Sawai Studio Drama

Sawai is a rum brand inspired by the history of tea

The chai-spiced rum’s branding and packaging combine visual references such as 19th century tea chests and Caribbean rum barrels

Chai has a long and illustrious history among Indian and South Asian communities. Less well known are the similarities between the spices traditionally used in the tea and those associated with spiced rums.

Sawai is a new alcohol brand that draws on those similarities in the form of its chai-spiced rum. Infused with botanicals including cinnamon, clove, star anise and green cardamom, along with ethically sourced Assam tea, the rum is a nod to the tea-farming communities in the Assam region of India.

London-based Studio Drama was commissioned to create a label, packaging design and brand that would appeal to a rapidly growing global rum market. The studio also led the 3D and motion design in collaboration with Fabio Ziplies.

Taking inspiration straight from the name Sawai (सवाई in Hindi), which literally translates to 1¼ of an average person’s worth, the new label features a wedge-like ‘quarter’ shape. Borrowing visual cues from India and the Caribbean, the rest of the packaging includes a rich colour palette of dark green, gold and red.

A playful, stamp-like visual language references the graphics found on 19th Century tea chests and rum barrels, which were typically used as a sign of quality assurance or product origin.

This approach similarly inspired Sawai’s striking slab-serif typeface. For Hindi translations, a modular-style Devanagari script with broad-edged pen-like characteristics was introduced to complement the primary typeface.