supplier Eska, was presented for a striking pack for Dalmore’s 25 Year Old whisky. This complicated pack consists of 58 individual components and involves 76 separate operations to complete it.

In 2015, MPS Arbroath was presented with an Eska Frog award for the third year in succession. This global award, organised by the carton-board supplier Eska, was presented for a striking pack for Dalmore’s 25 Year Old whisky. This complicated pack consists of 58 individual components and involves 76 separate operations to complete it.

Despite the continued uncertainty in the global economy, established spirits markets are managing to maintain recent sales levels. 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. The gift value offered by premium packaging has long been synonymous with several parts of the drinks market, such as Champagne and Scotch whisky, and is now being recognised in up-and-coming areas such as vodka, rum and gin.

New Packaging Developments

MPS secured two of the packaging industry’s most prized awards at the UK Packaging Awards 2015. MPS beat a host of other suppliers to claim ‘Cartonboard Pack of the Year’ as well as ‘Limited Edition of the Year’. The ‘Limited Edition of the Year’ was awarded to a range of packs for Diageo’s Johnnie Walker brand. The Johnnie Walker Black Label and Double Black Limited Editions were launched globally in June 2015.

MPS secured two of the packaging industry’s most prized awards at the UK Packaging Awards 2015. MPS beat a host of other suppliers to claim ‘Cartonboard Pack of the Year’ as well as ‘Limited Edition of the Year’. The ‘Limited Edition of the Year’ was awarded to a range of packs for Diageo’s Johnnie Walker brand. The Johnnie Walker Black Label and Double Black Limited Editions were launched globally in June 2015.

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, that remove the ‘raw’ edge of the unprinted cartonboard, 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 and consumer trials with new technologies such as Near Field Communication (NFC) are also taking place. This technology allows a smart phone to communicate with a chip, incorporated into the outer pack, by using the energy from the phone’s battery. NFC is being used to help communicate additional marketing information and also offers the potential to gather information direct from the consumer.

Growth in ‘Super-premium’ Brands

In 2015, MPS Bristol was presented with a coveted Digital Printer Award for a self-adhesive label just six months after installing the site’s first digital press, a Domino N610i. The site won the category ‘Creative Use of Substrates’ which was one of just 15 awards that acknowledge the very best examples of digital print. The award was presented for a self- adhesive beer label for the craft brewer, Redwell based in Norfolk.

In 2015, MPS Bristol was presented with a coveted Digital Printer Award for a self-adhesive label just six months after installing the site’s first digital press, a Domino N610i. The site won the category ‘Creative Use of Substrates’ which was one of just 15 awards that acknowledge the very best examples of digital print. The award was presented for a self- adhesive beer label for the craft brewer, Redwell based in Norfolk.

The push into new markets has also seen growth in ‘super-premium’ brands that demand the very best packaging formats to support high retail price points. It’s now not uncommon to see brands retailing at £500 and above at retail travel outlets. Here elaborate rigid boxes made from high quality cartonboards, sometimes combined with other materials such as wood or plastics, have been one of the favoured formats. Clever designs have provided the perfect stage to display finely crafted unique bottle designs whilst incorporating information booklets or complementary crystal glasses. The rigid box has been used to reinforce the very essence of these exclusive, luxury brands.

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. Material choice and outer print finishes offer the choice of a smooth silky touch or the contrast of a tactile raised image. The appearance of a tin-plate container or the novelty of a tri-part tube are all possible. An extensive range of shapes – cylindrical, oval, triangular and square – are now available which allows further brand differentiation.

MPS 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. This dedication to protect and promote the world’s great brands will see MPS help lift the value of premium spirits for years to come.

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