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    A collection of FiberMark case studies featuring specialty covering materials.

FiberMark Dorset used as Corzo Tequila Folding Carton Packaging

Impeccably Packaged 80-Proof Perfection

FiberMark material helps to launch high-end Corzo Tequila 

When the average consumer thinks about tequila, what normally comes to mind? Frozen margaritas in 12 exotic, fruity flavors? Perhaps a sombrero-clad senior citizen astride a donkey?

BACARDI USA challenged itself to demolish this daunting wall of perceptions with its development of Corzo, a new premium tequila developed for the luxury market. It was a two-year adventure that presented a singular positioning, product, and packaging challenge: Redefine tequila.

“With Corzo you have a super-premium product that is breakthrough.  We’ve reinterpreted how tequila has traditionally been packaged and promoted,” says Gonzalo de la Pezuela, Bacardi’s Vice President of Marketing.

Team Bacardi turned to many design experts and resources for this challenge, including FiberMark, the luxury goods material supplier with extensive experience in partnering with some of the world’s leading brands.

Not your father’s tequila

“Our focus is on differentiating Corzo from all the other tequilas out there on the market.  The other brands focus on Old Mexico and we wanted to capture the new, modern Mexico in the packaging,” says Yousef Zaatar, vice president of packaging development for Bacardi. “The packaging is at the heart of Corzo’s success; the tequila is the soul because it is the only tequila to distill after aging.” The patented process uses twice the agave per liter than other premium tequilas.

Let it be said that this new packaging made from FiberMark's Dorset® highlights an exceptional product.  Making tequila is a time and labor intensive process, taking eight years for the cultivated Blue Agave cactus to mature before its sap can be harvested. Corzo uses only the heart of the agave plant (“the best of the best” in Zaatar’s words), which is then distilled over the course of several months. Corzo is the only distilled tequila on the market, guaranteeing its smooth taste and texture. 

In a sterling example of cross over trends between product categories, the Corzo team adapted packaging strategies employed by the perfume industry, which has long held a deep understanding of the aspirational power of packaging. 

With a premium brand and products, “the consumer is looking for himself in the package. The major perfume houses have always paid particular attention to packaging.  ‘How does this product define me? What does it say about me?’” posits Zaatar. “To do that we didn’t go to an average ‘Joe Blow’ designer -– we were setting a very high bar.” With this in mind, they turned to Fabien Baron, the noted perfume bottle designer, highly lauded for his graphic overhaul of Harper’s Bazaar in the 1990s and as designer of Madonna’s much-discussed Sex book.

“Unlike the typical approach to tequila packaging we wanted to reflect the modern side of Mexican design. A more innovative and unexpected bottle was also a good complement to the traditional craftsmanship of the Corzo tequila,” says Baron.

Taking its inspiration from modern Mexican fountains as well as the elegance of Mayan architecture, the thick-walled, rectangular bottle (8 ¾” x 4 x 2 inches) is made of clear glass with an elegant, brown-hued 1 ¾-inch label embossed in silver. The unusual, off-center neck of the bottle features a heavy silver cap richly embossed with the Corzo name.

“Look at the cap, it’s heavy and solid, like the structure of Mexican architecture.  The label is simple and elegant to reflect the overall look and feel of Corzo,” says Zaatar.

“We have created a new category of a “Bookshelf” Bottle – this beautiful rectangular bottle is display worthy.”

Beyond the Bottle

Baron was charged with designing the entire Corzo experience, secondary packaging included. With the exterior packaging Bacardi sought to achieve a unique element with a luxurious feel and handsome look. 

“Everything about Corzo’s packaging is top-notch and true to the vision of the designer – and those elements that could enhance the product’s warmth through color and texture.  We put as much thought into all of these elements as we did the actual bottle,” says de la Pezuela.

To achieve this high design goal they partnered with FiberMark. Drawing on its 100-year-history of supplying durable and attractive covering materials to the packaging, publishing and office industries, FiberMark’s proprietary durable materials have been selected by many of the world’s leading brands for their entertainment, luxury, and specialty packaging.

“We didn’t have much experience with FiberMark in the past.  We sought them out and they were able to provide the special look and feel that we were after,” says Zaatar.

“We wanted a custom color to match the other elements – no stock color would do.”

Working with the design team, FiberMark supplied a 23-pt vat-dyed board in the rich brown shades that serve as the overall Corzo signature color scheme. The vat-dyed-board production process is a complicated one; the precise amount of colorant is added to raw pulp prior to its production.

“It’s funny. Someone handed me the gift box one day and it really felt like I was receiving a gift,” says Greg Sandusky, a packaging specialist with Bacardi. “The packaging’s color, weight, and texture perfectly fit our needs.  We explored several other companies before choosing FiberMark -- there aren’t that many companies in the business who can do the vat-dyed board to this degree of expertise and with this level of expert color-matching.”

Zaatar also expressed his satisfaction with FiberMark, calling it “an excellent experience and noting that “they did an excellent job, to deliver on-time and with quality.”

Corzo Coronation

Bacardi introduced Corzo in Fall 2004. With the most refined, premium tequila available on the market; paradigm-busting, innovative packaging; and an armload of glowing notices in the mainstream national media, many tequila enthusiasts might well pose one large question: Why haven’t I seen it?

de le Pezuela explains: “While our intent is to go national, this is not a mass-market approach.  What we’re doing is selling one-on-one, talking with tequila connoisseurs.  This is a long-term effort that requires a word-of-mouth/viral marketing approach.”

More than matching their design prowess with marketing acumen, the initial launch was in selected markets containing knowledgeable and discerning tequila consumers who would most appreciate its superior nature. These first markets include Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Denver, and Dallas. 

“It’s moving on premise very quickly and wherever we place it, it turns. So we’re quite eager to expand to other markets but we need to do it slowly due to the premium nature of the product,” says de la Pezuela. “We’re very pleased that Corzo has been embraced as a sophisticated product in sophisticated packaging for a sophisticated consumer.”

For more in formation, please visit www.corzo.com

FiberMark (www.FiberMark.com) offers inventive packaging materials that express brands, inspire designs and elevate products in the retail environment. With hundreds of product lines incorporating a wide range of visual and tactile elements, FiberMark materials provide a limitless array of package design possibilities. These specialty fiber-based materials are enhanced with an extensive palette of colors, finishes, and embossing techniques that create visual depth and invite touch. FiberMark’s design specialists work with creative teams to develop packaging that captures a brand’s unique personality to differentiate it from competitors, attract attention, and significantly drive sales. FiberMark crafts its materials in the U.S. and Europe, creating innovative solutions for world-leading brands.