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Archive for September, 2009

Functional Packages, Part 2

coyopa

In the last post we showed a bottle that lights up.

This time, we have a functional package that goes a bit further. It lights up and plays music. Thank goodness for this video that captured it in action, before it faded off into oblivion. TTB approved Coyopa Rum back in 2001. At box 17, the approval says:  “Bottle may be equipped to play music (no words or lyrics) … may light up. … ‘Label and package made in China.'” Box 16 mentions that it’s a “distinctive liquor bottle.”

Like a lot of products, it does not seem to have lasted very long. This old, undated article explains:

The idea for Coyopa came to [Sidney] Frank in a dream; a vision of a bottle that played music and was animated. … He hired an engineer to design the electronics for the interactive label, and turned to R.L. Seale, a premier rum producer in Barbados to create the … rum. … “They might think it’s crazy at first, or just a gimmick, but once you get a good look at it, you are mesmerized. My Active Label® is a true breakthrough.”

Perhaps 2001 was a bit too early; the functional packages seem to be rolling out with greater regularity late in the same decade.

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rum


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Functional Packages, Part 1

tyku

Slowly but surely, more “functional packages” are coming to town. I don’t mean packages that serve the function of storing booze, or acting as a paperweight or a vase. I mean packages that do something beyond that; beyond what is traditional; beyond moving the beverage from producer to consumer and making it look good.

Ty-Ku is a simple example. It’s a pretty bottle, and it lights up when lifted. This video shows the bottle in action. In the days to come, we should be able to come up with a few other examples, including some that go a bit further down this road. If you know of others, please let us know.

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liqueur


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Wing Man Beer

wingman

This is a series of about six labels, honoring The Wing Man. About.com defines the species as: “A male who will assist in the courtship or flirtation of another, usually by deflecting or otherwise befriending those in the company of the intended.”

This label, from Skyscraper Brewing of El Monte, California, has some good lines. But Skyscraper was fairly late to the party, getting their first approval in 2008. Coors jumped on this social behavior as far back as 2003, with this TV ad celebrating The (mighty) Wing Man. Before that, the term became popularized from the 1986 movie Top Gun and the 1996 movie Swingers.

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malt beverage


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Spruce Juice

spruceBoth of these beers are brewed with spruce tips. We’ve heard very little about spruce tips and so we wanted to see what this ingredient is all about.

The first example is Alaskan Ale Brewed with Spruce Tips, brewed by Alaskan Brewing Co. in Juneau, Alaska. This is not some newfangled concoction. The label for the second example, Steamworks Spruce Goose Ale, explains that beer with spruce goes all the way back to the Vikings. It says:

Beers brewed with Spruce, and other varieties of Pine, were introduced to Scotland by the Vikings. They would spike beers with fresh Spruce Tips prior to long journeys and before battle. … This, our modern day version, is pin-bright, complex and sprucy with a big mouth feel.

Captain Cook carried “spruce beer” on his voyages because spruce was a good source of vitamin C and helped prevent scurvy. Wiki further explains that “spruce has been a traditional flavoring ingredient throughout the upper latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere where it is found, often substituting for ingredients not otherwise available, such as hops.”

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flavored malt beverage


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Two Products, 24 Flavors

root

Here are two recent spirits products with an unusal and unusually large assembly of flavors. On the following list, the first 13 flavors are on the Root label, and the next 11 are on the Pink Spruce label.

  1. Birch bark
  2. Smoked black tea
  3. Cinnamon
  4. Wintergreen
  5. Spearmint
  6. Clove
  7. Anise
  8. Orange
  9. Lemon
  10. Nutmeg
  11. Allspice
  12. Cardamom
  13. Pure cane sugar
  14. Spruce oil
  15. Cucumber
  16. Juniper berries
  17. Angelica root
  18. Orange peel
  19. Lemon peel
  20. Coriander
  21. Ginger
  22. Orris root
  23. Grains of paradise
  24. Tangerine oil

The Pink Spruce Gin label also mentions that the product is made with “free range coastal water,” it is “Seasoned in Oregon Pinot Barrels,” and distilled from grain. The Root product strangely does not mention the commodity from which distilled and probably should. It was “inspired by a potent 18th century… recipe. … It is an alcoholic version of what eventually evolved into Birch or Root Beer.” There is almost no overlap in the list of flavors from one to the other.

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distilled spirits specialty, gin


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