“The Jigger & Pony Group’s mission is to help our guests find comfort, forge friendships and share happiness ─ they may not be able to do this physically at one of our bars as often as we all used to before the COVID-19 pandemic, but we want to keep this alive for our guests in the comfort of their homes. “ – Sarah Tsang, Brand Manager, Jigger & Pony Group in Singapore. One of the world’s best bars in Singapore is bringing the bar experience to your home. Handcrafted by bartenders from Jigger & Pony (No. #1 on Asia’s 50 Best Bars, No. #9 on World’s 50 Best Bars 2020), PONY is a new premium bottled cocktail brand. The team behind PONY, Brand Manger Sarah Tsang and Principal Bartender Gento Torigata tell us more.
Creating food packaging that stands out isn’t easy. Can you tell us more about the typography of PONY, design packaging and concept?
Sarah: For PONY’s packaging design, we wanted to create something that conveyed both craftsmanship and conviviality. We achieved this through the illustrations of bartender’s hands, signifying a product made with great care and attention to detail.
As PONY is also a brand created by the Jigger & Pony Group, we wanted to link back some design elements to the bar:
The PONY logo features triangular shapes – referencing the jigger, the bartender’s measuring tool that Jigger & Pony is named after. These shapes are used often in the visual identity of PONY, especially in the label, which sees two jigger shapes meeting at the back.
Were there other concepts in consideration before arriving at this design?
Sarah: We have always taken pride in the craft of cocktails, whatever the method of delivery – in person at our bars like Live Twice, Gibson and Jigger & Pony; in pouches delivered to consumers during the Circuit Breaker, Singapore’s version of a lockdown in mid-April to end May; or in the case of PONY, bottles that are ready-to-drink – we wanted PONY to stand out as a brand, yet still be linked back to the Jigger & Pony pedigree. Every PONY cocktail is handcrafted by Jigger & Pony’s bartenders. Our labels, which are designed by a creative agency, are an ode to the craft of bartending.
For our Signature series, the labels each feature an illustration of a bartender’s hand to highlight the handiwork that goes into making a cocktail.
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Gento: A PONY bottled cocktail is designed to be as stress-free as possible. We understand that not everyone has access to a martini glass or even the appropriate ice cubes at home, and that is perfectly okay.
PONY has been created with home consumption in mind. We encourage our customers to treat PONY cocktails like how we would with a bottle of white wine. Simply chill before serving – or, in the case of our Sakura Martini, a stint in the freezer is ideal. Simply serve as suggested, no additional garnishes are required: The unique aroma accent that finishes a cocktail, usually created by a citrus garnish, is achieved with the use of housemade natural citrus essences that we incorporate into each batch of cocktails.
PONY cocktails also have a higher-than-usual ABV, up to 41%, to ensure they are shelf-stable and to combat dilution caused by refrigerator-made ice cubes, which melt faster compared to the large blocks of ice used at a bar. We also wanted to ensure that storing PONY cocktails in the refrigerator would be as convenient as possible. Our cocktails are available in two bottle sizes – 200ml which serves two and 500ml which serves five. The latter comes in wine bottles for easy storage in any fridge pocket.
What inspired the brand identity?
Sarah: The inspiration for PONY was sparked during the Community Circuit Breaker from mid-March to mid-June when F&B businesses were closed during Singapore’s version of a lockdown. When we pivoted to online deliveries, we discovered an enthusiastic audience for cocktail deliveries in Singapore. To be honest, it was beyond our wildest expectations.
We realised that consumers were not only buying cocktails for themselves but also gifting them to reaffirm connections with people they care about, whether as a pick-me-up or for virtual “quarantini” parties. The pandemic has shown us the importance of the relationship economy
In a time when everyone has been starved of a very human need for social interaction, it has reminded us that we yearn for richer interactions and how valuable relationships are during a time of crisis.
In creating PONY, an online premium bottled cocktail brand, we put in much thought, using the best possible ingredients, and exercised the same levels of craftsmanship that people have come to expect at our bars into every bottle. This puts our convivial hospitality into our bottled cocktails, for our customers to enjoy with their loved ones, without being physically present at Jigger & Pony.
“Convivial hospitality in a bottle.” How will PONY deliver convivial hospitality through online delivery?
Sarah: When you drink a cocktail, it is not about how much you can drink in a given amount of time, but rather a way to relax, to have conversations with people. We like to think of PONY as a connector – for people to share a gift of convivial hospitality in a bottle with family and friends. As much as PONY is created for home consumption, it also makes a thoughtful gift for friends and family, as well as for hosting parties.
The PONY website is designed to be more than an online e-commerce platform. It is a space where anyone can find out more about PONY, and shop the PONY range.
How has Covid-19 shifted the way we drink?
Sarah: In this extraordinary time, it is clear that we are in the midst of a major shift away from the last 10 years. Previously, the F&B industry had been centred around the “experience economy” where we sought out novel and new experiences.
Due to Covid-19, we witnessed how people are starting to care more about the people they love, and they now spend more on ways of improving their relationships. We are spending our money on things and experiences that improve our human relationships.
With this new normal, restaurants and bars are now more valued than ever before for being spaces that bring people together.
Home comforts will just be as important, and that is where concepts like PONY will strike a chord.
Images credit: Jigger & Pony. Interview by Theri B.