Ouzo production

Ouzo dimino – what a bad name for a drink!

ouzo museum lesvos

“Dimino” in greek means “every two months”.  Seems a rather bad name for ouzo, but here is a useful text about the Production Methods:   (Pardon the Google translation slip ups!)

“Small and big secrets of ouzo

Lisvori anise “Pimpinella anisum“, fennel “foeniculum vulgare miller“, the star anise, cinnamon, the coriander, cardamom (kakoules)  enter the ouzo making process stills to refine the spirit.

With ouzo, traditionally, the flavors are added through distilling the seeds in a solution of water and 100% ethyl alcohol from grape pomace.

The charm of the distillation

In traditional, hand crafted, copper stills we process  alcohol, grains and herbs for several hours. Then, the mixture is distilled and carefully controlled boiling and cooling the distillate. From the first distillation is separated and selected the “heart”, the most tasty part of the distillate, which is distilled a second time (redistillation) slowly with continuous inspection and testing. Before the double distilled “heart” is bottled, dilluted with soft water to ouzo, to obtain the desired alcoholic strength.

The clear spirit condusive to a smooth and sweet ouzo 100% distilled and aged for two months to tie all the flavors and give you the great taste.

The success of the recipe depends on the copper, the size and type of stills. The alcohol and aromatic plants will be added to determine final aroma and taste of the distillate. Each distiller has his own secret. That is the type and proportion of aromatic seeds used. Even in different fractions of the distillate to be used, the extraction prior to distillation, the size of the stills, etc.”

Note that the process referred to above as “the heart of the ouzo” during distillation is what has now become the first premium ouzo brand, called “Adolo” by the same company that makes the No1 Plomari – Isidoros Arvanitis ouzo.

Ouzo around the world

Ouzo branding case study

Ouzo brands marketing and bottle design
A new category - premium ouzo brands - in Adolo by Plomari

There are many different ouzo brands and the competition is fierce.   So it is interesting when a “new” product comes along.   Even more so when it proposes an unused, yet traditional method of production and unique marketing and bottling.   Quoting from the branding experts that put the whole thing together:

Ouzo brands marketing and bottle design
A new category - premium ouzo brands - in Adolo by Plomari

“Adolo” the best quality ouzo Isidoros Arvanitis could produce.

A pleasant smell of anise, mastic and fennel derives from this premium category ouzo, distilled by an innovative recipe that may change everything taken for granted until now, as far as ouzo flavor is concerned. It is a crystal clear liquid that brings a light sense of its smelling ingredients to the taster’s mouth. According to the myth, the history of ouzo began in late 19th century. Isidoros Arvanitis, from Plomari village, Lesvos island, experimented on various spirits using a lot of different herbs in order to create the “ouzo”. This myth reaches its peak nowadays, again at Plomari village, where the premium ouzo has been created. More over, Isidoros Arvanitis used to name  ”Adolo”, the best quality ouzo he could produce, offering it only to his friends.


Discovering  the premium version of the No. 1 spirit of Greece. The challenge of branding a traditional product for a premium audience.

After the branding success of Ouzo Plomari, the leading Greek spirit drink , Yalos was commissioned to brand its new premium version, called “Adolo”.Our target audience are, opinion leaders who dare to challenge themselves with new choices. The retail environments, are a selection of contemporary bars, gourmet restaurants and of course, glamorous parties. ”Adolo” is a really special spirit, subject to three stages of distillation in order to keep the most valuable part of “the core”. Since, packaging has been proven to be one of the most critical factors in the marketing efforts and ultimate success of a spirit brand, Yalos implemented its expertise packaging design on three axes:

  • Transforming the traditional character of the well established brand of Ouzo Plomari, to an upmarket visual impact.
  • Harmonising the experience of the elegant flavouring of the spirit, with the shape of a crystal clear elegant bottle.
  • Incorporating the visual elements of the distillery brass kettle and hence delivering the look & feel of copper.

Thus creating the first premium ouzo brand of  Greece.



Business Communication

Follow your bliss: branding is storytelling as an archetype

Heinrich Zimmer was a man with a mission.  You don’t need a guru, he said, you need to find an archetypal myth that applies to your situation and live it through.  His knowledge of Hindu mythology allowed him to interpret works of art through archetypes.  Very Jung-like of him and he greatly influenced my favourite thinker on the subject, Joseph Campbell.

