Great Jones Distilling Co.

Proximo Spirits

A brand to represent the best of New York

In 1900 there were hundreds of distilleries in New York making bourbon, whiskey, brandy and more. In 1920, Prohibition wiped every one of them off the map. Fast forward to 2018 and Proximo Spirits decide the time is right to bring the craft of distilling right back into the heart of the city.  With a name and a building in lower Manhattan pinpointed – they now needed an understanding of how the brand could be experienced; specifically, within its new home.  

Bringing the craft of distilling back to the heart of New York

The client team and a number of stakeholders had already developed certain features of the project. A name, an idea for the bottle shape, a location. But there was no strategic direction, nothing to guide design, activity or communication – no glue for the brand. We first established the brand narrative then designed the concept that would express the brand experience. This strategy was to become the guidance for how the brand would come to life across every touchpoint of the brand home and in the bourbon itself. 

We delved deep into the aims and ambitions of the venture to uncover a previously unspoken ambition – to create a brand that would truly represent the best of New York, the city and beyond. This became the purpose for the entire brand and we needed to bring creative partners along on the journey; help them feel the energy and conviction of the brand that they would convey through their own specialisms. 

Working from the agreed narrative, we plotted out the Great Jones customer journey across every touchpoint in the distillery, exploring how the brand purpose would align with the vision for the dining experience, signature serves, tasting experiences and the reveal of the speakeasy bar. 

We created a tour script encompassing every step of the distillation experience to be used in staff training, purposefully bringing to life the connection of the whiskey’s rural provenance with the glamorous surroundings of its Manhattan home.  

Creating a Distillery in an existing building in the residential hub of Manhattan was an incredible logistical challenge. Still, every detail of the Great Jones experience has been considered and delivered to brand strategy. 

Our programme on this project included the articulation of the brand essence – ‘grand and grit’ – giving direction to the graphic language and visual aids that complement the luxurious art deco interior and communicate the grind of the city and the earthiness of the rural provenance.  

We made recommendations on every detail of the experience including: music curation for each space; thematic and specific recommendations of artworks to be displayed throughout the main visitor areas; printed materials from stationery to restaurant menus; staff uniforms; the spirit safe design; the layout and location of retail space and even the merchandise strategy. 

Each of these elements was considered through the lens of creating a brand home that would become as much of a neighbourhood ‘go to’ as a NYC must have experience.  

Finally opening its doors in 2021, Great Jones Distillery, in lower Manhattan, now truly celebrates the glamour and the bustle of New York City – with all its gritty history and endeavour embedded in its very bricks and mortar. 

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