Malahat Spirits Launch by Leveraging Labels from Labeltronix


Malahat Spirits Co. is a San Diego distillery founded in 2012 by three friends who handcraft rum and whiskey in a way that combines the innovation of the 21st century with the tradition of the 20th. To convey their brand’s “spirited” roots, the partners chose the Malahat, a five-masted schooner that was “The Queen of Rum Row” on the California Coast during Prohibition. To find out more about Malahat Spirits, check them out at


For their new brand, the Malahat founders have concentrated on quality in everything they do, from custom-designed copper pot still for distilling their spirits, to the embossed bottles into which they pour their distinctive rums. Their challenge was finding a quality label to match the quality of the product the team worked so carefully to achieve, said Antonio Grillo, one of the co-founders.


Malahat and its design team began by visiting Labeltronix in search of a worthy label for their premiere crafted product. The Labeltronix experts suggested a variety of possible label materials. Once one was chosen, the real work began. To show off their products’ unique qualities, the team chose a variety of embellishments and details to the label, including:

• Embossing
• UV spot varnishing
• A unique 3-part die, including a necker label that goes over the cork top
• Utilizing Arctic Shield Bright White Felt material to have the look and feel of an unfinished texture
• Space to add the distiller’s name, bottle number, and batch number

“These embellishments highlighted our craftsmanship in making the rum,” Grillo said.


“Everybody loves our label,” said Grillo. In keeping with the high-end, personalized crafting of the rums, Malahat’s labels are hand-applied. The first distribution is through Young’s Market in 10 Western states. The customers, retailers, and on-premise customers are reacting well to the labels. “They love the actual look and feel, seeing the detail, the spot varnishes, the gloss finishes. It’s a really nice, complex label that fits our product exactly the way it should,” said Grillo.

Grillo and his partners Ken Lee and Tom Bleakley personally sign every label. “We are proud to have a brand that reflect our personalities, our character, and our integrity,” he said.

A spiced rum, from one of their first batches, earned a gold in the 2014 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. For Malahat brands, it certainly seems like the start of something big.



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California-based Private Equity Firm, Diversis, Becomes Majority Owner of BLUE

SGK, formerly marketed as Schawk, Inc., a leading global brand development, activation and deployment provider that drives brand performance, announced today that it has closed on a transaction that creates a strategic private equity partnership with California-based private equity firm, Diversis.

The terms of the transaction make Diversis, the majority owner of BLUE, SGK’s enterprise-level software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform and SGK, a partner with a minority interest. The minority interest ensures that SGK will have an active voice in the future development of the product.

BLUE operated within the marketing eco-system to help global CPG, Retail and Life Sciences companies accelerate brand performance by delivering visibility, transparency and insight into the business processes that drive the execution and management of brands efficiently across media worldwide. BLUE enables brand owners in highly regulated industries to adhere and adapt to FDA, EMEA and other government regulations regarding audits, system validations, audit traits, electronic signatures and documentation.

David Schawk, president SGK, Division of Matthews International Corporation said “I am confident that our strategic partnership with Diversis will deliver greater value to those of our clients who use BLUE to accelerate the performance of their brands. This partnership will allow SGK to focus on its core capabilities while drawing on new resources that are focused exclusively on technology to elevate our client’s experience with BLUE.”

Scott Strong, former senior vice president, global managing director, Schawk Digital Solutions, part of of SGK and now chief executive officer of Blue Software Holdings, “I am excited to lead BLUE into the future as part of Blue Software, a new independent software company.” Added Strong, “Our singular focus is BLUE and we are committed to accelerating the development of the product on an ongoing basis. We look forward to the opportunity to provide even greater value to SGK’s current clients and to continue leveraging the insights of SGK business leaders into the ever evolving workflow needs of global corporations.”

Stephen Kaufman, chief technology officer, SGK, and the original creator of the product that evolved into BLUE said, “All successful ventures undergo evolutions and I see Diversis’ interest in BLUE as strong validation of Schawk’s 15-year strategy to provide a complete graphic lifecycle platform as a free standing offering. The new partnership will nourish and extend the platform as a gold standard for packaging supply chain and brand process optimization.”

