New “Retro” Labels Inspired by Original Rittenhouse Packaging of the 1930’s
LOUISVILLE, KY — One of the most iconic brands in the American Whiskey category is getting a total makeover—and everything old is new again.
Rittenhouse Bottled-In-Bond Straight Rye Whisky, a favorite of mixologists and whiskey aficionados and a brand at the forefront of the rye renaissance, is getting a label redesign, using graphic elements from its original post-Prohibition packaging. Designed to create a more premium look that reinforces the authenticity and historic significance of the brand, the new labels and capsule closure evoke the Art Deco style of the 1930’s, when the brand was first introduced.
Rittenhouse Bottled-In-Bond is a longtime favorite of mixologists who consider it the “go to” brand for classic rye cocktails such as original Old Fashioneds, Manhattans or Sazeracs. With a spicy, bold 100 proof flavor, and aged according to “Bottled-In-Bond” government regulations, Rittenhouse provides a cocktail with rye “backbone” which stands out among mixers and modifiers. The brand was in short supply for several years, as the sudden resurgence of traditional straight rye whiskey saw much of the existing stock snapped up, primarily by on-premise accounts, while new barrels were waiting to come of age. Now that inventories of barrels laid down during that shortage are maturing, additional cases should be made available to the retail or off-premise segment. And given the number of new rye brands introduced since the rye boom began some 8-10 years ago—many of whom are non-traditional “blending” ryes or even Canadian variants—the need to stand out on retail shelves as a classic American Straight Rye becomes more important, making the redesign of the Rittenhouse package very timely.
The new labels maintain some of the key graphic elements of the previous packaging, such as the burgundy and black color palette and the brand logotype, but utilizes it in a completely redesigned face label that is based on classic Art Deco Rittenhouse Rye labels of the 1930’s, when the brand was known as Rittenhouse Square Rye. The main graphic motif that has been revived from the original packaging is the diamond geometric design around the logotype, which also contains the “100 proof” and the “Straight Rye Whisky” designation, as in the original post-Prohibition labels. The new redesign also brings back the tax stamp, which was originally mandated as proof of the “bottled-in-bond” status, with a printed neck capsule that adds a classic and more upscale feel.
The new packaging will be unveiled on the 750ml size, which will remain at the national suggested retail price of $24.99, and will begin appearing on retail shelves and back bars in June.
“Rittenhouse, like several other traditional American Straight Ryes, has probably seen more activity and interest in the past 8 or 10 years than it saw in the 70 years prior,” noted Susan Wahl, Senior Brand Manager for American Whiskeys at Heaven Hill. “There has been an amazing and truly unprecedented resurgence in straight rye, and for those few of us who have made it for decades in limited quantities, it is both an opportunity and a challenge to produce enough to meet sudden record demand. We are now starting to see our stocks come in line, so we can begin to more aggressively pursue new distribution, and this package redesign is the best evidence of that growth.”
Rittenhouse Straight Rye Whisky (traditionally spelled without the “e”) was founded immediately after Prohibition as a traditional, Pennsylvania style rye, a style that was originally far more popular than Bourbon. Spicier and fruitier than the more grassy and vegetal Maryland style ryes of the day, Rittenhouse was an important brand during the early years of the modern distilled spirits business, and production was suspended during World War II so the distillery could make alcohol for the war effort. After resuming production, the straight rye category began a slow decline due to the increasing popularity of Scotch Whisky and Bourbon. Some ten years ago, after Single Barrel and Small Batch Bourbons began to capture consumer interest, mixologists and American whiskey aficionados rediscovered straight rye, leading first to a shortage, and now to a boom.
Founded in 1934, Bardstown, KY-based Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc. (www.heavenhill.com) is the nation’s largest independent, family-owned and operated spirits producer and marketer and the world’s second-largest holder of Kentucky Bourbon. Heaven Hill’s diversified portfolio of brands includes Evan Williams Bourbon; Burnett’s Vodkas and Gin; HPNOTIQ and HPNOTIQ Harmonie Liqueurs; Admiral Nelson’s and Blackheart Rums; The Christian Brothers Brandies; PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur; Lunazul Tequila and Rittenhouse Rye Whisky. Heaven Hill reminds you to “Think Wisely. Drink Wisely.”