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Red Setter Selects - Drinks Brands

Vicky Stoakes

Communications Director

Red Setter Selects – Drinks Brands

We have a soft spot for drinks branding at Red Setter. Soft drinks, alcoholic, seltzers, spritzers, caffeinated - so many brilliant opportunities for beautiful, bold, quirky and clever brand design. You’ve got the front, back, neck, and the closure offering perfect spaces for design you can really, really appreciate as a consumer.

As part of our ‘Red Setter Selects’ series we asked our team to share the drinks brands that come to mind when we ask them ‘which drinks brands do you love?’.

What’s yours?

Charlotte – Orangina

“As soon as I see the little bulb-shaped bottle it makes me think of childhood summer holidays, sitting under stripy parasols, and visiting the tearoom at C&H fabrics with my Grandma. A real treat.

“The orange peel and bubbles in the logo really reflect the drink itself, it feels more like sparkling juice than a sugary soft drink. For me, the bottle is as much as part of the branding as the blue and orange logo, which has been modernised over the years but unnoticeably, and I would argue that alongside Coca-Cola, it’s probably the only other drink that has an iconic and distinctive bottle shape.”

Carrie – WKD Blue

“WKD Blue certainly isn’t a premium brand and it’s not one I’d necessarily have pride of place in my drinks cabinet (I don’t actually have a drinks cabinet).

“That being said, the fluorescent turquoise liquid is instantly recognisable and certainly stands out on shelf. It brings such a sense of nostalgia and makes me think of fun, youth, and admittedly a few bright blue vomiting incidents (sorry to be gross). I don’t actually know what flavour it’s supposed to be, it’s just ‘blue’. Pretty impressive how much one colour can mean – a brand, a flavour, a memory.

“It's a little fancier now than it was in the early 2000s, with a yellow bottlecap and more rounded typeface on a crisp white background. Before the logo was a darker shade of – you guessed it – blue. But it’s still fuss-free, and just as bright.

“It’s not sophisticated, not particularly pretty and arguably doesn’t taste very nice but somehow it still holds a place in my heart.”

Beth – Minor Figures

“I first discovered Minor Figures when I ran into WHSmith’s before catching a train and was sold by the pastel gradient of cans and ‘Penelope’, the girl casually wearing a duck costume who’s the brand’s mascot. Kind of random but I’m here for it.

“What I love about the branding is how it rebels against the ‘rise and grind’ hustle culture that so many coffee brands try to enforce. Instead, it’s all about being humble, slowing down and just enjoying life – it’s the ‘anti-hero’ if you like, not trying to be more than it is. Each of the characters can be seen taking pleasure in the mundane – whether it’s reading a book, tinkering on the piano, blowing bubbles. Refreshing, much like the drink inside.

“You can see they know their audience and how to tap into them – offering merch with all of the various characters and starting MFFM, their new radio station, which puts on fun events around London. They’ve made it about more than just the drinks, it’s the lifestyle. You can tell it’s created by a group of friends who just really love coffee and the culture around it.

“PS. I think Penelope would make a great tattoo and I can’t lie I’m quite tempted… is it lame to get an oat milk tattoo?”

Anna McKie – Lind & Lime

“Lind & Lime is a very small, Scottish brand, their tagline is “we do one thing and we do it well” and they’re absolutely right. This gin is delicious - just the right hint of lime - and the bottle is beautiful. I first tried it years ago at a hotel in a remote part of Scotland, just as the country’s gin scene was exploding. The slim neck immediately set it apart from most other gin brands, and the curves and colour have always reminded me of the sea. Reading the project notes from its branding agency, Contagious, proves I’m right: it is “an oceanic tint” and the design has been inspired by the Port of Leith and the life of Royal Navy surgeon Dr.James Lind.

“I’m such a fan of the bottle, I have repurposed one as a vase. It combines my love of Scotland and gin - and my fascination with the bottles it comes in. When I was a teenager, I thought the blue Bombay Sapphire gin bottle was the height of sophistication and couldn’t wait to be grown up enough to buy my own.”

Gemma – Tread Softly

“I’m totally in awe of the drinks brand Tread Softly and the work that Denomination has done to communicate its sustainable brand ethos and create stand-out in a busy category where lots of brands are greenwashing. Created as a ‘next generation of wine for the next generation of drinker’, the brand initially launched as a range of lower alcohol wines that taste good while having minimal environmental impact.

“The Tread Softly name cleverly evokes a sense of eco-awareness but also the lighter wine styles and I love the way Denomination has been so brave with the branding, keeping it so discreet to encourage you to lean in and learn more. The back label is so dramatically different, showcasing sensual images of flora and fauna that signify the wine’s sophisticated flavour profiles.

"Off the back of the strong brand they developed, Denomination has helped Tread Softly to diversify into gin with a clear glass bottle that allows the flora and fauna to shine through. I’d love to get one of these just to keep the bottle afterwards!"

Sarah – Ocean Bomb – Pokémon

“I’m in no way shape or form a Pokémon fan, and I’m very uncool for suggesting this brand, but the Japanese drinks company Ocean Bomb use character’s on their designs and I’m into it!

“They’re just a great example of a soda company that’s tapped into the soft drinks cans as art collectibles vibe, just like the craft beer boom has done. The flavours are delicious and a little different (white grape, plum, etc), and the branding and overall aesthetic mean these have a slight premium quality – they go for more on ebay! I’m not a massive drinker, so I appreciate some soft drink options that feel like a real treat.”

Claire – Tanqueray Ten

“Tanqueray Ten is one of the most successful spirit brands ever created.

“It not only looks beautiful on a drinks shelf, but also is a huge business success. It was created in the year 2000 at a time where the gin market was stagnant. Diageo wanted a gin that would appeal to vodka drinkers. It needed to be as fresh as vodka but with a great taste. It was one of the first gins to be made with fresh rather than dried botanicals.

“It revived the gin category and started what today is the best-selling white spirit worldwide (although this is about to be overtaken by agave based spirits – tequila and mescal!).”

Vicky – Campari

“Campari always has a place on my shelf. Perfect as part of a Negroni, and lovely as a light aperitif with soda. The spicy flavour with a slice of orange feels like summer. But even better are the design credentials. The Campari logo is beautifully iconic. The bottle with the striking red liquid shines bright both as a full-size bottle and the cute ‘pyramid’ ready mixed bottles you see in Italian bars and cafes.

“A sons of the original founder took over the brand in 1892 and went to town with the brand – tapping into the cultural landscape and getting contemporary artists and designers to create posters to promote the drink (which appeared as a stand-alone exhibition in London a few years ago).

“The brand continues to partner with artists and last year produced a limited-edition free print rolled into a tube with a bottle of Campari. Yes I framed it. It’s always apertivo time! Any brand that takes design this seriously and remains true to its routes should be admired.”

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