Subtle Spirits Paper Trail
by Chloe Gordon on 03/23/2023 | 3 Minute Read
Subtle Spirits is more than your traditional independent bottler. Part spirits purveyor, part alchemist, our product is enhanced with original artwork produced in collaboration with artists that extends beyond the canvas, glass, and mind. Offerings of whiskey range from single casks to very small batch blends and span a variety of styles from American Malts, Scotches, ryes, and bourbons. The analog piece is digitized and printed onto the label.
For our Paper Trail, Blend of Straight Whiskies release we worked with San Francisco artist Michael Beckler to channel an energy, through the color palette and movement of lines and texture. Beckler begins with a 39” x 59” piece of rice paper, adding layers of acrylic paint to form the composition. We decided the best way to tell the story of this release was to create our very own ‘paper trail’ by chopping up part of the original painting to use as one-of-a-kind labels.
Half of the original was mounted onto a birch panel, the other half was cut into 3.75” x 4.25” pieces. Before bottling and labeling took place, the piece and the whiskey were debuted to a live audience at the artists’ studio. The show became interactive when purchasers were invited to begin putting up red pins next to their chosen pieces, just like sold work in a gallery.
There are 55 total Collector Editions featuring an actual piece of the original artwork cut down to label size and attached to the bottles. Each bottle is numbered and signed by the artist, Michael Beckler. They are also hand dipped in PMS 299C colored wax. To protect and showcase the piece of art on the bottle, a cherry wood box was created. The box was designed to hold the bottle using a unique under bottle structure to keep the bottle and the art from shifting. The open aperture in the front of the box highlights the one-of–a-kind piece of art and features a vertically sliding door. The front of the cherry box serves as the museum label, showing the relevant information: title of the artwork, artist, materials used, and year completed.
The first five numbered Collector Editions were sold exclusively with an archival print of the entire original artwork, signed and numbered by the artist. Each of these first five editions were accompanied by a certificate of authenticity tokenized in the form of an NFT on the Ethereum block chain. Rare art, meet rare whiskey. Rare whiskey, meet the future.
- Founder & Designer: Subtle Spirits, Joshua Thinnes
- Founder & Designer: Subtle Spirits, Kristen Conley
- Michael Beckler: Artist of Paper Trail
- Marketing & Innovation Manager: The Spearhead Group, Lana Toler