How do two established sake enthusiasts and beer industry veterans create a brand for a Northeastern U.S. consumer that respects the heritage and history of Japanese Sake while presenting it to an American audience that has been trained to believe sake is served hot and out of a squeeze bottle while you sit across a hibachi table?
We worked with the founders and brewers to create this brand and packaging that married a traditional Japanese Sake made by 2 New England Americans – bridging the 2 cultures together to create Dovetail Sake. Surprisingly, the history and tradition of Sake in America has its roots on the coast of Massachusetts where Dovetail Sake was founded. Using that inspiration as a jumping of spot we built the portfolio and naming strategy for all of the style to be built around the idea of joining an America with a Japanese person and purpose.
The Nakahama Junmai is named for Nakahama Manjiro the first to actually brew Sake in the United States and The Omori Nigori is named for Omori station where Edward Sylvester Moore first observed an archeological discovery that led to the modern rice farming and helped the Japanese to study their own history.
It was important to use that the label visual present this unifying message and intent of the brand. We got very excited by the dovetail "zipper" feature of the paper label that appears on the back of the bottle – almost as an "a-ha". We feel it is a discoverable that just ties the whole product together and presents the core value of the brand – unity of old and new, east and west, clean and cloudy.
The label illustrations were all hand carved block used to block print which was only then brought into the computer and placed as artwork. It was very important to us with this label in particular that everything that would appear on the final product would start by hand first and then be built for final production.