SGK is a leading global brand development, activation and deployment provider that drives brand performance. By creating brands, helping sell brands, producing brand assets and protecting brand equities, we help our clients achieve higher brand performance. SGK’s global footprint spans more than 20 countries. SGK was formerly marketed as Schawk, Inc. and is part of Matthews International Corporation. For more information visit:


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ButterflyCannon create festive gift carton for Glenmorangie Original

Gilchrist & Soames Talks Package Innovation for Premium Brands

As part of the next installment of our multimedia series – Package Design Matters – we spoke on site with Roys Laux, vice president of marketing at Gilchrist & Soames, and Josh Kirschbaum, chief operating officer of the company, at the premium personal care brand’s U.S. headquarters. We discuss package innovation for premium brands; how package design extends overall branding for the consumer packaged goods company and for its customers, whether they are retailers or hoteliers; and the impact of female leadership on the creative environment.

Berlin Packaging Wins 3rd WorldStar Award for Innovative Floor Cleaner Package

Unique ‘Squeeze & Measure’ Bottle for The Libman Company Honored in Global Competition

Berlin Packaging, a leading full-service supplier of plastic, glass, and metal containers and closures, announced today that its custom package for The Libman Company’s Freedom! Hardwood Floor Cleaner has been honored with a 2015 WorldStar Packaging Award. The squeeze-activated bottle with a patented pre-measured dosing mechanism was one of only 21 U.S. packages and 148 worldwide to earn the commendation, which recognizes the best packaging from around the globe.

The award marks Berlin Packaging’s third appearance on the prestigious WorldStar list in four years. The company was previously honored for its frog-shaped Pampers Kandoo hand soap package, designed for easy do-it-yourself dispensing by children, and for its work on Mission Athletecare’s Court Grip shoe traction product, featuring an extreme 45-degree neck architecture for athletes’ fast, one-handed application to sneaker soles during games.

The Libman project previously won a Gold Award in the 2014 National Association of Container Distributors (NACD) packaging competition in the U.S. It was created by Berlin Packaging’s Studio One Eleven innovation division with all components sourced and supplied by Berlin Packaging.

“The challenge in this project was to allow consumers to consistently and accurately meter a one-fluid-ounce dose of Libman Freedom! Concentrate and transfer it to Libman’s spray mop without spillage,” said Scott Jost, Berlin Packaging’s Vice President of Innovation and Design. “Awards from the NACD and now the World Packaging Organisation recognize our success in not only meeting that challenge, but in helping Libman deliver category-busting innovation in the household cleaning space.”

Berlin’s dosing package design features a translucent bowl-shaped measuring chamber that screws onto a squeezable PET bottle via a standard threaded finish. When users squeeze the bottle, they can watch as the dosing chamber fills and as excess product returns to the bottle to avoid over-dispensing. When the proper one-ounce dose is ready, users flip the cap open (where it stays due to a ‘lock back’ tab) and pour the concentrate into the Freedom mop reservoir for dilution with water.

The patented system eliminates an eight-pump process that would have been required with stock high-output pumps and the need for a removable dosing cap that could easily be lost. The bottle requires no custom preforms or fitments because the dosing system utilizes a standard neck finish, dramatically reducing total package costs. In addition, because the ‘stick goods’ planogram typically lacks shelves, the Studio design team integrated a hook into the dispensing closure to enable the bottle to be hung and merchandised alongside other Libman products.

The 2015 WorldStar winners were announced this month. Winners will be formally honored at a ceremony in Milan, Italy, in May 2015.

About Berlin Packaging

Berlin Packaging is North America’s only Hybrid Packaging Supplier of plastic, glass, and metal containers and closures. See and for more on how the company exists to help people and companies excel. With over 33,000 available SKUs, over 120 packaging consultants, and more than 90 sales and warehouse locations across North America, the company has the right products, expertise, and geographic proximity to help customers increase their net income through packaging products and services. Berlin Packaging supplies billions of containers and closures annually as well as warehousing and logistics services for customers of all sizes in all industries. It is the only company in its sector to be ISO 9001 certified, to have Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) certification, and to achieve 99% on-time delivery of its shipments every month for 10 years. Related services and specialty product divisions include Studio One Eleven custom packaging and graphic design, Berlin Global sourcing solutions, E3 profit-oriented consulting, Berlin Financial financing for equipment and capital improvements, Dangerous Goods transport, Freund Container & Supply convenience, and Qorpak laboratory supplies. The company can be reached at 1.800.2.BERLIN,, and on LinkedIn and Twitter



