Ok on aspects of this trip that i shamelessy geeked out on… did you know that’s how champagne corks start? Before they get mushroomed? And the machine that mushroomifies them and puts the cage on is really cool? (Cool enough i had to make a video to share with you of course!) Also, there was definitely a warm fuzzy feeling that overcame me as Veuve Clicquot brought us to visit a tiny (relatively speaking!) grand cru champagne maker ~ Gatinois, a family-run business located in AÃ¿ since 1696, at the foot of the Montagne de Reims. While they have been selling half their crop to neighbor, Bollinger, they are producing more and more of their own label. It was infectious how passionate Pierre Cheval-Gatinois was as he shared his company’s story and history and process with us (his son is starting to step in as the 12th generation!)… perhaps the biggest contrast was visiting his cellars compared to les creyeres of Veuve Clicquot… the shift in scale was amazing, and you must check out the exposed wires running the lighting (to fry yourself, just reach up and grab one in each hand)… Oh, and also, the amber blush tone of the champagne is gorgeous and it is extremely delicious… but unfortunately it they don’t have a distributor in LA! Anyhow, on the next page you can see lots of pics, and the video of how the corks transform to magically to the mushrooms we associate with champagne!
A winner has been notified… i’m waiting to hear back from him!
I know you’ve always wanted to throw some rocks in your favorite scotch. Chilled perfectly these Teroforma Whisky Rocks are handmade in Vermont out of soapstone will cool your drink down just enough to take the edge off without “closing down” the flavors according to the lovely ladies of Delight.com. In fact, they are even generous enough to GIVE AWAY ONE SET of these WHISKEY STONES! All you have to do is leave a comment with your favorite Scotch/Whisky… be specific! And i’ll pick a winner on Monday Sept 14th.
As for the stones themselves, they come beautifully packaged, and were a lovely reason to pick up a bottle of the highly recommended Balvenie 21yr Portwood (omg. so delicious.) ~ while i wasn’t sure whether they chilled it enough at first, i’ve been enlightened that “They do not replace ice - it would ruin the whisky or any other fine spirits to be taken down to a temp much lower than 45F.” And the only dillemma i’ve run into ~ if you only get 9… and about 4 go in a glass… and you have a drink with a friend… and you want refills… you need more rocks! Right? Anyhow, go take a peek at the pics on the next page!
Packaging based impulse shopping strikes again… This time i gave in and bought the Neurogasm, Neurobliss, Neurosonic, and Neurotrim. This strangely curvy soda bottle has an awesome cap, yet for some reason it kind of feels like it should be a bottle of body wash? Not sure about the flavors yet, but noteworthy packaging… see more details on the next page!
Bodum. There’s something so irresistible about the way they do glass… and now there is even double walled porcelain! And a clear glass stovetop kettle! And planters! And baguette tubes? The 2009 catalog is beautifully laid out too, with cheeky typographic bits… Take a peek at some of my favorite pages on the next page… and view the catalog here.
Prometheus Springs: Capsaicin Spiced Elixir. Firstly, what a mouthful. Secondly, check out their flavors - Lemon Ginger, Lychee Wasabi, and Pomegranate Black Pepper (intriguing aren’t they?) Thirdly, awesome upside down pentagon of 5 stars around a crowned dragon ouroboros encircling what looks like a simplified masonic symbol for a logo (should we read into this? or is it simply a symbolic mashup?)… also beautiful photography and they even have a video of the bottling process! I’m impressed… also amused that most of their websites sections are wordpress - and they are all social media’d out with the facebook, twitter, flickr, vimeo… this occultish NY based drink line has captured my attention tonight… Take a look at more of the visual assets as well as the bottling video on the next page!
Sometimes even more fascinating than packaging design is watching how it evolves and becomes more engaging and usable! Well on packages awaiting when i got back from SDCC - there was a case of these redesigned Activate Drinks. If you recall, i wrote about Activate Drinks about a year ago ~ basically Activate Drinks are the ones that are bottles of water with caps filled with vitamins/flavors, and you turn the cap to “activate” the drink. Shake it and you’re good to go ~ freshly mixed vitamins in water, because apparently vitamins lose their potency in water? Anyhow, take a look at the more ergo-friendly cap and cute droplet box graphics on the next page!
So i’m in San Diego ~ wandering the gaslamp district, and for the first time i’m actually STAYING in the gaslamp (i’ve lived in sd for years in so many different places, but never really stayed downtown much)… and as soon as i was cruising towards the convention center white picket fences caught my eye ~ then i saw the big Cafe Diem sign! (Yes! the fictitious Eureka cafe) And cardboard cutouts of the Eureka cast! And huge Syfy logos…. and had to swing back over. (Unfortunately the Cafe Diem main sign had JUST fallen over when i got back with a camera, so perhaps an update with that later!)
So as far as marketing/sponsorship opportunities go ~ i’m impressed! Last year there was a Eureka ice cream truck ~ and this year they really stepped up the food serving idea and took over a cafe across from the convention center. The branding is impeccable as expected… from the picket fence, to the signage, to the purple gumballs, to the backs of all the counter seats, coasters, and more… and brilliant idea as far as fun places to have Syfy meetings? Or meet for drinks? or have parties? And talk about a captive audience, it’s still a fully functioning cafe… Love the versatility of branding a full service space. Take a peek at more pics on the next page!
What’s next? Will we get to explore a life sized S.A.R.A.H?
A while back i showed you the amazing bottles of Rubyy Blood Orange Energy ~ they even have that amazing matte black finish with blacklight loving illustration on it. Well, freshly launched is the DIET version, in an inverted angelic white with a black logo… and the same gorgeous silver graphic… three samples of these just arrived in a box sealed with that same print on paper tape! Find out more about Rubyy here and take a peek at the latest packaging, as well as a look at it next to the classic black bottle on the next page!
