• Transform magazine
  • March 26, 2017

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Whisky branding, distilled

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London has long been a gin city; an ale city. It wasn’t until 1964 that it started on its way to becoming a whisky city. Despite the vast network of whisky distilleries scattered throughout the British Isles, London is still new to embracing whisky in the same way it embraces gin and tonics.

Milroys of Soho seeks to change that. The narrow shop in Soho’s Greek Street has aimed to bring single malt whisky to the masses since it opened its doors 52 years ago. The shop’s bars teem with unusual, rare and interesting whisky bottles and its owners and bartenders are unfailingly knowledgeable about the water of life. (Tastings with Milroys are revelatory and intriguing.)

As part of the reinvigoration of the shop, Milroys has released four own brand whiskies sourced from a variety of distilleries across Scotland and presented as single malts and blends, of all ages. Good Agency, a London- and Glasgow-based firm with much experience in the drinks sector, took on the challenge of crafting the new Milroys brand and packaging.

“Milroys’ story is integral to the story of Scottish whisky and helped create the market in London as we know it today. The brand has a fantastic history of making whisky available and accessible, and its new owners are continuing that tradition in great style,” Good MD Natalie Maher says.

The result is timeless. The classic bottle shape evokes chemists’ glass vials and the individually hand stamped rubber mark crosses the individual bottle number of each whisky. Information is delivered cleanly and the Milroys wordmark is able to stand out in an all caps serif that feels at once part of its sector and like something off a high end makeup shelf.

The packaging varies for each of the four whiskies through colour and labelling, a facet which allows for growth and variation in the future. But essentially, the new brand is still about bringing whisky to the masses. The individually sourced whiskies are not the standard Glenfidditches and Jamesons available behind every bar across the UK. Their unusual nature allows Milroys to share its knowledge with the world. The newly renovated bar is designed to inspire tastings and share the world of whisky with veteran or rookie partakers.

Martyn 'Simo' Simpson, owner and executive director of Milroys says, “Our new look perfectly captures what Milroys is all about. It’s modern, solid and beautifully crafted. The elements work together – as on our packaging – but also are beautiful independently. We want to appeal to both the whisky connoisseur but also to the novice who wants to try something for the first time. Our brand now matches our attitude and ambition, and we can’t wait to enter the next era of Milroys of Soho.”

The Greek Street bar, at the centre of it all, is still there, bringing whisky to the masses.