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Clean, contemporary concept takes the win for the 2015 Makeover Challenge

Receiving accolades such as “simply perfect” for its redesign concept of Kelley Quan New York’s packaging, Envision Creative Group won the 2014 Makeover Challenge, a competition sponsored by FiberMark America. The agency was one of four competing design teams that developed
category-changing concepts for professional makeup brushes, which are often housed in clear plastic sleeves. Each of the concepts aimed to deliver a strong retail presence, without leaving sustainability concerns behind.

All four competitors, Base Beauty Creative Agency, Envision Creative Group, Spring Design Partners and Zunda Group, could be implemented at retail to command attention for this socially-minded brand in a variety of retail environments—from high-end retailers with assisted sales to self-service environments such as Sephora. (Learn more about all four concepts in the August issue of Package Design.)

 Quan, a high-demand professional makeup artist, started making her own brushes when she found out about some of the practices used to create the high-end brushes so essential for her job.  “Animals are either brutally stripped of their pelts or maimed without regard while being sheared, especially in countries where animal welfare regulations are either lax or nonexistent,” Quan explains.

Kelley Quan New York, Quan’s business, now sells two lines of makeup brushes that measure up to her personal ethical guidelines and precise standards, and which are ethically manufactured in a family-run factory right here in the U.S. 


Envision Creative Group’s redesign concept resonated with the marketing, branding, design and packaging experts in the package design community, who casted the most votes for its concept at this year’s Pack Expo International.

“The design is simplistic and elegant, while the wood base manages to make it feel special,” says Justin Sena, senior graphic designer of McHale Design, while casting his vote. Other voters echoed Sena’s sentiments, noting that the design was clean, streamlined and contemporary, choosing Envision Creative Group’s concept over more complex designs that offered more flexibility in their kit creation. A one-liner from an online voter perfectly encapsulated many of the voters’ support of the design: “Simple elegance will always be in style.”

While voters often used the word, “simple,” to describe Envision Creative Group’s gift-set and single-brush package concepts, they didn’t consider the design to be simplistic as a branding tool—noting that the packaging instantly communicates the essence of Kelley Quan New York’s brand message. Many remarked that replicating natural materials, such as the wooden base used for the prototype, might not be a literal translation of the brand message for a line of synthetic brushes, but it fits the inspiration behind the brand. Voters appreciated an “attention to overall communication that was clever and thoughtful” and a design that’s “creative and consistent with product value statements.”

Many voters’ comments revealed their attention to the stories behind the concepts, recognizing that Envision Creative Group also recommended replicating the wood base in easy-to-clean, heavyweight plastic for hygienic and cost reasons.

Liz Hocutt, a packaging developer at General Mills, noted that the final package could end up resembling marble versus wood, which would be line with the socially-minded ethos of the brand, while simultaneously communicating high-end luxury. Voters found Envision’s prototypes to be beautifully designed representations of what Kelley Quan New York ultimately delivers to its customers.


The winning concept resonated with voters for its practical attributes. Voters remarked that the creamy neutrals used in the box top and the base was a cooling counterpoint to the Kelley Quan New York pink, encouraging consumers to keep and display the packaging because it “works with any décor” yet “is recognizable as the Kelley Quan brand.” Some noted that the gift set could take up a considerable amount of counter space in a bathroom, but that was worth the sacrifice because the widely spaced slots gave users easy access to the brushes.

Other reactions were more emotional, with one voter stating that she was “obsessed with the wax seal and base” and another expressing she “wanted to buy one now!”  In-person voters remarked over and over again how much they loved to touch the prototype packaging, while eagerly describing how the different materials help the concept stand out as a product of quality and style. They noted how the textures of the ribbon, seal, coated paper top and wooden base piqued their curiosity of how the brushes would feel on their skin and made them want to learn more about the Kelley Quan New York brand and its products.


Stephanie Silver, vice president and project manager of Envision Creative Group, attributes the brand’s innovative edge to the clean-sheet approach the agency takes to its projects.

