When Rifino Valentine set out to start Valentine Distilling Co. he wanted to reestablish the ideal that Detroit was built upon: American Craftsmanship. An ideal that hard work, ingenuity, and doing things the old-fashioned way are necessary ingredients for success, and for producing products of the highest quality. As a fledgling distillery, the project offered a unique challenge: Valentine Distilling Co. needed a refined branding solution that would be scalable, and versatile enough to work with new products and offerings as the company grew and expanded their product line.
Detroit’s legacy as the symbol for American grit and ingenuity had to play a crucial role in the redesign strategy. The “Pin-up Girl” artwork, a direct nod to WWII-era Detroit manufacturing and the industrious personality of the Valentine brand, was an important equity element that had to be maintained but refined. The logo was redesigned to fit more compactly on the bottle and the iconography of the pin-up girl was completely overhauled along with the packaging hierarchy to elevate shelf-impact and brand recognition. The resulting package design not only provides a system that can be easily extended across SKUs but also a solution that is less expensive to produce, keeping cost of goods in check. Additionally, CF Napa sourced a nearly identical bottle that was less expensive, and a vendor that could silk-screen the complete artwork onto the bottle, eliminating the need for a hand-applied label altogether.
A couple years later, Valentine charged CF Napa with designing its new Gin and Bourbon product offerings. Valentine wanted to leverage the Detroit link even further by highlighting the fanciful names: Liberator, named after the famous B-24 bomber produced by Ford Motor Company, and Woodward, named after Woodward Avenue, or “Detroit’s Main Street”. For the custom glass design, we drew our design inspiration from the shape of a standard issue, WWII-era Army canteen. To give the package texture, a cartouche of the logo dawns the glass bottle above the printed label and on the side label, Rifino’s signature gives the packaging just the right amount of handcrafted touch. Tying the entire brand family together is our pin-up girl delicately displayed on the label’s background.
Since the redesign project, Valentine Distilling Co. has grown 400% over the last four years and has expanded into national accounts like Costco, Sam’s Club, Kroger, and even internationally into Europe. To keep up with demand, Valentine Distilling Co. opened up a second production facility, making it one of the largest micro-distilleries in the Midwest.
“I have worked with several designers over the years and I couldn’t be more grateful that I found CF Napa. In fact, now they’re the only agency I trust with my brands. Most importantly, CF Napa really became a part of my team, taking extra time to understand my goals and vision for the brand. As the design process progressed, the team worked thoroughly through each revision until we achieved a professional, clean and timeless package. We’ve always had a quality product inside the bottle but now, thanks to working with CF Napa, it really shows on the outside too.”Download Full Case Study
President & Founder
Valentine Distilling Co.