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Packaging > 13.1 Alcoholic Drink Packaging

Wihayo Soju Packaging

by Smörgåsbord

‘Wihayo’ is the first triple distilled premium soju to be made in Europe and marks Smörgåsbord’s first collaborative venture into product development with Korean/Dutch author and foodie Nathalie Ji-Yun Kranenburg.

‘Wihayo’ is made with a traditional Korean recipe – the difference and uniqueness of this soju is the fact that its core ingredient, rice, is ground by one of the oldest and tallest windmills in the Netherlands, dating from 1785. A pinch of barley is added during distillation resulting in a subtle aftertaste that carries a hint of Holland’s national tipple Jenever – the birth mother of gin. A true fusion therefore of East and West – a Korean recipe, literally given a Dutch spin.   

The main challenge whilst creating the brand identity and packaging was to create an aesthetic that reflected both cultures whilst not alienating either; enough to intrigue and attract both parties in equal measure. As Wihayo is somewhat of an anomaly – a Korean Soju distilled in a Jenever distillery in the Netherlands – we set about to create a look & feel that would be a departure to the regular offerings in both the soju sector and the wider world of spirits. We honed in on a minimalist and utilitarian identity built on craft.   

Our starting point was the name we coined; Wihayo derives from the word ‘Wihayeo’ – a phrase used by young Koreans when they ‘cheers’ before drinking soju – ‘for you’ in Korean. And then came the bottle – the challenge set for us by the client was to “create an ownable bottle people would ‘crave’ and would want to take home with them”. As all Korean soju is bottled in tall and slender light green glass bottles we stuck with the green as it equates to ‘health’ in Korean culture but instead opted for a deeper and richer hue. The bottle itself is a 700ml green glass ‘apotheek’ style bottle and is sealed it with a black American walnut stopper laser engraved with ‘Wihayo’s’ distinctive marque – itself a representation of wind power and rice grains, ‘Wihayo’s’ principle ingredients.   

All copy is bilingual (English & Korean) and is screen printed directly onto the bottle. Another feature of the screenprint is a gauge that allows bar staff to check consumption as soju is often left with the clients on the table to be consumed with food. We also produced an accompanying grey kraft (gift) tube. The copy from the front of the bottle is replicated in the exact position that it appears on the bottle and is applied as a white foil onto the kraft board.

  • Creative Directors Dylan Griffith
  • Art Directors Alex Frew
  • Designers Alex Frew
  • Illustrators Alex Frew & John Beckers
  • Photographers Keith Davies
  • Editors John Beckers
  • Copywriters Dylan Griffith
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