It is a fairly straightforward theory: any story can be categorized in a specific archetypal myth.   A myth that is told and retold since the beginning of human storytelling.  Any journey, be it Lord of the Rings or Rocky IV, has twelve stages.  Ordinary World, Call to Adventure, Refusal of the Call, Meeting with the Mentor and so on.  Much like Jung in “Man and his symbols” demonstrated that signs from the swastika to a snake eating it’s tail have followed homo sapiens from his very beginning.  (Great inspiration for logos!)  You can pick a fight with Jung’s last work easily.  Is a lion the same potent symbol today as it was back when I really did fear getting eaten by one daily?  A dragon now that we now all about dinosaurs?  Any symbol in a technologically advanced world which throws any image around the internet and on TV at a breakneck speed?

But you can’t argue with mythological archetypes.  Why?  Because what makes us human is the search for meaning.  Arguably without that, there are no emotions.  And without emotions, there is no marketing.  So, like Zimmer, I say “don’t look for brand gurus”. Follow your bliss and find the myth that applies to your brand.  And the stage it is at.  Start up?  You have seen it a thousand times in those films where a young person suddenly gets thrown into a big adventure.  It seems impossible at first, daunting.  But we learn about his pedigree.  (Good excuse for our brand’s origins.)  Then he finds allies (other companies we are working with) or mentors (brand endorsers).  We are routing for him.  Then we learn about his nemesis.  You can make it specific (“we hate Microsoft” seems to be popular!) or generic “untidy offices drive me mad!”

Myth provides a safe, reliable route to follow.  One that consumers can relate to.  Because the biggest enemy of brand building is incongruity.  Our brains just can’t handle information that seems to make no sense.  Just like in film making or book writing, just because you are following an archetype, doesn’t mean you can’t embelish it, or decide where to place emphasis.  But using well known symbols gives the larger than life effect every brand needs to gain mind share.

Straightfoward stuff.  Now my teaser question: who do you want telling your story?

Business Communication Technology

Brand building and social media

I took the time to get to know a superb team of brand builders today, has a sample of their work through sadly not a lot of the more recent stuff.  They know what they are good at and they really focus on those details of a brand that matter, especially in packaging.  It got me thinking about all the social media so called brand building.

In essence you need to know three things to start with: who do you want to get into your net?(work) What gets onto your customers radars?  (Rather pointless these days to talk about media ‘consumption’.)  And where does the rest of your team fit into this effort?  (Your employees or anyone else you feel is on your side.)

It seems self evident to say you need a target but with social media this is not an easy task.  It isn’t a box sitting on a shelf, limited in many respects in its effects.  It bridges PR, community, investors and any other partnership in ways so complex it is infuriating to try and explain many times.   In normal brand building, people like the fantastically able people at Yalos make sure that everything is perfect.  The best possible take on all aspects of the brand.  In social media we are battling to achieve a degree of transparency which is almost in opposition with classic testimonials or case studies.  We are looking for a convincing ‘person’ of a brand.

And this ‘person’ cannot be driven by a single entity.  It has to be the live sum total of customers’ living with the brand.  But as clear as they are conversing with a friend.   Except they aren’t sitting down to share a coffee and a long chat.  They are saying ‘hi’ as they pass each other in the supermarket, ‘how are you’ as they pick up their kids from school and ‘we should get together some time’ as they sit next to each other for five minutes at basketball practice.   That’s life today, even with ‘normal’ regular real people friends!

Let me be clear about one thing: for most companies I wouldn’t dream of putting up anything on a social network that can be demolished.  I recently witnessed the online bashing of , what seemed a much promising eshop type venture in Greece with serious levels of investment.  Their facebook page had all the right ingredients but once the complaints started, it seems impossible to put a lid on the hell it let loose!  You can’t delete a comment you don’t like, everyone will know instantly.    Server problems?  Delays?  Confusion?  Even if they were perfect from the start they would have been in for it.  When behemoths like P&G are struggling to make sense of it all you know we have a challenge.

And I have the solution.  Stay tuned!