The Real Kombucha
The goal was to achieve a more natural-looking label with the texture and feel of a premium effect, similar to champagne.
With a growing trend for health and wellness, low or alcohol-free beverages are experiencing a rise in popularity. We spoke with David Begg, founder of Real Kombucha about the inspiration behind the product and the recent rebrand.
Real Kombucha was launched in early 2016, when founder David Begg gave up drinking. A big lover of food, David found he missed the joy of pairing great wine with great food, and noticed non-drinkers were not catered for in any serious, sophisticated manner. When a friend introduced him to an earthy, rich, oolong kombucha, he realized there might be a real alternative.
What is kombucha?
Kombucha is fermented tea. It is a combined yeast and bacterial fermentation that results in a drink that is slightly tart, has a very small trace of alcohol (left over from the yeast fermentation) and only a small amount of remaining sugar.
The great thing about kombucha as a sophisticated non-alcoholic alternative is that it closely represents its alcoholic cousins. Different from soft drinks, the fermentation process for making kombucha is very similar to beer or wine. And unlike non-alcoholic beers or wines, it is naturally non-alcoholic so there is no need for a secondary process to remove the alcohol. It results in a drink that has all the complexity of an alcoholic drink, but none of the headache.
Explain the inspiration behind the rebrand
We wanted to express two juxtaposed views, and how they come together in what we make, what we believe in, and how we express ourselves.
Firstly, Real Kombucha is raw, open, expressive, sensual, and primal. To brew REAL, we take a single tea plant – a single variety, that has been on this earth for probably millions of years – and we ferment it using a natural fermentation, involving wild yeasts and wild bacteria that are likely to have evolved at the dawning of time. There is nothing more basic and primal than that.
To express the raw nature of our origins, we took our lead from primal art. A single brush stroke, large and bold, like a scream in the dark. Emboldened further by a flash of bright colors that jump out at you.
Our logo takes influences from Chinese Chops or Japanese Inkans as a mark of quality or authenticity. Artists often carve their own intricate and ornate chops that are both a strong representation of their own personality, and very difficult to forge. And with this they sign their work. As do we…
REAL exists for a purpose, to change the way the world drinks, to encourage us to make better choices and to inspire us all to be more conscious in our consumption. Tucked into the corners of our bold bottle imagery you’ll find another layer, this time of alternating messages, that hopefully challenge us to become a little more activist and make a positive change in the world.
The goal was to achieve a more natural-looking label with the texture and feel of a premium effect, similar to champagne. It was also essential the label could achieve good ice bucket performance, hence MCC chose a premium paper substrate for its durability as well as high-quality appearance.
Hot foiling areas were carefully chosen to highlight and contrast clean lines with the more rugged printed areas. Additional embellishments such as embossing, matte varnish and cold foil on the neck labels allowed us to achieve the design and effects David and his designers required. The team at MCC worked closely with the designers at Butterfly Cannon during the pre-press stage to ensure we could hit the vibrancy they were looking for.
This project was very technically challenging from an application perspective as the label was being adhered to a moisture-covered bottle following cold fill. The emboss areas allowed moisture to stay behind the label causing both lifting and bubbling. Plain trials were held at the bottlers where our Application Support Engineers were present to lend support.
It was a genuine collaboration between MCC and Real. From our first meeting, we rolled up our sleeves, pulled apart the various ideas that we were trying to express, and worked out the solutions that were required to deliver them. MCC have become a real creative partner in the process, rather than a manufacturer.
The MCC team is genuinely solution-driven. Producing this label has not been without its challenges. But at all times, MCC has been as invested as we are in getting a label that meets a really demanding creative brief, performs technically in a challenging environment, and comes in on time and budget. It has been a thoroughly positive experience.
Hopefully the result speaks for itself. I feel that we have produced a label that has all the hallmarks of quality that you expect to see in our alcoholic sparkling cousins, but with the attitude of the upstart that we are. Just as we set out to achieve.
However, the work never stops, and MCC continues to be proactive about suggesting improvements and working on tweaks. So it only gets better.
MCC has been as invested as we are in getting a label that meets a really demanding creative brief, performs technically in a challenging environment, and comes in on time and budget. It has been a thoroughly positive experience.
David Begg, Founder, Real Kombucha