2021 Winners of BTI’s Annual Packaging Competition

While Beverage Testing Institute’s beverage evaluations occur year-round, our highly anticipated packaging competition is held only once annually.

To determine the year’s best packaging submissions, we assemble a diverse group of experts: distributors, buyers, beverage directors, and designers with keen eyes for contemporary form and key insight on what draws consumer attention. Each panelist conducts a solo evaluation, taking time to consider each product individually and independently of any others within a given submission category.

The following design categories are evaluated for each product:

Creativity  Fresh and original concepts and execution

Graphic Design  Images, text, and arrangement thereof

Form  Shape, texture, and mass

Style  Relationship of the package elements to the character of the products and its projected image

Functional Innovation Technological, pragmatic, and design breakthroughs

The panelists enter detailed observations and rank entries along a scale for each of these design categories. Once evaluations have been completed, BTI’s proprietary analysis methodology software aggregates the data and determines the winners of that year’s packaging championships.

As the pandemic continues to put a pause to on-premise sales, the importance of beverage alcohol packaging design is more crucial than ever. Consumers are making quick decisions at off-premise locations or adding to their virtual shopping carts after a quick swipe-and-glance, and it is only in these short moments that a brand has the opportunity to capture attention. And so, without further ado, here are the winners of Beverage Testing Institute’s 2021 Packaging Competition.

Beer

 

 

After a year like 2020, we’re buying our suds by the case. Mighty Swell Spiked Seltzer‘s case series uses a “nice combination of lettering and photo-real fruit” resulting in “of-the-moment” graphic design with mouthwatering details. Cans have to stand for themselves too, and Tolago Hard Seltzer‘s use of “cute and cool” imagery is sure to be a tractor beam to thirsty buyers.

 

Wine

While we fantasize about the day we can return to swirling wines by the glass on our favorite patio, we want to like how our purchased bottles look on our dining room table cum work-from-home desk cum remote learning station. Designed by VINT Studio, the wine bottles from Cooper’s Hawk were impressive across the board. Their Trocken Riesling label’s winning “modern” color combo of lime green foil and navy blue “will stand out and be enticing to buyers,” their “festive” Scarletto bottle’s “elegant” typography “overdelivers for the price point,” and their LVE’s “practically holographic” label “brings the image to life” (with said image being John Legend, who I’m sure most of us would love to share a bottle of wine with).

 

When it comes to a well-executed classic design, the Gecaj Estate 2016 Owner’s Choice has a “good weight” to reflect its quality, the Lescombes Pistol Pete’s Crimson Legacy is “understated” and “classy,” and Broadside‘s 2017 Blackletter Cabernet Sauvignon fully “achieved the rustic vibe.”

 

Our panelists also loved the “nice, modern, new-world” labels of Alamos, and felt that its “lovely” illustration “evokes the country and vineyard,” which is definitely where we can pretend to be while we sip it. Sometimes you want to try multiple offerings from a producer all at once, and cohesion in design matters! The FUN WINE Hard Bubbly Collection has a “clever exuberant anime design” that’s sure to turn heads, and the Perfect Wines series uses negative space for “simplicity that really works.”

 

 

Spirits

As we continue to improve our at-home cocktail game, we want to reach for pours that still make happy hour feel special. If you’re starting the new year dry, Ritual Zero Proof‘s offerings are “clear and concise” and upon seeing them one of our experts exclaimed “these bottles look GREAT, I would buy them immediately.”

We loved the “memorable and striking” design of NEFT Vodka‘s “homage to family roots” and Verak‘s “totally unique top-shelf” design “radiates class.”

Boukman and Fid Street Hawaiian Gin both have “lovable” and “unique” design, Saint Liberty Bertie’s Bear Gulch has stand-out shape and imprint, and the YaVe Tequila bottle is “durable and functional” and ready to be back in bars as soon as the world is.

