Single-pass digital printing delivers double-duty labels for distiller

Deviation Distilling is elevating beverage packaging with digitally printed labels that are applied to the back of its gin bottles but are visible from the front of the bottle. In this striking packaging design, consumers look through the product inside the bottle to view decorative graphics on the back label. But upon turning the bottle over, they see completely different graphics—on the same label.

American Label, located in Salt Lake City, UT, prints Deviation Distilling’s large pressure-sensitive labels using an HP Indigo WS6800 Digital Press.A sandwich-print technique enables the converter to print two sets of graphics, those viewed from the front of the package and those viewed from the back, in a single pass through the press.

The “sandwich” starts with a clear biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP) substrate, onto which a four-color reverse print, a layer of HP Indigo Premium White ink and a second four-color process separation are printed.

“Up until a few years ago this probably wouldn’t have been possible. HP changed its formulation of white ink, and that really was helpful in this. The premium white is more opaque, and it helped us get where we needed with the opacity,” says Rob Bullen, digital label specialist at American Label.

“The side of the label that you’re seeing through the bottle is the adhesive side of the back label” with the reverse-print, he says. “From the back of the bottle, you see a solid color with the Deviation Distilling logo and regulatory information.”

Thor Rasmussen, sales manager at American Label, adds, “Normally this would be done on a flexographic press, and it would be two layers of material. You would start with a clear layer and you would print four-color process, and then you would laminate onto that a white substrate and then print on the white substrate again using four-color process." In contrast, Deviation Distilling’s labels are digitally printed in “a single layer, single pass,” which is essentially doing “the un-doable.”

The front of the distiller’s tall, rectangular glass bottle is decorated with a more conventional pressure-sensitive label made from metallic BOPP. The small front label is printed with brand name, percentage alcohol, proof and product flavor. Deviation Distilling launched this line of gins—the company’s first products—in January 2019. The three flavors are Citrus Rosé, Mountain Herb and Spice Trade.

The packaging has been turning heads not only at retail but also in the packaging and spirits industries. In March 2019, the package won an Excellence in Packaging gold medal in the American Distilling Institute’s Craft Sprits Awards competition. That same month, at the Dscoop Edge 2019 conference, American Label won the HP Inkspiration Award for the Deviation Distilling gin labels.

Cindi Wiley, co-founder of Denver-based Deviation Distilling, answers a few questions from Packaging Digest about her company’s new gins and its unusual packaging.

 

Who created the graphics for the Deviation Distilling labels?

Wiley: These gin labels were a collaboration between myself and our business partners. We also worked with an extremely talented graphic artist who brought the ideas to life.

 

What is the closure made from?

Wiley: The cap is a clear plastic material. It is made from a cutting-edge technology without using adhesives to secure the cap to the leg.

 

Are the labels applied manually or automatically?

Wiley: These labels are all applied by hand.

 

Where is Deviation Distilling gin sold?

Wiley: We are currently in 80 liquor stores in and around the Denver area. We are working hard to get distribution all over the state. We are also in some high-end restaurants and bars around the Denver area. We recently partnered with a distribution company here in Colorado to assist us in widening our reach.

 

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