By Anna Little, Account Supervisor
It goes without saying that branding and design projects within the adult beverage category are incredibly fun to work on. It is especially fun when the brand you’re creating pushes limits and merges categories. Somewhere between cider and brandy, taste tests and creative reviews, botanicals and illustrations, something great was born. We’re excited for you to see it and we’re excited for you to try it.
When Minneapolis Cider Company came to us and asked us to help them bring their new spirit brand to life, we were excited, yet skeptical. What was a cider company doing messing around with the hard stuff? And brandy nonetheless?! However, our skepticism washed away almost as fast as the product did the first time we tried it. The beverage was delicious and complex, the ask was challenging and the entire service industry had just been turned upside down by COVID-19.
We needed to create an identity that could appeal to and educate customers on a new type of beverage before they were even able to try it.
So what exactly is Pomologie?
In long form, according to the folks at Minneapolis Cider Co., “Pomologie is always brandy, always cider, and always botanicals. But besides that, it can vary.” We went on to learn that apples are made into cider, cider is made into brandy, and brandy is infused with additional fruits and botanicals. And in the end, you have Pomologie.
So it’s brandy, right? Technically it’s fortified wine, but that doesn’t quite give it enough credit. Rose Meadow, Pomologie’s debut flavor, has over ten botanicals that combine to create its sweet yet spicy, fresh yet warm and all around uniquely delicious flavor.
That’s a lot of information to include on a small label.
How do you drink Pomologie?
In short form, however you want. Pomologie was created to exist on its own, as a digestif or aperitif, mixed into your favorite cocktail or enjoyed as a seltzer.
The complex flavor profile adapts to what it is (or isn’t) mixed with and allows you to highlight different elements of Pomologie at different times. In a spritz, you taste the bitter herbaceous components, but in a sour, the bright and fruity elements shine through.
Again, a lot of design opportunities but also a lot of information.
After our initial tasting and briefing, we got to work. There was a lot of information to be digested, prioritized and communicated to the world.
At that time the project kicked off, the brand name had not yet been decided and how the beverage would be categorized was still up for debate. The team at Minneapolis Cider Co. placed very few creative constraints on the project. Our creative director, Ian Davies, was excited to have the space to explore a variety of options.
Davies’ main goal was clear from the beginning: create something that looks desirable, is informative and stands out on a liquor store shelf. “I wanted the customer to be able to taste it before they actually tasted it,” Davies said. “Had I not tasted the product before designing it, it would’ve looked completely different.”
Taking a cue from Minneapolis Cider Company’s own branding of “Welcome to Cider,” Pomologie was to be positioned as higher-end, but still approachable. “Minneapolis Cider was already so well established in the cider world and the team there really wanted to create a separate brand for this unique spirit to really welcome people in,” Davies said. “With the label and brand design, we wanted to play up that uniqueness. Creating a bold design to stand out and communicate those botanicals and flavors, while still creating a system that was flexible and extendable for future Pomologie flavors.”
In addition to the main label, we recommended language to compliment the design. During our first presentation, “A Spirited Blend of Real Fruit and Botanicals” was proudly shown on the labels and it’s been a phrase the team at Minneapolis Cider has been using since. Furthermore, we recommended creating a hang tag to help the customer understand how to use the product and to buy us extra space for information.
So how is it going?
Pomologie officially launched in July and according to Minneapolis Cider Co., things are going as well as they could be for a product launched during a global pandemic. Taproom visitors are curious when they see a cocktail coming out from behind the bar and are even more excited when they learn it has a sister seltzer available on tap as well.
Since launching, the Rose Meadow seltzer has graced the end caps of Total Wines and the bottles are proudly displayed for purchase in the Minneapolis Cider Company taproom. Customers who are initially skeptical about apple brandy seem to be pleasantly surprised by Pomologie’s unique flavor profile and have consistently sought the product out since it launched. The team at Minneapolis Cider is excited to see how the product will sell throughout the winter and are confident that the herbaceous notes will help to position it as a yearlong favorite.
Fortunately for all of us, this is just the beginning of Pomologie. There will be new flavors rolling out very soon, canned cocktails, and perhaps even a way to order Pomologie directly to your home. For now, Pomologie is available at the Minneapolis Cider Company taproom and select Minneapolis liquor stores.