What We Learned at LuxePack New York

What’s hot in cosmetics? Is “anti-packaging” the new definition of “luxury?”  How are retailer and consumer demographics trends shaping a spirits bottle?

LuxePack NYWe were grappling with these questions — along with thousands of designers, suppliers and marketers of every stripe who descended on New York’s Pier 92 for LuxePack NYC on May 14, 2015.

Jeremy Benson moderated the conference’s only wine and spirits panel, along with Umberto Luchini (CMO, Campari America); Elwyn Gladstone (founder of his new firm, Biggar & Leath, and former SVP of Proximo Spirits); and Jean-Charles Forster, director of sales and marketing for SGP Packaging by Verallia. Here are some key takeaways, in our opinion:

  • There is a rich world of creativity in the bottle shapes, treatments, colors and add-ons in cosmetics that are increasingly inspiring spirits packaging (“A-sort” glass, anyone? It’s the clearest glass often used in high-end cosmetics).
  • Sweeping definitions of “luxury” are invariably useless – one person’s authentic micro-brew package is another person’s Avery label on an overpriced $9 bottle of beer.
  • Wine packaging is boring as compared to many high-end consumer consumable products (but yes, we knew that).
  • For every trend in packaging, there is a counter-trend, so predictions are dangerous.
  • Where to find inspiration? For “place” products, the culture of the people, other categories like olive oil. For easy ideas, cruise eBay.
  • The bottom line for spirits packaging: brand differentiation needs to be crystal clear to consumers in about 3 seconds.
  • Ok, some predictions, from a variety of sources at the event.  “Low tech/hyper local” still has legs.  There is excess demand for craft spirits, but ubiquity will dilute the trend.  Hyper narrow consumer segmentation. Beer will soon have its own “Patron:” a high-price, high-style package. Wine packaging and secondary packaging is ripe for innovation, if it can work around legal and distribution obstacles and prejudices.