March 2, 2018 | POSTED IN

Sidewinder Vermouth – the Branding

a decorative picture of sidewinder vermouth bottles and banner reading pushing the boundaries

When something long since passed away comes back again in a changed world, it is new.

Carl Jung, Liber Novus

In earlier posts, I  explained the concept behind the crafting of our Livermore vermouth, as well as revealed the steps we took to formulate a vermouth that would stand apart from all others. Months of experimentation became years until the formulas for our sweet and dry vermouths were finalized. Formulation, however, was only the first step in bringing these new wines to market. Now it was necessary to address the many regulatory and branding issues that a new product requires.

An early regulatory hurdle was obtaining Federal approval for our formulations. For wines like vermouth, where herbs, roots, and spices are added to the base wine, the government requires written documentation of all ingredients and their method of extraction. They often require samples of the finished product for analyses and requested a sample of our dry vermouth since it contains wormwood.

Label design proceeded in parallel with obtaining formula approval. We selected the international design firm of Stranger and Stranger to design a label consistent with our brand identity. Stranger and Stranger emphasized the association of the sidewinder watch with the early days of the railroad and the importance of rail transportation to Livermore Valley’s development. The railroad, so important to Livermore’s global success with wines and spirits, is one of the many stories that will be told by Sidewinder.

The spirit of Sidewinder is captured in its label – a pocket watch. The watch face sports a custom font that invokes the early days of rail, capturing a time before prohibition when Livermore Valley was producing the finest wines and spirits. The back face of the watch depicts a serpent in the pose of a sidewinder amidst cereal grains surrounded by the many exotic botanicals that build our spirits. The serpent represents many things, from the snake that can bite you if you imbibe too freely to the Ouroboros that represents the cyclic nature of life – ‘creation out of destruction.’

The hard work over these past few years is now bearing fruit. In February, we officially released our sweet vermouth, which we call ‘Winder and Bow,’ and our dry vermouth, which we call ‘Stem and Crown,’ – named after integral parts of a pocket watch. And, from the 2017 harvest, we produced a Grappa and several brandies. We intend to begin releasing these new spirits later in 2018.