As promised in the last post about the Arta Barware goodies ~ while making lemonade we cut open one of the largest (nearly softball sized?) lemons from the top of my tree ~ and we were surprised to find that the seeds had started sprouting! Not knowing this was possible, i immediately started rethinking those old wives’ tales about how swallowing a seed would make a tree grow out of your head…. and while talking to someone else, i started thinking of the plant based villains from Darkwing Duck too (embedded videos on the next page if you need to catch up on Dr. Bushroot and Spike)… Anyhow, the seeds have now been planted, will see what happens to them, but not before taking some pics to share with you!
I’m no botanist. Is this normal?
Excited to get a first look at Arta’s gorgeous and playful set of bar tools that magically nest (tools into rack into ice bucket that sits on the cutting board) as well as a shaker with a built in jigger/strainer. Beautifully unique designs, and really fun packaging, first reaction was definitely - awesome house warming gift idea! (The tools in ice bucket particularly!) I love the packaging! Those silhouettes really grab you! Its such a fun portable set of - muddler, tongs, stirring spoon, bottle opener, knife, citrus reamer, citrus zester, drip-free ice bucket, and integrated cutting board. And since i played with it before lunch today, we actually used it while playing around with some lemons from the tree out back and made some lemonade. While the shaker is fun, and the integrated jigger and strainer are an unusual design, it is a bit impractical… its hard to get the top off, and unless you’re pouring it when pretty level, using that for measurement while chatting with friends gets tricky! I think it’s complicated instead of simplifying the drink making process? But the tool set is a fun one to have around the house, especially for a quick set you can bring outside with you for cocktails while bbq-ing! Take a peek at the details on the next page!
On really fun packages to receive ~ Ben & Jerry’s sent over some of their new Flipped Out ice creams. Basically they are like ice cream upside down “cakes” ~ you peel the top, flip it over, and stick your thumb in to push them out onto your plate, and within moments they get a little gooey and fudgey… honestly its more fun/yummy than it is pretty. There is brownie, peanut butter cup, and cookie dough ~ peanut butter and cookie dough were def the best! Strangely of our panel of 3 ~ brownie was not living up to expectations!
BUT, for the SUPER fun part, it came packed in a big styrofoam container with DRY ICE! So as we unboxed, ended up playing with the dry ice for a bit until it was all gone! So some silly videos of that were inevitable… check out a look at the unboxing, dry ice playing, packaging, and more on the next page!
Perhaps the coolest random goodies yet… Ford & Ching (Previously FordBrady, but Brady has moved on and Ching has joined Ford) ~ while at Dwell on Design this morning, i got a branded marshmallow in a box ~ a very cool little wooden box cut to perfectly fit a single marshmallow. A marshmallow i couldn’t bear to eat until i had thoroughly photographed it to share with you! (As it was publishing, i devoured it. it was delicious.) While i hate to admit it, i was far too excited by the adorably cool boxes and chatting with both Ford & Ching that i don’t have the name of the awesome wood loving designer behind the boxed mallows, but i’ll be back there tonight and quite a bit this weekend, so i’ll come add that later… but first things first ~ check out the awesome branded mallow in a box on the next page!
UPDATE!!! The awesome woodiness is by Andrew Riiska ~ and his blog has some fun behind the scenes look at his gorgeous tables as well!
I’m learning to love twitter… at first it drove me insane, but now it connects me with incredible new people… and its been intriguing to see what people and brands are doing with it… latest fascinating (and seemingly awesomely successful) experiment comes from Macallan. Granted i’m biased, Macallan 18yr has been my favorite go to for a few years now (while cocktails are fun, its my default if available)… but what they set up is really pretty fun! Here’s the setup: Macallan’s brand ambassador @livingthedram (Graeme Russell) teamed up with the Michelin-starred chef Ed Brown of Eighty One in NY for the ultimate Macallan Tasting ~ all live tweeted and projected on the wall!!! And while i nearly moved my flight to make the dinner ~ but being twitter and all, they were kind enough to send samples over for me to taste along with them! Unfortunately my timing still sucked a little, but first thing i did when i got home was grab some food, and start catching up on the #macallan tweets - and taste along with them!
On the next page, check out some pictures of the event, the samples (so fun to see the color differences alongside one another!), and a selection of my favorite tweets (yes, i totally read my way backwards through the whole event to catch up!).
I’ve written about quite a bit of packaging design, and alcohol packaging in particular often has some beautiful designs, but i think this is a first where the detail that grabbed me most was the cork! Once we popped this cork, i couldn’t help but spin it around and around, and as we drank the bottle the question really became, who’s chasing whom?
This is the cork of the AndrÃ© Balazs Sunset Beach RosÃ© ~ which is a collaboration with his long time friend and local Long Island winemaker, Christian WÃ¶lffer. Apparently vines planted at his Sunset Beach hotel will also contribute to future rÃ©serves. The label is also a fresh, beautiful water color representing that French Riviera/Miami lifestyle ~ lounging on towels with toes dipped in the water, raising glasses of RosÃ© as the bartender wades into the sunset behind with tray over his head? Cute label ~ rumor has it the girls on it are his daughters? Anyhow, take a peek at more pics on the next page…
On random late night posting ~ while doing the usual wandering through Whole Foods ~ on packaging based shopping, i gave in to some awesomely packaged beers. Really, how fun does the box and label of that Lobotomy Bock look? And take a peek at pics of that as well as some other fun beers and their adorable bottle caps too. (Slightly disappointing that Lobotomy Bock didn’t have a crazy bottle cap… its just solid red) ~ see all the pics on the next page!