Butterfly Cannon Create Diageo India’s First Sustainable, Artisan Single Malt Whisky

Diageo in India were looking to expand their home-grown spirits portfolio and redefine preconceptions about the quality of Indian whisky, by creating a locally produced, artisan single malt that would be desired by modern luxury whisky buyers. We saw the opportunity to create a brand from the ground up that would use its distinctive local origins to put Indian craft spirits on the global map, whilst radically redefining the world of whisky and what luxury stands for.

Over the course of an epic Indian research trip to the distillery’s home in Rajasthan, we were left awestruck by the vibrant culture and exquisite craft of the region, all born out of a land of scarcity that is essentially a barren desert. The distillery and its whisky stood testament to this ethos of “beauty in scarcity”; sourcing local 6-row barley, bred to conserve precious water and for a superior, bolder taste, using the scorching desert temperatures to optimise maturation, before finishing in casks infused with Indian botanicals.
We knew that if we could capture this incredible spirit of Rajasthan in our brand, we would succeed. And so, Godawan, ‘The Spirit Of The Desert’, came to be. Named after the rare and endangered state bird of Rajasthan; a fitting symbol for a brand that IS Rajasthan – an extraordinary place with a distinctive character that is creatively ingenious, fiercely devoted to nurturing the land and renowned for meticulous craftsmanship and passion.
Full of exquisite details, our brand world and design language champions the unparalleled craftsmanship of Rajasthan and the way beauty can extraordinarily bloom in the extremes of the desert. Refined textures, bring a sense of time and space, ensuring a premium look and feel. Natural sandstone contrasted with pops of vibrant bringing the necessary modernity.
The Godawan bird takes centre stage both on and off-pack, heroed in a beautifully hand-drawn illustration, surrounded by the copy ‘born and nurtured in Rajasthan’ to become a seal of pride and quality. Our wordmark is a handcrafted, contemporary interpretation of a traditional Rajasthani typeface; emerging from a colour-blocked ‘line of origin’ that conveys the vast sense of space of the desert landscape.
A bespoke pattern, inspired by the local 6-row barley integral to the product’s creation, is used as a supporting asset. Embossed on pack, its intricate tactile details reflect the architecture and exquisite craft of Rajasthan. Whilst the layering of multiple labels on both the neck and central label communicates the artisan nature of the brand, ensuring it feels small-batch and local. Bottle and box designs are elegant echoes of one another. Launching with two expressions, ‘Rich & Rounded’ and ‘Fruit & Spice’, with further launches already planned, the master-brand identity was created to be able to subtly flex across an ever-growing portfolio: colour changes marking the difference in taste profiles.
The world of luxury is changing. Whilst luxury consumers still seek out rare indulgences, they want them to stand for something. We worked with the Diageo India brand team to ensure that there was a tangible commitment to both the land and people of Rajasthan – local ingredients, a water positive distillery, giving a platform to local artisans and every bottle of Godawan contributing to the conservation of the Great Indian Bustard.
In line with this spirit, we used our Conscious Design™ process to specify sustainable materials in line with its luxury credentials, such as Fedrigoni’s Materica Gesso for the label – an FSC certified stock with a percentage of recycled paper. We worked with Diageo India’s procurement team to ensure locally based suppliers were used wherever possible; including getting a locally sourced FSC board for the secondary packaging. No local Indian suppliers were FSC accredited at the start of the project, so this is a massive win.
‘The Spirit of the Desert’ informed our creation of Godawan’s brand world, tone of voice, key visuals, launch campaign, and brand activations such as serve rituals, brand ambassador & bartender toolkits, on & off-trade POS, digital and social media content and guidelines. All collected into a detailed brand book to allow a phased global rollout.
“It’s been an incredible journey to bring Godawan, Diageo India’s innovation in artisanal single malt whisky, to life and Butterfly Cannon has been there with us every step of the way. From creating the brand story to designing the brand identity, packaging and beyond, their exquisite work for Godawan reflects not only the region’s craftsmanship and ingenuity but also the commitment to sustainability and preservation of the land it comes from. They have been integral in ensuring that Godawan champions India as the next emerging destination for quality single malts as well as artisanal craft spirits.”
Vikram Damodaran, Chief Innovation Officer, Diageo India 
SourceButterfly Cannon & FAB News

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