Thursday, February 19, 2015

Old Glory Distillery

It's finally time to talk about a project that's been in the works for over a year. Fine spirits take a while to craft and to age, so while he’s been waiting, our client Matt Cunningham has engaged us to create his brand identity. Even before he broke ground on his Clarksville, TN distillery, Matt asked us to design a logo, brand identity, and packaging for the distilled spirit products he planned to launch.

In the future, Old Glory will primarily be a Tennessee Whiskey and Bourbon producer. But those product releases are several years down the road… at least 4.  Matt goes on to explain that 80% of Old Glory spirits will be put in barrels to age. We won’t have to wait quite as long for the White Hat Whiskey—he’ll be speed-aging some of that in smaller barrels so he can release it after about 2 years.

Not willing to gamble the next four years away just hoping for the best, our client has tapped the talents of industry veteran Dave Scheurich.  With over 40 years of experience in the production of distilled spirits, Scheurich’s resume includes stints at Seagram’s, Wild Turkey, and Woodford Reserve.

So how did we go about creating the Old Glory brand identity? We started with the American flag, or Old Glory, which symbolizes hardiness and valor, purity and innocence and vigilance, perseverance and justice. It is all-American. So red, white and blue were foundational colors. We wanted to create a logo hat conveyed the classic American stars and stripes as well as a Southern gentleman’s nod to the Tennessee state flag. With so many famous and up-and-coming distilleries in our home state, Old Glory needed to stand out. Our client wanted to do this by taking pride in TN roots—especially an association with the local Fort Campbell military base, home to the Screaming Eagles. So we created a branding scheme that plays up eagles, stars and stripes, and vintage American glory.

We started by helping our client choose bottles that would be appropriate for each different product. The whiskey bottle needed to look different than the Gin, Rum, Vodka or Moonshine bottles while still keeping a family look. We selected a line of sturdy, heroic glassware with classic wooden stopper tops.

The first label design we tackled was for White Hat Whiskey.  The name symbolizes the kind of character you find in a classic hero, or in a quality handcrafted whiskey. This one would set the tone for the rest of the spirits and so we explored many different looks before we settled on a hand-rendered style. Staff artist Aaron Johnson created some beautiful, vintage hand-lettering. Then he added lots of intricate scrolling and line art to achieve a historic feel.

The label evolved over time as the product changed from a white whiskey to a dark whiskey. The idea to have the flag as a backdrop showing through the bottle was one we all liked, but unfortunately federal laws prohibit using the American flag on liquor. We could however, use the stars and stripes in a way that is reminiscent of the Old Glory without actually using it.


Jumper's Stash is a white rum that pays tribute to the 101st Airborne Division located in Old Glory's hometown Clarksville. 

Smoothshine is a wheat based moonshine, and it tastes smoother than a traditional corn and sugar based moonshine. We wanted a look that referenced the lore of the good old Appalachian distillers, but without going into the missing teeth and overalls stereotypes. 

Old Glory Tennessee Vodka was designed with a slightly different market in mind. While the other spirits are designed to have an artisan crafted feel, our client wanted to tap into the clean and elegant styles of the high-end Vodka scene. 

The distillery is under construction. The products are not yet in production, but the branding, labeling and corporate identity are set.

Now, that's the face of a happy client! Matt Cunningham recently unveiled his new business to the community, showcasing his products and architectural drawings for his distillery that is currently under construction. 

Logo and package designer: Aaron Johnson
Creative director: Joel Anderson

Monday, February 2, 2015

Wall Decor for Harley-Davidson

We have relationships with some pretty cool companies. One of them is Meissenburg Designs in Montana. They produce amazing wood and metal signs, often featuring art they license from us. Recently, they became Harley Davidson’s 88th licensee, charged with producing a series of officially-licensed wall art. Last Fall, our pals from Meissenburg gave us a quick assignment—come up with as many Harley-Davidson designs as possible in just a few weeks. The new art would be turned into cool wall decor products at an upcoming Harley dealership show. We revved up our engines and started creating. Team Meissenburg created several designs using HD logos and brand marks. Inspired by the manta Live Free, Ride Hard , we created another batch of designs with eagles, skulls, fire, and other classic biker icons that represent fierce independence and the all-American spirit of adventure. 

Since time was short, we had to find ready-made stock art for the skulls. (We prefer to render everything from scratch, but the clock was ticking!) Once we had assembled a cool assortment of bad-to-the-bone art elements, we hammered out several designs which the Harley folks loved (and quickly approved.) Meissenburg did an awesome job of formatting our designs to fit on round and rectangle wood signs as well as metal box signs.

Check out Meissenburg Design’s site. Everything they create is made in the USA. Lots of their products can be customized to feature your own wording!

After having so much fun working on this project, ADG founder Joel Anderson now applies this Harley motto to all of our design work: Ride Hard or Stay Home. We will be starting on a new batch of designs which should be ready in the summer. Peace out.