 

Because we are all craving a little getaway, the RTD series lineup from CANTEEN Spirits “nailed it” with their “adventure-on-the-go” vibes that “people will love drinking in their hiking boots.”

Both Two Chicks Cocktails and Bristow Gin have eye-catching details that will “stand out on the shelf” and Ólafsson Icelandic Gin‘s “inviting, intricate, and unique” label will transport you to a faraway dream.

Drinking to the Future: What’s Trending in 2021

As 2021 gains momentum from the burning flames of 2020, the team at BTI wanted to gather and share some trend predictions for the coming year (not included in said predictions: whatever horrific event...

Drinking in A Virtual Reality

The pandemic has put a hard stop to on-premise imbibing (in most places), but that doesn't mean consumers are any less thirsty. Without the guiding pours of a beverage industry professional, many bon ...

BTI Announces 2020 Best of Year Award Winners

After reviewing thousands and thousands of wines, beers and spirits this year, Beverage Testing Institute is proud to present the 2020 Best of Year award winners. These products represent the best in ...

Clear Intent: Setting the Stage for Quality Vodka

"Vodka has its place, and it's not just to pay the light bills." - Allison Evanow, Founder of Square One Organic Spirits Through the spirits market's endless trend-shifting, vodka has cruised alo...

CBS News Features BTI in the Pappy Story

"No one paid Pappy much mind, until 1997, when the Beverage Testing Institute in Chicago... gave it a 99 out of 100." The rest is history. ...

"The consistency and broad consumer reach of BTI ratings and reviews really solidified the quality message of our artisan brand and helped us build a well-distributed and highly regarded specialty portfolio of beers."
Laurent-Xavier Gilbert,
VP Development at La Brasserie Unibroue
"The BTI rankings have an effect on what restaurants put on their wine lists, and ultimately on what you might be drinking."
Joe Gray,
Editor, Chicago Tribune
"BTI is still the outstanding tasting organization, uniquely independent. Keep up the good work!"
Jan Wells,
VP of Marketing, Cannon Wines
"Beverage Testing Institute is a professional operation with a professional approach. I like that they are committed to truly blind tastings and that their reviews are comprehensive and informative. We highlight the reviews in our tasting room and post them on social media; the consumer response is very positive. "
Edwin Richards,
Winemaker/Owner, Adastra
“Our BTI awards have helped us with our US distribution. Sales have increased form 0 cases to 250 cases in just a couple of months. We opened two new accounts in Seattle and New York.”
Eduardo Aguirre Victoria,
Terre de Vignerons
“[BTI's] Tastings.com is well known as a main reference for connoisseurs, experts and followers of spirits.”
Otto Flores,
Ron Barcelo
"We have used Tastings.com (BTI) for the last 5 years and couldn’t be happier. They always have great customer service and support! Not only do they have detailed professional reviews and tasting notes, the addition of the metallic stickers and shelf-talkers help us capture customers, and drive bottle sales. The trophies, medals, and printed awards are displayed as center pieces in our tasting room. Their website is easy to navigate and has great product information."
Mike Huffman,
Whidbey Island Distillery
“Our winery has had BTI rate our wines for a number of years. We use the bottle stickers and shelf talkers for both education and to enhance our marketing. We have had distributors request bottle stickers, and during wine pourings, we use the shelf talkers as a customer take away. We appreciate the information written by BTI since we find it to be concise, descriptive, informational, and a well rounded review of our wines.“
Janet Soderberg,
Alamira Wines, Vistaflores Estate
When we found out that our 20 year Pappy Van Winkle had been entered in BTI's 1997 World Spirits Championships and received their 99-point rating, that’s when we started getting calls from distributors around the country looking for our whiskey.

That was a benchmark moment for our business. Every time we received a high rating from BTI over the years, interest increased for our brand.

We owe a lot to the Beverage Testing Institute for our success.
Julian P. Van Winkle, III,
President, Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery

Brand Partners