Sagamore Spirit had one goal when they began planning – to become the premier distiller of rye whiskey. However, entering a crowded whiskey market required not only a distinct product, but a distinct bottle. The vision for their new whiskey bottle came to life through collaboration with HighRock and Hub Labels, both headquartered in Maryland.

To begin the design process, a company out of Austin, Texas, actually took pen to paper and designed a two-dimensional Sagamore Spirit Rye Whiskey bottle. When it came time to refine the design prior to manufacturing, Brian Treacy, president of Sagamore Spirit, contacted his friends at HighRock, who had helped visualize the distillery that now exists in the Port Covington area of Baltimore, Maryland. “Taking inspiration from the classic Walters Rye bottle, as well as our own three-diamond logo, HighRock’s 3D artists really helped us take the 2D vision for the bottle and bring it to life” said Treacy.  By reviewing various proofs in 3D, Brian and the team at Sagamore Spirit were able to finalize the bottle design more quickly in order to determine what kind of label was required. The Sagamore Spirit bottles are created from super-flint (high quality) glass and the labels needed to match that quality.

Hub Labels, a local label manufacturer with worldwide reach, started networking through the Brewers Association of Maryland, the Maryland Distillers Guild, the MD Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MD MEP) and other state/regional organizations to build more local connections. “We actually started a ‘Made in Maryland’ campaign to support and partner with businesses in our own backyard,” said Thomas Dahbura, president of Hub Labels. “Through this campaign and the connections made, we started a conversation with Sagamore about printing their labels right here in Maryland.” Hub Labels worked with Sagamore to test materials and processes, in an effort to discover the best outcome. This was a surprisingly complex label due to the registration requirements for whiskey labels. “The Sagamore Spirit Whiskey labels could not be created using a conventional press,” Dabhura explained. “A critical element of this project was being able to use our new hybrid press, running flex and digital together. It’s the perfect solution for private branding and resulted in a completely unique label to complement the high quality of Sagamore products.”

The trio of companies have continued to work together after this initial engagement, with Hub Labels printing labels for limited-edition and seasonal releases. “We continue to try new techniques and types of barrels to create limited products,” said Treacy. “It’s a fun way to express our spirit.”

“Collaboration was the most important part of this endeavor,” said Len Sullivan, Vice President at HighRock. “Creative people working together to show off the capabilities offered by Maryland companies.”

Opened in 2017, Sagamore Spirit Distillery encompasses five-acres along the Patapsco River, with a Visitor Center and processing center, as well as a 22,000 square foot distillery, complete with a mash cooker, fermenting tanks, a beer well, and a copper column still. Pure limestone water from Sagamore Farm, located in Baltimore County, is stored in the 120-foot water tower outside the distillery and used as a key ingredient for proofing their whiskey. Always mindful to “honor the spirit” of Maryland, their world-class waterfront distillery has become an immersive experience that highlights the history, technology and innovation required to produce such a distinctly unique product.

About Sagamore Spirit

Our spirit flows from a spring house, built in 1909, at Maryland’s Sagamore Farm – naturally filtered spring water, fed from a limestone aquifer. The same water that fuels our champion thoroughbreds also cuts the rich spice of our rye, creating a spirit as revolutionary as America’s risk-takers and history-makers. Our story is one of passion, of old meeting new, and crafting a timeless American whiskey. Learn more: sagamorespirit.com

About Hub Labels

For over 40 years Hub has been a label printing expert helping our clients meet their business objective by leveraging technology. Specializing in the prime (food, beverage, spirits), direct mail and linerless label markets innovation is a key factor in our success and we continue to look for trend setting market solutions that set the stage for continued growth and enhanced capabilities for our customers.  Learn more: hublabels.com

About HighRock

HighRock is a Maryland-based marketing firm that specializes in all things strategy, creativity and technology. Founded in 2005 by Rich Daughtridge and Dave Schleigh, the company has grown to offer a wide-variety of marketing services to serve the greater Baltimore, D.C. and metro area.  Learn more: highrockstudios.com.

(Post provided by HighRock, a Capitol Communicator sponsor)

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