“We obviously bring our experience, but we don’t try to lean too much on what works for one client will work for this client,” she says. “We try to figuratively throw open the drapes and look at each new project with fresh eyes.”

Silver attributes this open and empty canvas idea to Envision Creative Group’s creative approach when every aspect needs to be recreated.

This is in contrast to a “standard playbook” that other agencies may use to maximize efficiencies, adds David Smith, president of Envision Creative Group.  “Approaching every project fresh and from a completely new vantage point is a lot more work, actually, as we don’t have any repurposing or pooling of concepts that we’ve done before,” he concedes. “But a one-off, every time, custom design meets our goal for our clients, to position them to make the biggest impact on their target audience.”

Smith and Silver also attributes the Envision concept’s success to the design strengths of graphic designer and illustrator Nicole Conlay and the feedback of all 11 team members at Envision. “Other people in the office, who were directly assigned to this project,  were involved in providing feedback and opinions,” Smith says. “Everyone including people in sales had a say, but ultimately it came down to Nicole’s initial, strong design vision.

Smith also took the opportunity to correct a misconception that I had about the prototype base. I previously had thought the design was created by a local artist. “I think what’s important to know is he didn’t design it,” Smith clarifies. “We did the design, and he basically carried out the execution. The design solely came from Nicole in terms of how that was going to function and work.”

This is just one of Conlay’s many strengths, Smith and Silver add. “Nicole has a great strength in and passion for the tactile experience,” Silver says. “That plays a huge role into package design especially.” In a humble voice, Conlay responds, “When it comes to packaging texture, it is really important to me. I think being able to feel and touch something, it takes the experience to a whole new level.”


Silver notes that inclusion of the FiberMark LaCrema Ivory paper in the box top is one of the many reasons why shoppers will start thinking about the use experience upon first interaction with the package. “The coating feels like a soft cheek,” she notes.

She also credits Conlay for her insistence on a prototype that could sell the brand message through touch. “Nicole was fearless in saying, ‘If we’re going to do this, we’d should do it right. She told FiberMark, ‘Your materials are awesome and could help make this product what it needs to be.’ Yes, we had alternatives for creating stuff in house. But utilizing the vendors’ expertise along with ours really did help gave it like the texture that it needed.”

Conlay adds, “Wes Ryon of Eyeon Finishing and the contest sponsor [FiberMark North America Inc.] were just awesome to me. FiberMark did more than provide the Ivory paper. It even PMS matched Kelley Quan’s pink for the inside of the top of the box. Then Eyeon Finishing wrapped all of the boxes flawlessly in that nice soft-touch paper.”


Upon learning the contest’s results, Quan expressed how impressed she was with the winning team and how Envision Creative Group embodied the characteristics of her makeup brushes into the concept of the package design. “The voters’ response to Envision’s design clearly tells me that it’s a winner,” Quan continues. “People want it, they find it sexy, and they put together the aesthetic and tactile connection between the brushes and the packaging. It was my goal to have a design that would make shoppers covet both the product and the package.”

At time of publication, she was in talks with Envision to bring the concept to final fruition. “People who have been following my brand for the last five years have shared with me feedback that the Envision concept is a really great design, but they thought there’s an opportunity to improve its branding potential,” she says. “When a user takes the top part of the box away, there’s no branding whatsoever on the stand. There’s no logo or brand color. There’s no definitive Kelley Quan mark on that stand. That is one thing that I would need to implement someway, somewhere on the stand, somehow.”

Quan is also concerned that many of the photos taken for online voting showcased the single brush box with the less expensive white brush. She wants to make sure online the black-handled brushes look just as good as the white in the packaging. Neither of these concerns have dampened her enthusiasm to continue working with Envision, though. “We are two brands that belong together,” Quan says. “They are a smaller American agency, and I’m the little engine that could.” 

Package Design thanks FiberMark North America Inc., a world-class manufacturer and global distributor of fiber-based decorative covering materials and dyed-through paperboards. The company forms a rich tapestry of inspired top-of-the-line products for luxury packaging and upscale collateral helping premier brands stand out more distinctively.


