Raff Distillerie, San Francisco’s newest distillery, is located on Treasure Island where it produces high-quality, small-batch spirits. Auston Design Group developed branding for the distillery, and package design for its Bummer & Lazarus Gin and its Emperor Norton Absinthe. Both brands are based on mid to late 1800’s Barbary Coast characters of historical significance. The package designs are meant to reflect the mood of the characters and the era.

Emperor Norton: Norton was a successful San Francisco businessman who, after some bad investments, lost his fortune. A few years later, apparently mentally unbalanced, he proclaimed himself "Emperor of these United States" and "Protector of Mexico". Though he was considered insane, or at least incredibly eccentric, the citizens of San Francisco celebrated his regal presence and his proclamations; most famously, his "order" that the United States Congress be dissolved by force, and his numerous decrees calling for a bridge to span the bay, connecting San Francisco to Oakland. He was treated deferentially in San Francisco, and currency issued in his name was honored in the establishments he frequented. Norton died in 1880. Nearly 30,000 people packed the streets of San Francisco to pay homage to him. Absinthe is a fitting homage to his legacy.

Bummer & Lazarus: Bummer and Lazarus were two stray dogs that roamed the streets of San Francisco in the early 1860s, and were embraced by the city’s citizens. Recognized for their unique bond and their prodigious rat-killing ability, they became a fixture of city newspapers and were exempted from local leash and muzzle laws. This unique Gin package is a nod to an overlooked part of San Francisco history.

Special thanks to Jay Tapp and the crew at Metro Label for masterfully reproducing our designs on their Xeikon 3500 digital printing press. The Digitt finishing system was the icing on the cake with amazing emboss and deboss effects.