Founded by Emily and Joel Vikre, Vikre Distillery is a handmade spirits brand inspired by the place it calls home. The husband-and-wife team are based in Duluth, a city in Minnesota known both for its natural beauty and vibrant community.
Vikre’s mission is people and planet focused; the distillery has developed an organic, zero-waste process, is building bottle reuse and giveback programmes, and sources ingredients locally, including wild botanicals and water from the Lake Superior watershed.
As the founders plan to expand the business beyond its hometown, they enlisted the help of Smakk to create a new identity that would help translate the essence of Duluth to a broader audience.
“Vikre needed deeper brand storytelling that would act as a springboard for more national distribution, brand name awareness, and a cult following,” says Smakk founder Katie Klencheski. “We really wanted their brand to be a reflection of their story, their personality and, most importantly, a sense of place.”
Appealing to a younger generation with changing drinking habits also played an important role from the outset. “People, especially younger generations, are really focused on moderation and making intentional choices towards greater health and wellbeing,” explains Klencheski.
The new strategy, brand identity, messaging, packaging, and website design uses hints of surrealism to reflect the charm and eccentricity of the Duluth community and its Nordic roots. Design elements range from a typographic logo to iconography and a retro-inspired suite of graphics.
Collaged imagery references local places such as Minnesota’s Temperance River, characters like a wild Norwegian grandmother, and ingredients including pine and juniper berry.
This approach also extends to the bottle packaging, where each flavour takes on its own unique persona to help the brand stand out everywhere from supermarket shelves to social media.