Responses by CF Napa
Background: Frigate Reserve Rum came to CF Napa to create the branding for its distillery and line of sophisticated aged rums named after the iconic frigate, a seafaring bird. The frigate symbolizes good fortune and exploring the unknown—two tenets at the heart of the brand. The target audience is the male adventurer—someone who is intelligent, hardworking and humble about his achievements.
Reasoning: The design needed to support the exceptional, yet accessible quality of this Panama rum. To complement the brand’s unique offering, we designed a custom bottle inspired by the ancient, hand-blown glass bottle the client found washed up on a beach. The weathered labels leverage subtle color coding for each bottle of rum aged 8–21 years. Each bottle has a cast metal coin inspired by Bahamian currency pressed into its shoulder. The coin is embossed with an illustration of a sugarcane plant—an ode to the origin of the rum—and the brand’s tagline, “Life on the Wing.”
Challenges: Creating the custom bottle. We modeled it after a bottle from the late 1600s. Essentially, designing a perfect bottle “imperfectly” was something we’d never done before. If you look straight down from the top of the bottle, you will see that the neck is not on center and the whole bottle has a handmade look and texture.
Favorite details: The bottle itself. It looks and feels historic, yet contemporary. The cartouche with the inset metal coin and the wooden T-top closure tie the whole look together. These details elevate the design and create a special, proprietary package.
Visual influences: The design was inspired by a historic circa 1600s rum bottle that the client found on a beach. The color system was inspired by the vibrant, yet sun-bleached colors of the Bahamas.
Specific demands: Using modern manufacturing processes to reproduce an antique, handmade bottle was a unique and difficult challenge. The project required us to design a bottle that was purposefully imperfect. We had to create quirks in the design that looked intentional, but still felt authentic and hand crafted. The surface of the bottle needed to have a wobble to is, yet flatten out where we needed to apply the labels.