Wine & Spirits

Handcrafted Design Makes Tanteo Tequila Appealing to Aficionados

Posted: March 6, 2009 by
Ron Romanik

Jonathan Rojewski, CEO of Tanteo Tequila, understands how important design is in creating a product, which is why he approached the package design of his new tequila with as much intensity as he approached the valuable liquid inside. His diligent research (including reading Package Design's September 2007 Cover Story on tequila bottle design) led him to find future partner Lincoln Mayne, an artist, brand consultant, and fashion designer.

Rojewski and Mayne met through a mutual friend two years ago when Rojewski's concept was in the formative stages. Rojewski envisioned a high-end tequila that would be hand-infused with flavors of Mexico such as Jalapeño, Chocolate, and a Tropical blend.

Purity and balance

Tanteo is a "blanco," or "young," tequila made from 100% blue agave and infused with carefully chosen quality raw ingredients for each flavor profile. Rojewski knew his fine tequila needed a meticulously developed design that would reflect the essence of the brand while creating a visual narrative of the product.

Mayne partnered with Rojewski, took the creative director role, and developed dozens of sketches of logos and packages to define Tanteo's brand personality. The natural flavor-infused tequila has both the allure of urban chic—born from its roots in Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood—and a reverence for the long-standing traditions of Mexico's national spirit.

Mayne created a logo that is a successful blend of traditional and modern design. "My philosophy of design is always bringing opposites together," says Mayne. With its handwritten lettering and splattered inkblots, the Tanteo bottle presents a handcrafted, artisan feel, while ghost-written lettering and subtle variations of blue shades give it a sophisticated, contemporary air.

Mayne calls the color palette "celebratory," with the aquas and blues creating "cooling" effect. Beside the green for the jalapeño flavor, Mayne used purple for the chocolate flavor and orange for the tropical flavor. He believes the muted colors are subtle, not gaudy, and appear slightly sun-bleached. "The product is about the viewer," Mayne says. The goal was to create a package design look that invites further inspection, and let the view make the determination about the authenticity of the product.

Practicality and authenticity

Rojewski and Mayne steered clear of the squat bottle designs that are in vogue for handcrafted tequilas. They both believe the long bottle entices first-time viewers to pick it up. Mayne believes the bottle has both masculine shoulders and an artisanal approach without pretension. The bottle should offer an answer to a consumer's subconscious question: "Where does it come from?" Rojewski stresses, "If there's anything out of place, consumers will know it."

The Tanteo bottle is made in Mexico City on semi-automatic machines. The bottle has a good pouring balance and embossed rings around the neck provide a comfortable ergonomic grip. A classic wood and cork closure creates an airtight seal after use, and a hangtag tells more of the story of the brand and the process to create each flavor.

The naturally occurring bubbles in the handcrafted glass bottle showcase the artisan nature of the product. The Tanteo crest stamped in wax on the bottle shoulder unites the past with the present by exemplifying the attributes of the Aztec myth of the origin of tequila with the slogan Para La Buena Vida or "For the Good Life."

The embossed logo interpretation on the box is scattered, yet still very inviting, according to Mayne. The solid box construction allows for a pleasant and elegant "reveal," with tissue paper further protecting the bottle. Though the box is bolder than the bottle, Rojewski feels there is a symbiotic balance between them. "It's a complete experience for the consumer," says Rojewski, "and that's what they demand."