Tapì’s advice on how to choose the right closure for your product
Selecting the perfect closure for your distillate can be far from straight forward. There are a variety of considerations – from the type of product to reaching your target market.
Before we look at each variable in turn, though, we need to take a step backwards. Closures are not just a bottle cap. They should be able to preserve the liquid without any impact to its taste or flavour. And as it forms an integral part of your product’s packaging, it shouldn’t and mustn’t be left to chance. It should be aesthetically in-keeping with the other packaging elements and fit with the messaging intended for your potential customers.
Now that’s covered, let’s look at how to select the perfect closure for your premium or superpremium distillate.
The first thing to consider is the type of distillate you intend to produce. For liqueurs and spirits, the oxygen barrier is not a key factor, but it should still be good enough to protect the product in the bottle from any external factors such as high temperatures. This particular issue merits significant consideration, given that heat can make the liquid expand, increasing the pressure within the space where the liquid is held. This can lead to the closure being pushed upwards resulting aesthetic damage and product leakage. And, as noted in the introduction, closures should always guarantee that no interference with the liquid has taken place, as well as contributing to the overall look of the product.
Closures known as ‘T closures’ ensure an optimal balance between aesthetic appeal and technical performance – ideal for the premium and super-premium sector. And Tapì has established itself and developed its position in this area over the last 20 years. This kind of closure takes its name directly from its shape. They have a leg – which is inserted into the neck of the bottle – and a head – the external part that does not come into contact with the liquid.
This structure allows the head to be made from any sort of material. Wood, plastic, aluminium, ceramic are some of the most commonly used by Tapì. But we do design closures on request, or use our cutting-edge production methods, as we do for Abor which is made from distillation process waste products. Naturally, any part of the head can be customised – from the perspective of colour, printing, engraving, embossing, laser work, heat branding and with various types of insert.
The leg can also be made from different types of material. The ones we use the most are synthetic polymers – or biopolymers. They are perfect for avoiding transfer issues which can happen when substances like cork are combined with clear spirits.
The alcohol acts like a solvent and can extract large quantities of poly phenols from the cork. And more specifically tannins that can result in the clear liquid taking on a yellow colour and spoiling the product.
This is exactly why synthetic legs are among the most well used. This doesn’t mean that cork is not suitable for T-closure leg construction, in fact, at Tapì, we use it for darker spirits that have usually been aged. And of course, there’s always the middle ground, known specifically as the micro-agglomerated leg. This ‘hybrid’ solution is a compromise between cork and synthetic materials.
Context and target market
As we’ve already mentioned, closures are a highly significant element that is part of product packaging. So, when it comes to the premium and super-premium spirits segment, it’s really important to select a closure that can blend functionality and design. And this is where the variables of context and target market come to the fore.
The idea, more specifically, is connected to the perception of quality for a given product. Packaging as a whole is a key purchase lever. And for this reason, it’s important that each individual element fits in with the rest and expresses the brand’s key messages.
One example would be a distillate produced through sustainable methods, selected raw materials and uniquely linked to the product’s region of origin. A product like this could use a closure designed similarly to Abor – its production process designed by Tapì involves the recovery of distillation waste products that would otherwise go to landfill. By choosing Abor this opens up so much potential for storytelling – namely talking about the product’s origins without forgetting the immense value of its eco-friendly design which underpins this closure’s production process. Equally, a product that’s positioned in the luxury segment – with stylish, distinctive packaging – could do well to marry up with a closure featuring a ceramic head, perhaps even decorated with an aged-wood effect.
So, as we have seen, context is key to the effective positioning a product within its niche market. And the perception of value conveyed to the market is equally important in determining the success or failure of a liqueur or distillate.
The right choice of closure also depends on the bottle used for your distillate. The best way to come to a decision is to test out a few closure samples with your filled bottle to find out which has the best fit.
If this is out of the question, then you’ll need to work from the technical designs from the glassmaker who made the bottle, which is usually provided at purchase.
In general, these details will ensure an optimum fit and avoid any liquid leakage. Clearly, there are other factors that may influence your choice such as shape of the neck of the bottle. For this reason, it’s essential to follow our advice about trying out a few samples before making your final choice.
A final note
The recommendations listed are suggested based on our experience. In any case, we advise the assessment of all the elements and factors involved – bottle, product type, fill level and the packaging as a whole.