Posted on | March 27, 2013
Written by | W.R. Tish
With so many vodkas competing for attention, points of distinction have never been more important. Hangar One Vodka is making a multifaceted bid to stand out from the crowd, with a unique story, brand-new packaging and flavors that strike a balance between exotic and familiar.
The Hangar One creation process starts with fresh fruit transported directly from small farms via blimp—yes, Hangar One has its own blimp!—to the distillery, which is set in a decommissioned World War II Naval Air Station aircraft hangar in Alameda, CA.
True to its handcrafted mission, Hangar One is independent and family owned, allowing for total control of the distilling process. The fruit that arrives at the hangar is distilled the very same day in a single Holstein copper still, small batch by small batch, to produce unparalleled texture and flavor.
The key to the flagship “Straight” vodka rests both in the method and the ingredients. The base fruit is grapes—Viognier, to be precise—skin, stems, seeds and all. This grape has low acid and amazing fruit and floral aromas; this combination takes the harsh ethanol bite right out of the spirit while imparting a sweet, smooth, satisfying feel. The Viognier eau de vie is then blended with spirit made from midwestern wheat to make a perfectly balanced, fruity, “straight” vodka.
Proof that Hangar One’s time-intensive, handmade process yielded exceptional quality was immediate: the brand was named vodka of the year by three separate magazines when it was first released in 2002. The recognition set the stage for experimentation that would yield truly distinctive variations—vodkas of flavor, not simply flavored—in addition to the Straight.
The flavors that made the cut, ultimately earning the Hangar One label, were: Mandarin Blossom, Buddha’s Hand Citron, Kaffir Lime and Maine Wild Blueberry. And now the entire line is enjoying a
Fresh New Look
Hangar One has just revealed new packaging, evoking the brand’s experimental process and handcrafted heritage. The meticulous artisanal production methods actually inspired Hangar One’s new look, featuring an apothecary-style bottle with embossed measurements along the side and a black stopper cap, reminiscent of a measuring beaker.
The labels are distinctively printed, giving them a crafted feel and each incorporating a small story about the flavor variety. The labels also feature hand-drawn visuals for each offering. Both the bottle and labels were designed by Stranger & Stranger, a leading packaging design firm based in New York and London.
Their release late this winter across the U.S. coincided with a new website for the brand with a minimalist approach. The website and the advertising were done by creative agency The Made Shop from Denver, CO.
In retrospect, it is accurate to call Hangar One a forefather of the craft distilling movement in the United States. The Hangar One distillers are dedicated to producing the very best spirits, using real fruit and ingredients, one batch at a time. Hangar One Vodka is 80 proof, retails for $29.99 and is available nationally. The hangarone.com website features more details, including recipes.