As Audemus Spirits’ Pink Pepper Gin developed a dedicated following and a home on the shelves of stores around the UK, one request came repeatedly from their retail partners – Could they please produce a gift box?
There was a degree of resistance from both the distiller Miko Abouaf, and his creative partner at Audemus, Ian Spink. Though they understood the need to meet the demands of their clients, gift boxes are just so wasteful! Whilst many of them contain additional branded merchandise alongside the bottle of gin, the packaging itself invariably heads straight into the dustbin. And in an age where we are increasingly conscious of waste and the impact this has on the environment, Audemus wanted to approach things differently.
As happens with every product that flows from this French micro distillery, a long creative process began. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact ‘eureka’ moment but it came late in 2017 and involved a visit to the British Origami Society! The concept seemed simple – to create a box that in a few simple moves would transform into a cocktail book, featuring bespoke drinks imagined by some of the brightest and best bar people in the UK and France. It would be a waste-free metamorphosis!
The journey led Ian to the award-winning artist Alma Haser. Known for her complex and meticulously constructed portrait photography, Alma uses inventive paper-folding techniques to create layers of intrigue around her subjects. Together with Brighton-based graphic designer Emily Macaulay and cardboard engineer Kevin Perry, work began on the first of many prototypes – and it transpired that the concept was not quite as straightforward as Ian had envisaged!
Many months later they had the design and the transformation process in place, and began reaching out to colleagues in the drinks industry to create the cocktails. The result is a truly unique gift idea, with photography and beautiful tessellated imagery by Alma on the cover. An outer box opens to reveal a second section made from slightly thinner cardboard and, in turn, a bottle of Pink Pepper Gin.
The instructions are easy to follow – the inner box flattens out and is re-folded to form six pages showcasing the cocktails and a guide to the perfect G&T. Ian’s aim was to create an actual book as opposed to a ‘brochure’, and thus the stronger outer box refolds to form a hardback cover. There are a couple of cuts to make, and some small pieces to discard (you won’t need the instructions again). The packaging is made from sustainably sourced, fully recyclable material and uses vegetable based inks.
Launching at Selfridges in August and available in Waitrose stores across the UK from October, there’s an added attraction for lovers of Pink Pepper Gin; this is just Volume One of the Gift Box-Book! Volume Two will be released in 2020 with more original cocktails to be imbibed.