Launched in 2005, Monkey Shoulder is a blended Scotch that aimed at the time to disrupt the market and bring the fun back into whisky for a new generation of connoisseurs. Blended from three different Scotch malts, the brand takes its name from the ‘mash men’ who used to spread malted barley from the whisky steeps on a concrete floor, where it had to be turned regularly for a week. Long shifts with the malt shovels caused many to develop repetitive strain injuries which left one arm hanging low like a monkey’s – hence, the term ‘monkey shoulder’ was coined.
Brand owners William Grant were already getting their now famous Monkey Shoulder badges from another company when Signet was invited to their premises to deliver a showcase event. We proactively created a sample badge to show the company and they were impressed; moreover they explained that due to unprecedented growth they were having to change the bottle style which would require refinement of the badge.
With no significant changes to the badge itself, the key to this project was Signet’s ability to bring added efficiency into the overall embellishment process. Affixing metal to glass can be tricky and we brought unique expertise to the equation, amending the design to include a groove location device on the reverse of the badge, as well as a rough texture to improve adhesion. Due to the positioning of the badge right on the curved shoulder of the bottle, and the delicate shape of the badge itself, precise curvature of each badge was essential to ensure good contact for the adhesive and also to facilitate automated application. Initially, a representative sample of the badges was checked against a manual jig to ensure they were within the required tolerance but, even one bent or twisted badge would jam up the automated application lines so we later moved to 3D scanning and now each and every Monkey Shoulder badge is scanned before being approved to proceed to the line.
The Monkey Shoulder brand has gone global and gained a cult following, particularly in France where it has successfully disrupted the market, positioning its blended Scotch as the hipster drink of choice. The Monkey Shoulder cement mixer has also been seen at events and festivals across Europe and the USA, dispensing cocktails and free shots! Signet’s commitment to ensuring that the brand could keep its distinctive look whilst moving to a high volume automated process has supported the brand’s growth, and we continue to supply badges numbering up to 8 million each year, which gives an indication of the massive success of this project.
Never under-estimate the impact of finish elements like a seal. It’s not always about print or labelling!