Strategist
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Copy of VA Spirits: Brand Identity & Campaign (Won Pitch)

this work won the client pitch and is currently being implemented by the virginia distiller's association

virginia spirits

Empowering Virginia’s distillers with an exciting vision for the future.

ALL SIGNS POINTED TO “SIp” AND “SAVOR”

After several weeks of getting strategy and creative approved, we were all set to present Sip it Slow, a direction that positioned Virginia Spirits as an authority teaching a new generation how to enjoy craft spirits.

Then we learned all the other teams were planning to present the same idea. So, with 7 days left before the pitch, we went back to the drawing board, intent on presenting work that was totally distinct from the other teams. We worked long nights and placed our bets on Virginia. We asked ourselves, what makes Virginia craft spirits and Virginia craft distillers unique? Our hunch and our determination paid off. The client chose our work for immediate implementation, citing our deep understanding of Virginia's heritage as what cinched our victory.

What follows is our updated approach.


sITUATION

a booming industry, but consumer attention favors kentucky and tennessee

Though Virginia is "the Birthplace of American Spirits" and home to several award-winning bourbons and spirits, consumer attention remains disproportionately focused on the old standards: Kentucky and Tennessee. We needed to create a consumer-facing brand to promote and celebrate Virginia-made craft spirits, especially as the craft spirits industry continues to boom.

virginia is missing out on the booming craft spirits industry

The craft spirits industry is projected to grow 

INSIGHT

virginians are the original distillers and the original explorers

To create a brand that felt both uniquely Virginian and true to the craft distilling community, we leveraged the thread of exploration that exists among distillers, fans, and Virginians alike:

  • FANS describe the experience of sipping a Virginia craft spirit as an exploration of complex, interesting flavors.

  • DISTILLERS share a drive to discover new and surprising combinations and flavor profiles.

  • VIRGINIANS are explorers of the first-degree: Virginians not only sailed across intrepid waters to discover a new world, but established the nation’s first distilleries, forever establishing Virginia as “The Birthplace of American Spirits.”

STRATEGY

a gateway to a universe of endless exploration

The experience of drinking a craft spirit is unlike any other. With each sip, consumers experience a host of different flavors and sensations, or "mouth-feel." And just like wine, spirits have a terroir about them that's highly dependent on their unique geography (the grain, the water, etc.). We knew we could use this "every-sip-is-different" exploration as a way to highlight what makes Virginia-made craft spirits so distinct.

 

APPROACH

 

tHE EXCITEMENT

our goal

Our goal was to create a timeless story that paid homage to Virginia’s pioneering history - first as explorers of the new world, and second as the “birthplace of American spirits.” The new brand is a celebration of what Virginia and Virginians have to offer the craft spirits industry and it recognizes the pioneering spirit of all of Virginia’s 56 unique distillers.

the insight

exploration unites distillers, drinkers, & virginians

Our promise of “endless exploration” derives from both the craft spirits makers and craft spirits appreciators who are passionate about Virginia craft spirits. We were fascinated that new flavors were being explored and celebrated through collaborations like Vitae Spirits’ partnering with their neighbors Ace, Biscuit, and Barbecue to flavor their golden rum and Hardywood’s collaboration with Reservoir Distillery to make a gingerbread beer whiskey. We also found this thread of “exploration” existed among current fans of craft spirits who describe every sip as an exploration of complex, frequently home-grown ingredients and new flavors.

Insight

Craft distillers are passionate explorers.
We saw explorations happening all over Virginia through local collaborations: breweries and distilleries creating limited edition beer whiskeys, barbecue joints lending their charred barrels to distillers to give their rum completely new and distinct flavor. These distillers were more than artisans, they were pushing the limits of craft spirits. They were explorers.
We also knew that historically, Virginia is known as the birthplace of the nation. To be a Virginian is to be a pioneer. It is about exploring new territories and pushing boundaries.
When we saw Virginia craft spirits in this light, we realized what we could stand for.

Brand promise

virginia spirits are a gateway to a universe of endless exploration

Our brand promise, “Virginia Spirits are a gateway to a universe of endless exploration,” sets the stage for an exciting future full of exciting possibilities. As Virginia’s craft spirits continue to evolve, so too will the flavors and collaborations with local partners.

Manifesto

We are makers, dynamic, and creative.
Our heritage has taught us to pioneer the undiscovered.
We are curious, nimble, and boundless, always pushing for the original
We invent by collaborating, using landscape and community to concoct flavors that surprise and awe.
We believe in craft and its journey, ever changing and ever evolving.
The exploration of uncharted territories is what drives us.
We craft in pursuit of discovery.

Virginia Spirits.
Endless Exploration.

BRAND IDENTITY

Design Inspiration

Our stakeholders disliked the cliched visuals of the craft spirits industry: barrels, open fields, amber tones, chopped wood. So, we challenged our creatives to be more inventive and inspired them with a deck of Virginia artwork (illustrations, quilts, needle-work, street art, etc.) and beautiful, diverse Virginian landscapes.

Design Objective

Promise the future of craft spirits while paying homage to Virginia's history.

look and feel

Virginia Spirits is embracing a lively new logo and identity system that reflects the new brand. The look and feel is inspired by Virginia’s vibrant landscape, its explorers, and the individual makers of the state of Virginia. The logo shape refers to a droplet of a craft spirit and a blend of old and new typography is used within the design to nod not only to the history of the industry, but also to suggest a forward look to future possibilities. The new brand and messaging encourage people to explore the endless universe of Virginia Spirits.

communications

an invitation to explore

 

 
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website

We redesigned the website, making it easy to browse and explore Virginia products and distilling history.

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Map

Solving a major pain point

Virginia takes pride in supporting local goods, but craft spirits had yet to gain local support. So we created materials to educate local restaurants and liquor stores to support Virginia craft spirits.

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Explore Virginia

Our client has worked closely with Virginia tourism in the past. We wanted to strengthen that partnership. We created a map to encourage tourists and locals to explore the 56 distilleries Virginia houses.

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Info tags & stickers

Every bottle is a touchpoint. Every Virginia craft spirit comes with an info card to encourage drinkers to explore what Virginia has to offer. Stickers are a gamification element that works with the map pictured below.

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Recipe cards inside liquor stores

Not only would recipe cards call out craft spirits in liquor stores, they would be a great way to educate employees. 

A party for ABC employees

Virginia is a control state, meaning, the government regulates all liquor sales under one store - the ABC. We visited local ABC stores and found that the majority of employees did not know the difference between local and mass-produced spirits. What if we hosted parties for ABC employees? They could have a little fun, some free booze, and learn about Virginia spirits in the process.

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Menu stamps to raise awareness

We noticed that bars and restaurants offered Virginia spirits, but didn't indicate that they were local brands.These stamps would be an easy and inexpensive way to update local menus to raise awareness.

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team

Eliza Hadjis - Strategist
Joe Bae - Strategist
Chelsea Sams - Creative Brand Manager
Allison Rinaldi - Art Director
Tony Jorgensen - Copywriter
Tyler King - Experience Designer