Hitting the bottle: Lazy Dog's liquid poetry

Artisan liqueur creator Arjun Haszard takes us on a journey through the design thinking of his latest project, Lazy Dog.

Last year we profiled Arjun Haszard, creator of artisan liqueur Quick Brown Fox, for our design issue. It’s design time again and Haszard has helpfully released a new product: Lazy Dog, a decaf, maple and cedar liqueur, out of the equally delicious city of Dunedin.

lazy dog liqueur - arjun haszard quick brown fox“When you buy a Harley Davidson, you’re not buying a motorbike,” Haszard says. “You’re buying sweet liberation. Everything about it oozes freedom. This isn’t just marketing, this is design.”

Quick Brown Fox, an organic coffee and cinnamon liqueur, was his first project; it featured a heavy amount of design thinking, something Haszard carried over to Lazy Dog. The experience was “one of being with close friends after a dinner”, something he thought would be an excellent fit.

“It can portray quality without using words, which wouldn’t limit what is delivered as well as be visually appealing and interesting.”

The same theory was worked into Lazy Dog, which also took shape towards a specific experience – this time, though, as a nightcap.

The challenge was portraying that desired experience in the limited space available and with poetry rather than prose.

Designer Fiona Johnston, who also illustrated QBF, stays minimalistic in her design thinking: something should be designed to be enjoyed, not to be sold.

“If you have buzz words and marketing over your bottle you’re ruining the drinker’s experience – these two styles are at opposite ends,” Haszard says.

Haszard and Johnston had a 10-minute meeting with Dunedin artist Shinsuke Saito; a few weeks later, he produced a first draft that the pair were happy with.

“Shinsuke’s art already had that feel to it – it was gentle and precise with a lot of character and emotion coming through each pen stroke.”

It had a Wind and the Willows feeling, although his inspiration came from the Moomintroll series and memories of growing up with dogs in Japan.

Haszard saw the text on the back as “an opportunity to change the brain chemicals of the reader – to soothe into slumber”.

He drew influence from romantic poet John Keats and June Christy’s classic jazz song ‘Something Cool’.

“Those beautiful words ‘quite-so’ and ‘companion’ were drawn in the poetry and the line ‘Sometimes it’s nice to simply sit and rest awhile’, from June. These words communicate so much while saying so little.”

Haszard, happy with the design construction of the new product, says it all adds up to the experience he initially had in mind:

“Sitting in a dressing gown in front of a fire with slippers on, reading a book and sipping on something. That Sunday slumber, a solitary experience.”  

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