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Low and No Alcohol Drinks are Serving Up Some of the Best Label Design Right Now

Who needs booze when you've got these bottles?

For some people, January is a moment to press pause on drinking. Bottles get hidden away in the bar cabinet. Seltzers replace the beers in the fridge. We are all for embracing a socially mandated booze break, but everything in moderation, including moderation. In that spirit, we’ve found some low or no ABV drinks whose labels might convince us to give up the hard stuff for good.

Willo Perron & Associates, Ghia

This herby nonalcoholic aperitif is modeled after its boozy brethren. Working with Ghia’s team, the designers at Willo Perron & Associates drew inspiration from a variety of influences including Mediterranean aperitif brands, European car emblems, Euro-disco, and hand-painted signage. “We asked ourselves, does this need to feel like a nonalcoholic apéritif? What if this feels and looks like 1960s to 1980s Italian furniture, or even an experimental architecture cult?” the designers explain. “A Brancusi sculpture, a Judy Chicago painting? Something you’d maybe find in the south of France?” The resulting bottle is funky—an elegant script logo slashes across a rounded triangle—while still feeling classic. 

Steve Quested, Current Cassis

Launching a booze brand today requires a certain Instagramability (sorry, but we don’t make the rules). Current Cassis, a low ABV “sipper” made from fermented black currants, is of the perfectly photogenic “Oh, I just threw this on” variety.  Steve Quested, the husband of Current’s owner Rachel Petach, designed the denim blue and off-white label to be a little bit polished and a little bit imperfect. Classic sans serif type sandwiches the hand-drawn C logo that has hints of Matisse’s figure drawings. “The C logo was adapted from what Rachael was hand-drawing in sharpie on little bottles that were being given to friends in the early days,” Quested explained. The balance is well-played. It’s the kind of bottle that looks equally as good on your cart and on your feed.

Photo by Chelsie Craig.

Kallan & Co, Kåska

Coming from Finland, Kåska is a low ABV spirit whose bottle is designed to convey a friendly, easy-going vibe. Kåska’s founders, Eetu Topo and Fred Karlsson worked with the designers at Helsinki’s Kallan & Co to create a bottle that felt modern but approachable, with clean sans serif type overlaid on a Boston Round pharmacy bottle. “We liked the round corners and playful shapes because they help in communicating that less serious vibe we were looking for,” Topo explains. The back label features an illustration from Toni Elg printed on the glue side, which creates a woozy backdrop for the clear liquid. The drawing is reminiscent of the overtly pleasant, gangly armed cartoons found in so much modern branding, but it becomes unexpectedly abstracted when it interacts with the liquid inside the bottle. “It creates the feel of a moving, living crowd when you turn the bottle around and see those faces through the liquid from different angles,” Topo says. “And when you look at it directly from the front, it fills the whole bottle with dancing pastel colors.”

Doyle Partners, Brooklyn Brewery Special Effects

Last year, Brooklyn Brewery launched its first NA beer called Special Effects. Working with Stephen Doyle of Doyle Partners, the brewery created a new design language for the beer, which centered on a psychedelic pattern of colors that wrapped around the logo in a trippy, trance-like swirl. Its newest NA beer is an IPA, and it kept the same pattern but changed the color palette to a can’t-miss-it shade of green and yellow. The can is unapologetically loud and designed to stand out among the increasingly crowded world of NA beers.



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