RTD alcoholic beverages, formerly or sometimes known as alcopops, is a term coined by the popular media to describe bottled alcoholic beverages, that resemble drinks such as soft drinks and lemonade. They're known as RTDs, as the letters stand for Ready to Drink, and the products are already pre-mixed.
The packaging and marketing of these drinks often feature attempts at downplaying their strength and making them seem more consumer-friendly, while appealing to a targeted demographic. According to Claire Moulin, a lead analyst for market research firm Euromonitor International, consumers under the age of 30, also known as “millennials," are exploring new types of drinking habits. "They are adventurous in terms of flavor and brand and they do not want to drink the same way their parents did. The evolution of consumer drinking habits, demand for convenience and differentiation are boosting demand for alcoholic beverages that are recognizable yet different," Moulin says. "The key word is differentiation. You are what you consume and what you drink is increasingly a matter of defining one’s lifestyle. Uniform and one-brand-fits-all is giving way to segmented, more artisanal products, with consumers mix-and-matching in-between."
Carlsberg Sweden is a beverage company that is taking the trend toward differentiation to heart within the growing RTD market. The company recently unveiled a radical redesign of their beverage range, Xide, an extensive portfolio of alcoholic mixed ready-to-drink products. Xide has been injected with new energy via 10 exclusive label designs, printed by beverage label specialist Spear.
Nine Design, Carlsberg's design agency, was tasked with the objective “to bring the X to life." Spear helped to achieve this by working closely with designers throughout the process to identify the optimum printing processes and finishes for each piece of artwork. “The redesign of Xide was a complex project, with unique and intricate artworks requiring completely different printing techniques for each flavor in the range. Essentially, each SKU was a project in itself and the technical knowledge, experience and support provided by Spear proved invaluable in translating the original vision into an award-winning range of beverage design,” says Andreas Linnell, design director for Nine Design.
Spear utilized a combination of screen/flexo and foil processes to enrich each individual design. For example, Raspberry Blossom was created using a simple, 4-color process, but, by substituting the black flexo for a screen black, the label gains a visual and physical tactile appearance. The Mandarin Chilli flavor has a layered and vibrant appearance, achieved using multiple screen ink colors. Another interesting effect can be seen on Xide Bright which was constructed combining two hot foils, silver and holographic.
The logo-type is printed with a foil finish for each design allowing it to suitably accompany the illustrative detail. The result is a striking collection in which the X takes on its own identity across the 10 bottle range.