Metsä Board Wins Environmentally Friendly Printing Award


Metsä Board has won the Championship for Environmentally Friendly Printing in the Hong Kong Print Awards 2014 for its Metsä Skincare box set, designed with sustainability in mind. The glueless rigid box demonstrates how innovative packaging for the cosmetic market can be made using 100% recyclable paperboard, avoiding plastic wrapping, while the inner cartons provide a unique user experience. The set was printed by Shenzhen Inpa Packaging Co. Ltd.

By using no glue in construction of the rigid box, drying time is eliminated and speeds up the manufacturing process. A PET window is inserted in the lid, but can be easily removed before recycling. Corners look sharp and precise, and there are no excessive layers of paperboard. If extra security is required, the lid can be spot glued to the base, which cuts out the need for extra plastic wrap common in this market.

Commenting on the product packaging inside the set, Cyril Drouet, Design & Innovation Director of Shanghai-based Metsä Board Packaging Services, says: “We wanted the consumer to experience a new way to open the package and reveal the content. The structural designs reduce the amount of corrugated insert found in traditional cosmetics packaging by 50%, whilst providing a sturdy and smart solution. Metsä Board has a strong reputation for producing sustainable fresh fibre paperboards, and we believe packaging produced with our boards should provide the same benefits.”

Now in its 26th year, the Hong Kong Print Awards are run by the Graphic Arts Association of Hong Kong and open to designers, printers, publishers and related industries. Awards were presented at a ceremony in Hong Kong on 8th December 2015.

Metsä Board Packaging Services (formerly IBP Integrated Brand Packaging) is dedicated to enhancing global brand value and success by delivering sustainable, secure and innovative packaging solutions. Metsä Board Packaging Services can provide everything from coordination of the initial brief, through research, testing, and both structural and graphical design.


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Menasha Packaging Wins Awards at 2014 North American Paperboard Packaging Competition

Winning Carton Designs Help Customers Go Beyond Store Shelves

Menasha Packaging won two awards in the 2014 North American Paperboard Packaging Competition organized by the Paperboard Packaging Council.

Menasha received an excellence award in the carton competition’s Innovation category for its TIDI Tower™ (for the TIDIShield Grab ‘n Go™ Eye Shield Dispensing System by TIDI Products). Menasha’s unique, patent-pending paperboard solution is designed to make clean, disposable protective eyewear readily available to medical professionals working in a sterile environment.

Menasha also received an excellence award in the General category for its Coppertone Sport Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Special Pack. The carton design incorporates a rigid window that provides shoppers complete and clear visibility to the products contained within, making it easier for them to navigate and select the client’s product along the path to purchase.

“Whether our customers are looking for packaging that stands out on store shelves or makes products readily available in practical use, Menasha goes beyond to deliver creative and effective packaging solutions that help our clients standout from their competition,” said Dennis Bonn, vice president of marketing for Menasha Packaging. “We are honored to be recognized by the Paperboard Packaging Council for our achievements.”

The North American Paperboard Packaging Competition is the premier competition for carton manufacturers involved in the concept, design, print, performance and shelf appeal of paperboard packaging. Awards were presented during the Paperboard Packaging Council’s Fall Meeting and Leadership Conference in Atlanta, Ga.

About Menasha Packaging
Celebrating 165 years in business, Menasha Packaging Company, LLC, based in Neenah, Wisconsin, is a subsidiary of Menasha Corporation and has more than 3,100 employees at locations nationwide. Menasha Packaging is a leading provider of graphic consumer packaging, merchandising solutions, corrugated packaging, food packaging, shipping containers, material handling solutions, pack-out and fulfillment services. With a network of design, sales service centers, corrugated and paperboard manufacturing plants, and fulfillment facilities located throughout the United States, the company’s mission is to help its customers protect, move and promote their products better than anyone else. Visit its website at

About Menasha Corporation
Menasha Corporation is a leading corrugated and plastic packaging manufacturer and supply chain solutions provider specializing in retail merchandising packaging and displays, plastic reusable containers and pallets, protective packaging interiors, and packaging supply chain and fulfillment services. Menasha Corporation’s products and services are used by major food, beverage, consumer products, healthcare, pharmaceutical, industrial and automotive companies. Established in 1849, Menasha Corporation is one of America’s oldest privately held, family-owned manufacturing companies. Headquartered in Neenah, Wisconsin, the company employs approximately 4,900 employees in more than 75 facilities in North America, Europe and Asia. For more information, visit



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