Wedge combines red wine, gin and ginger ale. Among others.
The small Montreal design office has just designed a bag-in-box (the real term for vinier) for a Californian company that wanted to import a French wine into the United States.
An overseas fund, therefore.
The goal: a design of such quality that it would counterbalance the bad reputation of boxed wines.
“We said to ourselves: it has to be an object that could end up in the store of MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art in New York,” explains Justin Lortie, director of design and founder of Wedge. “We created the name, the brand, developed the strategy and did the whole design. »
Wedge suggested the Ami Ami brand, inspired by the friendship of the two co-founders, which at the same time gave off an idea of friendly conviviality, without oenological pretension.
The 1.5 liter bag-in-box (traditional viniers hold up to four liters) is nothing like the cardboard version of a bottle label.
Presented in versions for white wine and red wine, the packaging shows the Ami Ami brand in large black characters, above a stack of colored semi-circles, like cups without their feet.
“Colors that are super vibrant, it’s a very optimistic design,” comments the designer.
The graphics are inspired by the work of the Italian painter Depero for the Campari aperitif in the pre-war years (that of 1939).
“We worked with a local illustrator, Mathieu Dionne, to develop two little characters, who are at the center of the universe of this wine. Because in the end, the world of wine is not such a serious world. »
Especially with younger generations, who are less intimidated by the mystique of grand crus, he points out.
Surprisingly, it was the Californians who contacted the Montreal firm to entrust it with this mandate, which was in fact the birth certificate of their company.
It must be said that the young Montreal firm had quickly made a remarkable reputation.
Wedge was founded in 2016 by young graphic designer Justin Lortie, who cut his teeth at Sid Lee and Paprika, and creative director Sara Di Domenico.
It’s not that Wedge specializes in beverages, but the small Montreal company quickly made a name for itself with the unique design of the bottle of Quebec gin Menaud. “We custom-made the bottle, we invented the brand with them from A to Z”, describes Justin Lortie.
The clean shape of the forest green bottle, its wooden-look cap and the starkness of its label have attracted the attention of specialized publications. And that of new customers.
The pandemic then occurred and, by propelling teleworking, it also erased borders.
“Since we were a service company, we started having phones from all over the world. Someone called us from Singapore, we made contracts in Copenhagen. It’s crazy, we were people from Montreal! People were seeing our work on the internet, and they were no longer limited by geography. »
Wedge created the brand image for the Florida-based Vacation suntan lotion line. The Indigo bookstore chain entrusted him with the design of a collection of 25 iconic literary works, whose cover illustrations were created by Canadian artists.
“It’s crazy, when Canada Dry wrote to us, I didn’t believe it! »
Hard to believe, indeed: the company asked them to make a proposal for the redesign of its logo.
Even more incredible: they got the contract. The new visual identity was launched in September 2022 in the Canadian market.
“We won an account like that against some really big agencies,” Justin Lortie points out.
Wedge only has about fifteen employees.
“In agencies, companies often have people who do business development. We’ve never had someone like that in our house. »
No need: “Our work speaks for itself. »
It was this online reputation that prompted Woody Hambrecht, himself from a family of winemakers, to contact Wedge just over a year ago to design a bag-in-box.
“The first thing I said was that the object has to be smaller,” says Justin Lortie. We found manufacturers in France and gave them the proportions. »
The 1.5 liter box is barely bigger than a dictionary.
“On a shelf in my cabinet, it has to be as beautiful as a design object. »
Ami Ami white and red wines are packaged and boxed in France and imported into California.
“We’re on sale all over the United States right now. It’s been a few weeks since we launched the website, informs Justin. We are looking to sell it in supermarkets across the United States. For a few months, we have been in contact with the SAQ to import it. »
This repeated “we” makes the ears prick up: “We are partners,” he reveals. I think that’s really part of my philosophy with Wedge. When we think of achieving sustainable growth for our company, it is also a question of investing in the projects in which I believe. »
Justin Lortie gives the telephone interview from New York, where he is preparing to install a Wedge antenna. He tried the adventure in Los Angeles, but did not obtain the hoped-for success. He believes that the New York market is more in line with the Montreal sensibility. “We’re going to try it and let the magic emerge. »
He lets himself be guided by intuition and trust. “I really believe in the universe in those moments,” he laughs.
Because the outlets are not only made with wine.
Growing trade. The artisan bakery Paillard will inaugurate its first branch in the Montreal area on April 4 in Saint-Hubert. Until now, the company had been confined to the Capitale-Nationale region, with stores in Old Quebec, Cap-Rouge and Neufchâtel. Founded by Yves Simard, the first Paillard bakery opened its doors in 2006 in the heart of Old Quebec. The company is now chaired by Christelle Philippon, herself a baker.
The takeover is picking up the slack. Two initiatives, here, in this movement that wants to support the transfer of businesses and their sustainability. As part of the 2023 Takeover Summit, held at the end of March, the Center de transfert d’entreprise du Québec (CTEQ) announced the creation of the Observatoire du repreneuriat et du transfert d’entreprise du Québec (ORTEQ). It will focus on the development of scientific knowledge and the dissemination of business intelligence on business transfer. Professor Marc Duhamel, from the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivières, also a researcher at the Institute for Research on SMEs, will be its very first scientific director. Second initiative: the CTEQ and the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Economic Development Commission (FNQLEDC) have signed a strategic partnership to foster connections between Quebec business leaders and First Nations. The two organizations will work together to set up a new Business Transfer Service for First Nations (STEPN). This service will be devoted in particular to the accompaniment and support of takeover projects involving members of the First Nations.
A few words about sofas, divans and other sofas. Azélie Pilon and Marie-Pier Bélanger, founders of the web media La Espace, dedicated to interior design, launched on April 1 (except unlikely fish) a new printed magazine of beautiful outfit entitled Canapé. Despite its name, Canapé is intended for living room tables, they inform. As the print media disappear one after the other, the founders hope that the magazine, which will appear twice a year, will then find a place in the library. “We wanted to create a product that can remain a reference tool that will stand the test of time, by exploring relevant and timeless themes,” they said in their press release. The La Pcs platform was founded in 2016. Another file: Cozey, manufacturer and distributor of sofas ordered online and delivered in boxes to homes, is launching a first collection of modular outdoor sofas. Thanks to its patent-pending tool-less assembly system, users of the Mistral range will be able to quickly disassemble their sofas to store them in small spaces during the winter, argues Frédéric Aubé, CEO and founder of Cozey. The Montreal company had launched the first sofa in a box in Canada in June 2020.
In February, Quebec had 1,070,500 jobs in small businesses with 1 to 19 employees, up 0.91% from the previous month. This is the strongest increase in Canada. Conversely, Ontario fell by 0.29%. These data come from a new monthly small business employment indicator for Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom commissioned by Intuit, of which this is the first release.