Du Nord Social Spirits

America's first (legal) Black-owned distillery*

Du Nord Social Spirits is a cause brand that doesn’t want to preach. A Black-owned brand with a diverse team. A social enterprise that’s product-first. It’s about what’s in the glass. Since 2013 Du Nord has distilled high quality spirits with a loyal local following. Then on May 25th 2020 George Floyd was murdered on their block. Riots erupted. The was world changed. Their team was changed. Du Nord was changed.

“From all this, we had a choice: go back to business as usual, or build something better from the ashes of what was.” — Du Nord’s Founders. From the fury came the fuel for change – an industry, a neighborhood, a world. And a brand. Working with the founders and their team of self-described misfits, it became clear that Du Nord Craft Spirit’s current brand, although not broken, didn’t accurately reflect or communicate who they had become and would continue to grow into. Du Nord is dedicated in equal parts to premium high quality spirits and fostering diversity in their industry and beyond. They are social in manner and mission.

To start, we implemented a subtle but hard-working name change from Du Nord Craft Spirits to Du Nord Social Spirits. Du Nord had no affinity for the liquor vernacular of the good ol’ days. In fact, they didn’t even see themselves represented in the past. So we looked forward and around us for inspiration and vision. What resulted was a reinvented premium, modern brand built on a bold, outspoken platform, making it possible for Du Nord to step up and speak out. To put a small push into the arc of progress. This comes through in the bold hand-painted text, reflective of everyman yet speaking to the careful craft which is inherent in their distilling process. The overlapping labels and photos are inspired by wheat-pasted posters amplifying the voice of the streets around them. Protest or art. Bold and expressive while refined and cultivated – like a good cocktail. Real good booze that does real good.

Thanks to Julie Kucinski, our strategy/writing partner, Ken Friberg Photography for capturing the diverse vision, and to Kellie Schneider for working with us on their website. Click here to see the branding before and afters.

* Why “America’s first (legal) Black-owned distillery? Du Nord didn’t set out for this title and wish it wasn’t possible to claim. The fact is many incredible spirits were expertly distilled by Black folks all the way back. They were erased. In 2013 when Du Nord opened their distillery, they saw no other Black or Brown faces in the industry. Du Nord decided to help change that in the hopes that someday those they’ve helped will exceed them.

Werner Design Werks
1229 Payne Ave
Saint Paul, MN 55130

(651) 291-2660