Long-time client, Humboldt Distillery, came to us with a desire to create a Cannabis-infused vodka that would be a quality tribute to Northern California’s Emerald Triangle. The product would not feature any of the THC found in marijuana, instead it’s a product made with locally grown hemp that’s a subtle nod to the region’s pot-growing tradition.
And that subtle nod had to remain subtle. Aside from the usual built-in labeling law limitations that go along with packaging alcohol, federal labeling laws strongly prohibit referencing, or depicting anything related to illegal drugs on alcohol packaging. So, in this case, it meant no pot plants, leaves, reefers, blunts, pipes or bongs — nothing fun.
The challenge of evoking the essence of the local cannabis culture without any of the typical visual cues led us to go for a subtle hemp burlap sack texture in the background and a cluster of vegetation that “kind of” looked like marijuana plants. The first label version was rejected for stating “Cannabis Vodka” on the brand banner (a completely accurate description for the product), leading us to use “Humboldt’s Finest” on the front label – a reference for those in the know.
This label is digitally printed on Neenah Packaging’s Estate Label #8 uncoated, pressure sensitive, substrate. It features a multi-level emboss. The first level is the hemp bag background texture; the second is our custom botanical & banner illustration.
The final package is one that delivers the needed cues and Emerald Triangle spirit, yet still delivers a package that appeals to a wider audience.