Unravel the Mystery

Secret Barrel - branding




Secret Barrel


Distilling a local brand.

Pier 21, an Alberta based purveyor of small batch distilled spirits, wanted to develop and introduce a new brand of craft rum to the Calgary market. Looking to the craft beer scene for inspiration, we came up with a strategy for creating a distinctively Canadian brand that would stand out on store shelves.

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Main Insight


A sip of status.

We’re speaking to young professionals who enjoy products that imply status — they value the quality and uniqueness of a product above everything else. Furthermore, they view their purchase as an extension of who they are in the world.

A sip of status.


Not a pirate in sight.

Historically, rum has been associated with pirates, parrots and tropical islands. So, when we were tasked with coming up with a new brand for a rum distilled right here in Canada, we knew we needed to craft a distinctly Canadian identity that showed a different side of the famous spirit. After we got all of the beaver and maple syrup jokes out of our system, we began to dig a little deeper into Canadian history.

Not a pirate in sight.


A myth, wrapped in a riddle, slapped on a bottle.

During our search, one Canadian figure kept piquing our interest — none other than John A. Macdonald himself, the first Prime Minister of Canada. John’s love of drinking lead to a simple question: What if John A. Macdonald had his own private reserve of rum locked away somewhere? And from that question, the story of Secret Barrel was born. After coming up with the name, we began the process of designing a visual identity. We explored hundreds of different logo options, examined a number of different bottle shapes and tested various paper textures for the label. When it was all said and done, we had crafted a visual identity that rivaled the mysterious nuances of the rum’s story.