Depending on which historian you talk to, distillery is either an ancient process or a very old and revered one. Some suggest the origins of the modern distillery can be traced back to the 9th century, when Muhammed ibn Zakaryia Razi began his work perfecting the art of distilling alcohol. Others place the process closer to the early 17th century, when the first mention of alcohol as a recreational “aqua vitae” appeared in print.

No matter which school of thought you adhere to, it’s clear that the distillation of spirits has come a long way – and it’s still evolving. In fact, the way the distillery industry has grown over the past fifteen years In 2005, there were fewer than 100 craft distilleries scattered throughout the US; by 2018, when the American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) performed their most recent overview of the market, there were nearly 2,000. What’s more, the craft distillery industry is projected to continue the growth that saw its market share of the industry as a whole triple in just six years – by 2023, revenue is expected to top $20 billion. With a compound annual growth rate of over 32%, this recent expansion of a centuries-old industry has been nothing short of remarkable.

How Can You Stay Ahead of the Game?

If you’re a craft distiller, industry growth is a positive sign you’re on the right track towards meeting customer needs. However, as growth continues, craft distillers need to place increased attention on branding and marketing techniques to stay relevant. How do you stand out among the industry giants as well as the influx of new craft spirits currently flooding the shelves?

This list of branding and marketing trends is a great start:


In the digital age, many consumers want to feel a connection with the humans behind the products they enjoy the most. It’s this connection that can help make you stand out from all the others on the shelf by drawing on the close relationship spirit enthusiasts develop with their favorite brands. In fact, delivering your brand messaging as the unique story behind your business could help you become as much as 22% more memorable than your counterparts. Tell your story and emphasize what makes you human in your product packaging, within your website content, and on your social media accounts.


While it’s important for any business owner to ensure prospective clients perceive their business as honest and ethical, the business of being responsible has become a trend in the spirits industry. Remember when we promised your distillery’s story would become important? Your clients want to feel as if they are sharing an experience with an honest, hardworking company each time they take a sip; highlighting your distillery’s grass-roots, honest nature or even your social or environmental responsibility via your packaging or other branding is key to capitalizing on this element.


Distillers like Sipsmith are connecting with social media influencers and local celebrities who already enjoy their spirits; from there, you can develop a relationship that provides mutual benefit for social media sharing of your product in action (just be careful not to enter into a payment-based agreement). Alternatively, work with bartenders who already share the names and types of their favorite craft spirits with a loyal social media following. Or, encourage your consumers to hashtag and geotag your brand every time they enjoy your spirits.


Depending on your distillery’s trajectory, you may or may not be able to focus on new spirits while establishing your flagships. However, putting emphasis on the various ways to use your best products is a highlight of the industry’s bent towards innovation this year and many brands are encouraging customer and bartender creativity with new or existing products. Whether you’re releasing a unique blend or simply crafting new and innovative cocktails, put your social media accounts and previously-mentioned influencer relationships to good use.


While eye-catching labeling and packaging is certainly important in any industry, your product’s final design is even more important in the distillery industry – perhaps illustrated best by those who buy bottles of wine and liquor simply because they look interesting. As such, it’s crucial to make sure your product stands out on the shelves among the many, many others. These current distillery labeling trends will have you leaping ahead of the pack:

  • Nostalgia. Perhaps it’s not surprising that nostalgia packaging is big in this centuries-old business. Depending on your product type, you can draw on old-style European-looking opulence with notes of gold leaf and elaborate script or hearken back to the early days of American modernism with 1950s simplicity. Elements of Prohibition and bootlegger style, like black and white imagery and rough-hewn, handmade looking labels are also in hot demand this year.
  • Unique label shapes. If you’re sticking with a traditional bottle shape, unique label shapes are a way to help your product stand out among the others next to it. Crests and seals are popular at the moment, as are more naturally-flowing curves and modern, sharp angles. Stepping beyond the traditional cylinder can help you capture consumer attention without changing your bottling needs.
  • Copper elements. A way to appeal to nostalgia while referencing one of the most iconic pieces of your distillery is the inclusion of copper in your labeling scheme. This metallic not only looks sharp and draws the eye, but it also alludes to the copper still. Use a metallic copper hue or the shape of a still for a more literal take on this element.

Step Up Your Marketing and Branding Efforts

No matter which of these branding and marketing trends you choose to incorporate, you’ll need to ensure your efforts stay true to your brand identity all the way to your consumer’s hands. Keeping your creative product labels firmly affixed no matter which bottling scheme you choose is the first step. Ensuring your packaging keeps your finished product safe until it hits the shelf should be your last.

If you’re looking for a label adhesive that will keep your bottles looking sharp long after that last sip, we suggest Aquence XP 101. For sturdy packaging seals that will stand up to the elements of warehousing and shipping alike, Technomelt Cool 250A and Technomelt 8990 is one of the most steadfast hot-melt adhesives in the business. Make sure your branding efforts aren’t wasted by unreliable packaging; contact APPLIED Adhesives by phone at (800) 274-9801 or reach us online today.