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The Benefits and Drawbacks of Custom Bottles
Custom bottles can provide a unique look and provide large brand benefits, but Craft Distillers must evaluate the pros and cons.
Everyone knows that your branding and packaging has to work hard on a retail or bar shelf in order to attract consumer attention. Custom bottles are a powerful way to achieve this end, especially when finished with complimenting packaging components like boxes, ribbons, netting, etc..
But Craft Distillers must fully consider the ramifications of committing to a custom bottle before choosing this path. Below are some of the benefits and drawbacks every Distillery should consider before deciding to choose a custom bottle as the basis of its packaging.
What are the Benefits of a Custom Bottle?
Proprietary – Bottle as Brand Iconography
A proprietary bottle provides a distinctive iconic look for your brand. Custom bottles allow the ability to leverage a unique shape and incorporate your branding into the actual glass and providing a visual icon that can encapsulate your brand and accentuate your package design.
Custom bottles are a powerful anti-counterfeiting measure. The high cost of development, difficulty in replication and hurdles in inventory provide strong barriers to counterfeiters vs. stock glass that is much more easily accessible.
A custom bottle allows the opportunity to create a bottle that can highlight your product, accentuate its unique attributes, and account for production parameters to ensure your bottle will run smoothly during bottling.
What are the Drawbacks of a Custom Bottle?
To maximize a custom bottle, the structure should be designed with the overall packaging in mind. Custom bottles require in-depth coordination between the glass supplier, your designer and production team. Be sure to allocate enough time for modifications to drawings during development, models and production samples.
Custom bottles are exactly that – custom made - so glass manufacturers will need ample time to perfect, test and produce them before key delivery deadlines. Most glass manufacturers have minimum orders that may require you to store glass beyond your current or immediate needs. Last minute orders will be difficult, if not impossible and because of that many alcohol beverage companies that utilize custom glass choose to warehouse a stock of bottles to avoid gaps during bottling.
Prices for a custom bottle range greatly depends on where the production is taking place and the complexity of the bottle. You should not forget to allocate funds for the design, Lucite models, unit samples, final production, delivery and storage of back stock of bottles.
What are the Alternatives to a Custom Bottle?
A less expensive way to achieve a custom look without long lead times is to choose a stock bottle mold, but add a custom cartouche into the mold to make it more proprietary. This is typically a more economical and quicker option, but keep in mind, the overall bottle shape is that of a “stock” bottle and customization is limited to adding a logo or graphic into the bottle, not a change in shape.
Despite the obstacles, custom glass bottles are not insurmountable as long as the proper time and financial resources are allocated to achieve success.
For the typical Craft Distillery however, it would be best to buy a standard design from a supplier offering a wide range (as long as it is a design which will remain in production for the foreseeable future). The local range available from Consol is, however, limited. Most Craft Distillers will therefore need to turn to foreign sources, like Bruni Glass in Italy, or some of the new suppliers in China.
Originally the products available from Chinese suppliers were not of great quality, and they had limited design options available, but they have greatly improved in both areas. There are still some inherent risks in dealing with Chinese suppliers from time to time, but as a rule these dealings go quite smoothly.
For more information regarding packaging and bottling, please read our Article on Increasing the Perceived Value of your Product.
Always take pride in your products and its presentation, and Keep on Distilling!