Far Shore Merchants Case Study

The voyage of discovery…


Proof that we put our money where our mouth is, when our founder Terry co-founded Far Shore Merchants, he knew exactly who to ask to help launch it: Ashgrove Marketing. We were tasked

to develop a strategic brand positioning, creative concept direction including packaging design and a go-to-market sales and communications strategy. Working with a specialist craft distillery to blend and distil ultra-premium rum Far Shore Merchants were looking to take advantage at the early stages of the fast-growing UK rum category. To underpin this premium quality product range, we needed to research compelling and captivating back stories that would capture the consumer’s imagination and support a premium quantity product.

Approach to packaging design

We had a good understanding of the packaging design factors that would make a liquor brand stand out in a very cluttered environment. Three very distinctive target audiences were identified to inform the design direction and, after much research into fables and legendary back stories set in the late 1700s and early 1800s, we decided to capture the essence of the design styling of that period.

We collaborated with a very talented and experienced illustrator who was able to capture that period’s design style perfectly. The three brands share exactly the same label layout with only their unique illustrations, brand names and colour palates as differentiating factors.

For a fourth rum, Blåk Byrd Coffee Liqueur, we worked with another local illustrator and artist who masterfully captured the label design in lino cut. This was a unique stand-alone brand, and we drew inspiration from the Viking folklore of “Odin’s Ravens” and as such created two versions of the ravens depicted on label.

Our approach to brand positioning

For the flagship Peggy Dark Rum, we naturally positioned it in the world of sailing to reflect its connection to a famous boat that was built in 1789 and whose history was rumoured to have included smuggling. This allowed Far Shore Merchants to take advantage of the intrigue associated with the real ship and helped them to reach the slightly older, mainly male audience as well as the yachting and other sports communities.

Jackdaw Cave Spiced Rum is targeted at a gender neutral and younger audience and the brand image for this product is more adventurous and fun, but still involved in the nautical pursuits such as scuba diving, kite surfing, kayaking, etc.

Windsong White Rum is a premium white rum that is aimed at mixologist who are looking to create cocktails where the rum is the hero ingredient. This is moving away from the idea that the rum was simply there to provide the alcohol. As a result, we are predominantly targeting a female audience who are more inclined to enjoy adventurous cocktails. This brand also fits the laidback lifestyle of surfing and cosy beach BBQs with close friends.

In what is a crowded marketplace, we were keen to develop powerful messaging that could be used in a constant chain of communication both in-store and via social media platforms. We were also conscious that Far Shore Merchants would need support in calibrating these brand messages as they entered new markets around the world.


The pack design was an award-wining triumph with all four brands receiving a Gold Medal in the Design and Packaging Masters Awards.

The results speak for themselves. Sales have consistently been 75% over the Far Shore Merchants’ initial projection. The expansion program into the UK is six months ahead of plan due to customers contacting the business after seeing the range in a carefully targeted social media campaign and in various industry publications. The brands are listed on Amazon, Master of Malt, The Rum Company, The Rum Shop and Threshers with a very healthy rate of sale in the UK. In addition, the Far Shore Merchants has secured export orders to South Africa and Belgium with New Zealand and Australia to follow.