We’ve had a lot of experience making POP displays for the wine and spirits industry, but when we were approached by Woodinville Whiskey to design and manufacture an event display that could be used at regional whiskey festivals around the country, it was a first for us. Our requirement was to create a display or essentially a “booth” that would fit in an 8’x8’ area. We established 6 primary objectives for the event display:
- Tell the Woodinville Whiskey story
- Promote the Woodinville Whiskey brand
- Create an “experiential” display
- Communicate quality
- Achieve consistency with the company’s retail merchandising approach
- Design and build a durable display that could be used at multiple events.
In today’s blog, we’ll talk a little bit about our process, discuss how we achieved each of these objectives, and share with you the display we ended up building.
As with any custom display project, we typically start with research. We spent some time learning about the rich history of the whiskey industry. We did not know, for example, that it was illegal to make spirits in the U.S. until 1823. This restriction apparently created quite a pent-up demand since by 1830, a mere 7 years later, the average person over 15 years old drank 88 bottles of whiskey per year. We learned interesting facts like whiskey is the official state beverage of Alabama and that Jack Daniels learned to make whiskey from a Lutheran minister at the age of 6. Armed with these and other interesting facts, we felt well equipped to drop some impressive trivia at our next cocktail party.
We then started digging into the Woodinville Whiskey story. We discovered that the company was not one of these typical multi-generational companies that have been around for a hundred years. Rather, it was founded by two friends who set out to make the greatest craft whiskey in the world by harnessing best-practice bourbon production and deploying it in a craft environment. By sole sourcing the highest quality locally grown grains, using the best barrels and coopers in the world, incorporating state-of-the-art distilling equipment, and leveraging the know-how of an industry veteran who spent 14 years as the master distiller at Maker’s Mark, these founders create a world-class whiskey product. The company was awarded “Craft Whiskey of the Year” and “Craft Rye Whiskey of the Year” two years in a row by the American Distilling Institute.
Our industry and company research gave us a solid foundation with which to begin the design process. We did additional requirements gathering which we’ll elaborate on in our discussion of how we achieved our project objectives.
Achieving Our Project Objectives
Our design process was driven by 6 primary project objectives:
- Tell the Woodinville Whiskey Story– In creating the display, we looked for multiple ways to tell the Woodinville Whiskey story. The best way to do this, we figured, was to let the company tell its own story so we incorporated a 21.5” digital media player into the main structure and set it up to play a continuous looping video about Woodinville Whiskey. We also incorporated copper tubing into the display in several areas as material accents that tied into pictures of the company’s state-of-the art distilling equipment shown in the video. A picture of the distilling equipment with its beautiful copper finish is shown below.
The picture below shows the copper tubing we built into the front of the reception podium.
- Promote the Woodinville Whiskey Brand– We incorporated the Woodinville Whiskey logo and graphics into the display in multiple places so event attendees could not miss the brand. We created a large header sign for the main backdrop structure.
We also added a similar sign on the front of the reception podium.
Furthermore, we created additional side brand-building graphics that we will discuss below.
- Create an “experiential” display- Let’s face it, people go to whiskey festivals to have a full-fledged whiskey experience, and it was a critical design requirement for the display to help create that experience. The video player we incorporated was certainly one component of the experience we were trying to create, but more importantly, we wanted to do our best to bring Woodinville Whiskey’s tasting room experience to festival participants. We asked for pictures of the company’s tasting room at the beginning of the design process. Two of the pictures they sent are shown below:
Based on these pictures and the other requirements we gathered, we created the render shown below which attempts to incorporate a lot of the design elements that are important to creating a “tasting room experience.”
4. Communicate Quality– You don’t win the kind of awards that Woodinville Whiskey has won without a serious commitment to quality so we knew we had to build a display that communicated very high-quality standards. We did this primarily through material selection by using premium materials like chocolate bamboo, attention to detail on items like puck lighting and the embedded video player, and meticulous furniture-quality craftsmanship. The picture below shows the puck lighting, the direct printed header sign, the beautiful edges of the chocolate bamboo, and the embedded video player.
- Achieve Consistency with the Company’s Retail Merchandising Approach– We designed and manufactured retail POP displays for Woodinville Whiskey so we wanted to make sure the event display was consistent with the look and brand image of the company’s retail merchandising strategy. Below you can see the most recent retail display that we created for them and then the way we tied in the retail display graphics with the sides of the reception podium.
Design and build a durable display that could be used at multiple events– We went to great lengths to ensure the display would be durable enough to look good at multiple events over a period of several years. We designed it to be modular in 3 main pieces so assembly would be easy, used premium hardware on items like the cabinet shown below, and created a set of shipping crates that would protect the display in transit.
The End Product
Below are a few pictures of the end product.
Jim Hollen is the owner and President of RICH LTD. (www.richltd.com), a 35+ year-old California-based point-of-purchase display, retail store fixture, and merchandising solutions firm which has been named among the Top 50 U.S. POP display companies for 9 consecutive years. A former management consultant with McKinsey & Co. and graduate of Stanford Business School, Jim Hollen has served more than 3000 brands and retailers over more than 20 years and has authored nearly 500 blogs and e-Books on a wide range of topics related to POP displays, store fixtures, and retail merchandising.
Jim has been to China more than 50 times and has worked directly with more than 30 factories in Asia across a broad range of material categories, including metal, wood, acrylic, injection molded and vacuum formed plastic, corrugated, glass, LED lighting, digital media player, and more. Jim Hollen also oversees RICH LTD.’s domestic manufacturing operation and has experience manufacturing, sourcing, and importing from numerous Asian countries as well as Vietnam and Mexico.
His experience working with brands and retailers spans more than 25 industries such as food and beverage, apparel, consumer electronics, cosmetics/beauty, sporting goods, automotive, pet, gifts and souvenirs, toys, wine and spirits, home improvement, jewelry, eyewear, footwear, consumer products, mass market retail, specialty retail, convenience stores, and numerous other product/retailer categories.