Chad Michael Studio Helps Mayhaven Bring Their "Spirit Of Enlightenment" To Life

by Casha Doemland on 02/19/2019 | 4 Minute Read

Headquartered in Outaouais, a region of western Quebec, Canada, is Artist in Residence (AiR), an ultramodern distillery that enjoys disrupting the status quo and reaching for the stars. As the region's first distillery, they’ve already crafted Vodkalight, and Waxwing Gin, two spirits that are sure to get you through those unbearably cold, Canadian winters.

They’ve also released Mayhaven, a ginger liqueur with packaging design by Chad Michael Studio that celebrates the brand’s “spirit of enlightenment.”

We reached out to Chad Michael to discuss his latest design along with Joanie Benoit and Pierre Mantha of AiR to learn all about the project and artisanal methods used to create their concoctions.


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What's the inspiration behind Mayhaven? Why did you choose to create this spirit?

Joanie Benoit: Our Mayhaven ginger liqueur is what we call the "Spirit of Enlightenment" as it represents the limitless spirit of AiR Distillerie. Our new ginger liqueur represents for us the surreal, the abstract, the beautiful and the modern as a whole. It represents the artistic soul, the artisanal methods and the hyper-local ingredients that AiR Distillerie holds in high esteem. Its composition and the design of the product demonstrates the mysterious and seductive side of the liquor in relation to its distinctive taste.  

Pierre Mantha: It is also the very first ginger liqueur made in Canada and the main reason why we choose to create this product because it is unique. At AiR Distillerie, we want to innovate and create out of the box products to be distinctive.

For design, how did you go from start to finish on this project?

Chad Michael: With a perfect project, the client approaches me with nothing—so the name, concept, design, bottle selection, and print decisions are all in my court. What artist doesn't love a blank canvas?

With Mayhaven, research, copywriting, and narrowing in on the brand story and attitude came first. There is no right way to do this. Is there a visual hole in the market? Is there a story or perspective no company has explored yet? Sometimes while researching the concept unveils itself, whether it's from a single image, an overarching idea or a concept birthed from the name.

It started with a slogan—the spirit of enlightenment—which relates to the product and how it makes one feel upon consumption.

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This lead to questions like, what does enlightenment look like? So, we burrowed into research about the galaxies, geometry, meditation and astral planes. All of which leads us further into visual research and then rough sketching.

The name showed itself shortly afterward. Created through a combination of different words, "may" meaning possibilities and "haven" meaning oasis.

Finally, it was a deep exploration of design with many internal design rounds until a gut feeling emerged saying "this is it, you can stop now."

How did you create branding for "The Spirit of Enlightenment"?

Chad Michael: Spirit brands succeed when others come into the marketplace and do something different. Whether it's the actual design, bottle structure or the concept behind it, something needs to be done to stand out from the noise.

With Mayhaven, the idea of being enlightened by the act of drinking a liqueur had not yet been done, at least not to the level I wanted to take it to. A brand built around enlightenment, serenity and an out of body experience had to have extremely long legs, graphically.

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Can you walk us through the distilling process and the artisanal methods used?

Joanie Benoit: The name of our distiller is David Bérubé. He's our liquid designer behind the conception of our Mayhaven ginger liqueur.

For the conception of our Mayhaven, we use our neutral grain alcohol that is made in house at the distillery distilled in copper pot stills with a combination of our natural spring water and 100% Canadien grains. We then add to the amount of alcohol to the following ingredients to finalize our recipe: lime, ginger, cayenne pepper and sugar. The solution is then mixed to obtain a homogeneous liquor. The product is subsequently filtered before being bottled.

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What's the flavor profile of the spirit?

Pierre Mantha: Mayhaven is a ginger liqueur with a touch of lime that is distinguished by its vivid golden color. Sweet on the move with an energetic and spicy finish with hints of ginger and lime. Delicious and sweet on the palate, round and expansive, with a lovely ginger and lime flavor and a crescendo finish with a slightly spicy heat that balances the roundness of the approach. To taste alone, on ice, with a slice of lime or in a cocktail.





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