An Icon Re-born: How Chivas’ Design Makeover Marks A Paradigm Shift Towards Sustainability
The world’s most famous Scotch takes on a bold new avatar.
It was 1838 when brothers James and John Chivas set off for the bustling port city of Aberdeen – aiming to turn a modest investment in the grocery business into something truly special.
This year, Chivas Regal’s legacy continues onwards – reflecting a striking visual change that’s much more than skin-deep. This March 8th, Chivas revealed a stunning new overhaul for their signature 12-year blend, marrying boldness and modernity with their 112 years of heritage.
While Pernod Ricard’s fresh new take on Chivas’ classic look is interesting, there’s a surprising depth to not just how it looks – but also the impact each bottle has on the environment.
Setting an Example of Sustainability
Liquor production is one of the most unsustainable industries on the planet, with multiple reports revealing shocking inconsistencies across packaging, waste, emissions, and energy impacts for the world’s distillers.
What makes a liquor brand unsustainable, ultimately? Much of the problem here comes with what you as a customer see first – the packaging.
While distillation has its own emissions concerns, both the boxes and bottles in which our favorite spirits are sold contribute to an alarming level of waste materials. Take glass alone for instance – according to the report, just bars and restaurants alone generated 200,000 tonnes of glass from bottles.
Just for context, that’s heavier than every single Indian elephant alive – stacked on top of each other!
Chivas’ solution was to dismantle this issue from the ground up – replacing every single element of their packaging and bottling process with a focus on non-wastage. This shines a light on the limitations of the industry, and sets the distiller apart as a pioneer, pushing towards a greener, more conscious platform of fine whiskey-making.
This was executed with a three-pronged approach – focusing first on the iconic bottle, then each bottle’s individual packaging, and then the shipping containers themselves.
The new bottle shape offers a taller, slimmer silhouette – while stylish, the product designers also took the effort to right-weigh the glass itself for Chivas’ most popular 0.5 liter, 0.7 liter, and 0.75 liter bottles.
The result? Over 1300 tonnes of glass saved – all by adopting a clever, elegant new design.
Boxes are another iconic part of the liquor purchase process – who wouldn’t like to feel a bit special taking home their favorite iconic designs? The downside – several thousand tonnes of plastic waste, owing to the glitzy, colorful finishes on these boxes.
By simply changing the substrate used in their new boxes, Chivas saved 92 tonnes of plastic – as much as 2.3 million plastic bottles.
While the larger 9-liter boxes used to ship Chivas’ product are already recyclable, the ink used on them requires a great deal of effort to break down in recycling plants – a serious concern considering that Chivas ships over 3 million containers per year.
Here, Chivas reduced their carbon footprint by cutting back to a simpler single-ink design – keeping things minimal, focusing on sustainability over aesthetics.
Ultimately, Chivas’ impressive portfolio continues through the generations – flowing into glasses enjoyed across the last century, at today’s finest bars, and with this new conscious redesign, well into the future. With a proud history worn right on its new burgundy design, Chivas takes drinkers back through decades of whiskey-craft with every sip – as ready to innovate now as they were over a hundred years ago.
Here’s a primer on how the original family owned business took root, and how they eventually lent their name to the world’s most-loved Scotch whiskey.
The Speyside Story
The valleys of Speyside, Scotland have been settled by ancient civilizations as far back as two millennia ago – the lush climate and landscape lent itself well to wheat production across the centuries, cementing its future reputation as the world’s greatest whiskey destination.
One of these iconic relics can be found in the form of Strathisla Distillery. Founded in 1796, it’s the oldest continuously operating producer of scotch whiskey in the world – and the home ground of Chivas Regal, in which Strathisla single malt remains a key component.
Despite this long-lasting heritage, it actually took quite a while for Chivas to become the world-renown whiskey it is today. Initially establishing a grocery, James Chivas decided to use the store’s cellar to lay down a set of whiskey casks – aiming to craft a batch of high-quality aged whiskey.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Crossing the Atlantic
By the turn of the century, both brothers had passed on – but not without leaving behind a thriving whiskey empire named after them.
By 1900, over 82.5 million liters of grain whiskey was churned out of Scotland each year as the reputation of Scotch whiskey rose. Cautiously optimistic, the Chivas Brothers company recruited marketing agents, and sent them stateside to report back with a detailed analysis of the US liquor market.
A booming economy, paired with a newfound lust for style and decadence seemed evident in the burgeoning nightlife scene of New York City – and Chivas was ready to capitalize on this.
Soon, Chivas finally launched their iconic 25-year aged Chivas Regal. As the oldest blended scotch whiskey of its era, Chivas 25 became an overnight sensation in the US – paving the way for the brand’s eventual rise as the world’s first, oldest, and most popular luxury whiskey.
Chivas In Contemporary Times
Today, Chivas Regal is the most sought-after blended Scotch across Europe and Asia Pacific – you can come across the brand new bottle design in over 150 countries across the globe.
Apart from replacing the classic silver-gold colors with a rich burgundy, Chivas has also redesigned their ‘luckenbooth’ crest as pictured above – an old Scottish emblem representing passion, camaraderie, and goodwill.
“This is a colossal change for the brand, that seeks to introduce the new
generation of Chivas drinkers to vibrant choices,” shared Pernod Ricard India’s Kartik Mohindra.
“The new design adds boldness, modernity and a bit of flash to the iconic and timeless heritage of Chivas.”
(Featured Image Credits: Pernod Ricard India)