Backbar Studios

Monaghan, Ireland

Granuaile Irish Gin, with its roots firmly planted in the wild Atlantic coastline of Co. Mayo, derives its name from the mythical and legendary heroine Granuaille. Born into nobility and the daughter of a chieftain, she carved out a career trading botanicals from all over the world and successfully followed in the footsteps of an established seafaring family of traders. Also known as Grace O’Malley, ‘the pirate queen,’ her reputation for success and ambition, coupled with incredible charisma, fearlessness, and a daring nature, affords her the title of ‘a woman who broke the mould.’ It is this ‘breaking the mould’ that became our brief and our design inspiration for a bespoke bottle and brand concept. While her alter ego Grace O’Malley has lent her reputation to the ‘bolder side of whiskey,’ Granuaille was designed to express the softer and more feminine persona of this incredible and complex historical character.

A bespoke and unique ten-sided bottle became the starting point for this design concept, and upon this unique palette, we then explored imagery and symbolism, taking further inspiration from the fourteen key botanicals used in this exceptional gin. The desire for a bottle and a label design that expressed the idea of foraging became a theme. The difference, however, is that this is foraging along a wild and rugged Irish coastline, filled with botanical heather, wild thyme, red clover, blackthorn, and rock samphire, to name but a few.

The graduated color in the glass communicates the award-winning botanical that is wild heather. This not only gives a softness to the overall design, but it is also reflective of ribbed, textured, and colored medicine bottles popular in Victorian times. This was also about reflecting an Irishness, but in a less obvious way, and while there is a subtle nod to Celtic intertwined patterns and symmetry, this definitely feels more fresh and contemporary.

At the very center of the illustration, a heart can be seen as well as two hands embracing the heart. In Irish, Grá means love, and this also complements the name of the product, Granuaile Irish Gin, while the hands also refer to the truly handmade and handpicked nature of this product and its manufacturing process. Described as ‘Celtic alchemy meets Irish culture,’ we are very proud of this creation, in that it proves there is always a softer side to every heroine and great design can also speak with a softer voice.