Sell-out M&S light-up gin bottles give Wilkins Group a boost

Family-run Wilkins Group has a hit on its hands, as a range of Marks & Spencer snow globe Christmas liqueurs the firm helped develop has proved so popular that M&S has had to limit the number of bottles shoppers can buy.

Wilkins developed a new light-up label to help turn the range of M&S gold-leaf-infused Christmas liqueurs into festive snow-globe centrepieces.

The Colwick-based company, which makes packaging for several of the UK’s best-known supermarkets, spent six months collaborating with Marks & Spencer to refine the design before building the labels for the company’s special ‘Light Snow Globe’ Gin Liqueurs.

Available either in rhubarb or clementine, the liqueur comes with sparkling flecks of edible gold leaf, creating the perfect illuminated centrepiece for the festive table.

The drinks have become a sell-out product, with reports in the national press of customers queueing for new deliveries, and shelves being cleared in store so quickly that the retailer has had to enforce a two-bottle limit in order to try and preserve stock levels. Some savvy shoppers are re-selling the £18 drinks at up to £55 online, whilst even the empty bottles are being auctioned off on Ebay.

Wilkins Group sales & marketing director, Justin Wilkins said: “The Snow Globe light up gin bottles have been an absolute success for all involved. The information that we have received from M&S has been that the sales are fantastic and selling out almost as soon as the shelves are re-stocked. We have also had reports of people queuing whilst they await the arrival of the next delivery to store. This certainly classes up our range and broadens our horizons.”

He explained that Wilkins Group came up with the original concept around five years ago before pitching the project to M&S.

“We were exploring the idea of creating a label that would illuminate Prosecco bottles with coloured lights but it never came to fruition,” he said. “So, when we got the chance to develop the concept with the guys at M&S, we were really excited by it.”

The Wilkins Group, which recently won the title of Midlands Family Business of the Year, was responsible for the manufacturing of the gift-tag swing label that fastens around the neck of the bottle, as well as the circular piece on the base of the bottle that contains the LED lights and the battery.

When you push the button at the centre of the base panel, four integrated LEDs cast a warm glow through the glass and up into the body of the bottle, illuminating the floating gold leaf as it swirls in the liqueur.

Each panel is designed to last around 700 presses at 45 seconds per press, enabling a bottle of festive liqueur to serve as a decoration for the full duration of the Christmas period.

Mr Wilkins added: “In terms of developing the product, sourcing the components and assembling and sealing the components, there’s a lot of work and complexity involved in these labels.”

“That said, work is already in progress for a summer season, so hopefully there will come a stage when these beautiful bottles become quite sought after as collector’s items.”