Dark Sky Distillery


Luxury and Sustainability working together

With a motto of “We do better so you can drink better”, the team from the award winning Dark Sky Distillery were looking to expand their retail presence through the introduction of gift packs. In such a crowded retail environment, how does a luxury brand stand out on the shelf while keeping true to their sustainable packaging values?


About Dark Sky Distillery

Dark Sky Distillery is a family operated craft distillery. In a world of craft distillers, they have set themselves apart by embracing responsible green distilling technology and innovation to minimize their carbon footprint. Dark Sky’s stills are some of the most energy efficient in the industry, and they even incorporated solar power to reduce the demand from the electrical grid and a rain capture system. The sustainability focus doesn’t end there – their column cooling water is recycled through a system in their concrete floor! This offsets the energy required to heat the distillery especially in the cold winters.



Dark Sky embodies Luxury in Every Sip – and their packaging needed to reflect that. After going through a painstaking design process for their primary packaging (bottles), the team at Dark Sky knew that they needed to put just as much attention into their secondary packaging. At Dark Sky, everything from the name, to the branding, to the look and feel of their bottles is utterly unique. They needed a custom box solution that would hold true to their brand’s image and values, while allowing them to shine in a highly competitive retail landscape. Keeping their sustainable packaging local was crucial.



Through hands-on, creative design process with Dark Sky, it was determined that in order to showcase the bottles we would keep the sustainable packaging design rather minimalistic with a solid color and windows to show off the colorful bottle designs.

  1. Let the primary packaging shine – use a solid color with peek-a-boo windows to capture the consumers’ attention in a busy retail environment.
  2. A premium product needs premium packaging – achieving a high end look and feel was of the utmost importance for a luxury brand like Dark Sky. We knew we could use bold print and edgy finishing to convey that premium message to consumers.
  3. Dare to be different – Dark Sky is unlike any other craft distillery we’ve seen, with a message of ‘Dare to be different’. We worked hard to ensure this packaging would be unlike any of the competitors it sits next to on the shelf. A non-traditional, interactive unboxing experience was a must!

With this knowledge, we were ready to dive deep into the design process and deliver a sustainable packaging solution like no other.



Structural design: To showcase the bottles effectively, we moved away from the traditional window and incorporated a die-cut logo into the front flap panel. This is a unique way to show off the bottles while keeping them protected and showcasing the Dark Sky logo.

Protection: We also took time to carefully consider how this product would be handled during transportation and in the retail environment to ensure the bottles remained intact and beautifully displayed. An H lock bottom ensures the bottles are safe once loaded into the box, while a tuck top with locking tab makes tampering more difficult in a retail environment. For added product protection, an accordion style insert was created to go between the bottles. This also ensures the bottle positioning is maintained during shipping and on the retail shelf.

Graphic design: In a bold statement, Dark Sky chose to go with a heavy black print paired with a matte aqueous finish, accented by silver holographic foil. All text and other graphics were done in white to provide a stark contrast and avoid taking away from the colorful bottles. A QR code was incorporated into the back panel graphics to allow for messaging flexibility, allow for customer interaction and to appeal to a younger demographic.



The end result was stunning, with the rainbow colors from the holographic foil accenting the colors from the primary packaging. The matte black contrast paired with the letter cut-outs ensures that this was a package that would stand out from the crowd. Dark Sky is now ready to launch their gift pack into liquor stores and this gorgeous package will be entered for the 2022 FSEA Gold Leaf Awards.