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Heaven’s Door Spirits: Bob Dylan Makes a Splash with a New Premium Whiskey Brand

Bob Dylan wears many hats.

Most people know him as a world-class musician. But his many talents include painting, being a grandparent, and metalworking. As of last year, he’s even a Nobel Laureate in literature!

Now you can add one more hat to the Dylan collection: creator of a new premium whiskey brand, Heaven’s Door Spirits.

What began as an enthusiasm for fine drink led Dylan to file a trademark application for the name “bootleg whiskey.” That caught the attention of Marc Bushala, a liquor entrepreneur and the CEO of Spirits Investment Partnership. Through their collaboration, Heaven’s Door was born.

Made in collaboration with master distillers and blenders across the United States, Heaven’s Door whiskeys comprise a three-spirit collection. The range includes a Tennessee straight bourbon, a double barrel whiskey, and a straight rye – with plans to consistently introduce more options as the portfolio evolves.

Diehard Bob Dylan fans with concerns that he’s just hopping on the popular “celebrity spirits brand” trend have nothing to worry about. Dylan has been a whiskey and bourbon aficionado for decades, and his travels have given him ample opportunities to taste the best. That makes this a true passion project.

Inspired by his popular 1973 song Knocking on Heaven’s Door, the Heaven’s Door brand encompasses all things Dylan. It’s small-batch, handcrafted, and infuses art with every element. Each whiskey in the collection tells its own story… just like Dylan’s complex lyrics‑and the packaging is no different.

Photo Credits: Heaven’s Door

The Bottles

The American craft whiskey market is booming; it has grown 52 percent in the past five years according to the Distilled Spirits Council, totaling a whopping $3.4 billion in 2017.

But with that opportunity comes increased competition. The number of whiskeys on the shelves has increased by almost a third in the same time period. Customers are also becoming more sophisticated, so they won’t stick to a trendy product if it doesn’t meet the quality they’re used to.

Heaven’s Door executives know that it takes more than a celebrity name to earn – and keep – customers. Every interaction from the very beginning, well before the first sip, is vital.

Heaven’s Door has taken great care to make a great impression through its bottles and packaging. One of the most distinctive features on the bottles are the silhouettes of metalwork. Based on Dylan’s creations from his metalworking shop, Black Buffalo Ironworks, these gates, crows, and wagon wheels (among other things) instantly catch the eye.

The designs are made from objects commonly found on farms and scrapyards. The images evoke a classic Americana feel, where hard work, innovation and craftsmanship thrive. This resonates perfectly with the Heaven’s Door brand.

But the bottles themselves aren’t even the first part of the customer experience. What will truly catch shoppers’ eyes on crowded liquor store shelves is the packaging.

Photo Credits: Heaven’s Door

The Packaging

The Bottle – Primary Packaging

The bottle is what draws customers in. It’s what will be on display for as long as the whiskey is owned. Heaven’s Door bottle design is a beautiful, intriguing bottle that incorporates intertwining welding materials in which the golden whiskey shines through. It channels the brand image of the hardworking American tradition.

There’s also an element of mystery involved: what are those sculpture images all about? The gold elements are also debossed, enticing shoppers to touch the packaging and engage in a multi-sensory experience

Each whiskey has a different color label at the bottom of the bottle and a thin strip on the neck, distinguishing the different options beautifully while still maintaining core elements (the typography, logo) that reinforce the brand.

Heaven’s Door primary packaging establishes the brand when you purchase a bottle. The brand image of the hardworking American tradition is channeled through the unique ironworks design on every bottle. 

Rigid Box – Secondary Packaging

Secondary packaging is just as important as the primary bottle packaging. The sleek rigid box is the first impression a customer has for Heaven’s Door whiskeys.

Instead of traditional ink, the box simply utilizes gold foil, black foil, and debossing to emphasize the artwork creating a high-end luxury rigid box. The design emphasizes the brand image of traditional, American, hard-working, country roots.

The Heaven’s Door rigid box features:

  • Rich, intense tones like black to form a monochromatic background
  • Foil stamped gold elements – images of Dylan’s sculptures, the brand name in bold capital letters, and a seal.

Elements like these pop off the carton and grab attention. The combined effects foster a feeling of something both understated and luxurious.
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Making an Unforgettable Impression

It takes more than just celebrity to succeed in today’s hyper-competitive environment. You’ll need a quality product, sure. But unforgettable packaging can be just as crucial, as it’s the perfect way to your brand to overwhelmed consumers.

Here at JohnsByrne, our printing and packaging experts worked tirelessly to capture the essence of the new Heaven’s Door brand. If you’re interested in launching a new line of products yourself, or just reshaping your current image to better stand out, take a look at our work gallery.

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