Firestarter

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Sometimes, you’ve just got to give it up for good packaging. I know I, for one, have fallen prey to such things. Hell, why shouldn’t I? When you see something so eye catchingly clever that you want to snap a picture and send it to your friends, some guy in the marketing department deserves validation. My purchase of said product, I feel, goes a long way in providing said validation.

Case in point: a few weeks ago, I was at the best local liquor and wine store (cork ‘n’ ale deserves a post all to itself; if you’ve been there you can agree. Their website leaves something to be desired, but don’t all the good local places? ..I digress). This used to be a payday ritual though my bank account frowned upon this practice. It’s the kind of place that always has new and different things, regularly on a weekly basis. Though I go with one goal in mind (on this occasion it was to procure whisky for our weekly tasting) I will, without fail, be allured by something fancy.

The fancy item on this occasion was Firestarter Vodka. It appeared to be the last one on the shelf. This implied to me that I wasn’t the only one drawn to the clever packaging: it looked like a fire extinguisher! This was quite probably one of the coolest liquor packages I’d ever seen. On inspection, it wasn’t in a tin as I first surmised – most of the Scotch we’d been tasting was sold either in a cardboard tube or a box. No, this was the actual package (though I’m sure once we finish off the liquor and tear down the case out of curiousity we’ll still find glass inside).

I was told at the counter that it was not the last bottle, rather, it was the only one they’d purchased. To assuage any guilt felt, I’m going to break down the rest of my experience with you here.

Arriving home, we HAD to break into this. My hasty reading at the store led me to believe it was a pepper vodka. This would’ve made sense with a name like “Firestarter.” Heck, even making it high proof would’ve been clever. Instead, the only relevance to the packaging was the “percentage of all sales goes to firefighters” blip. That was a slight disappointment, but it was still a cool and unique concept. I got the honor of pulling the pin…I pressed the lever….nothing. ok, pulling the pin was cool, but where’s the pump action? Feeling sheepish, I read the side…it wasn’t a pump. Instead, you LIFT the lever, likely removing the cork from the bottle. The vodka the dribbled out as it fought the vacuum to get out the tiny spout. Yet another disappointment. Still, the bottle was cool and the vodka was smooth, so the night wasn’t a total loss.

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2 Responses to “Firestarter”


  1. 1 Chris Van Howten April 20, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Nicolaus,

    Just wanted to thank you for your post regarding Firestarter Vodka. Your story is one that we have both heard many times before and (unfortunately) have had to painfully deal with.

    The concept of the fire extinguisher has been a great success across the board. The development from the manufacturer has been frustrating at best. The bottle that you showed in your post was the last of its kind. Pulling the pin and lifting the lever was all good in concept. However the manufacturer simply couldn’t master it so that it was both consumer friendly and 100% fool proof. Live and learn.

    The next generation bottles virtually look identical. The main variation is that the end of the pour spout is a simple black twist off cap. There is now a built-in speed pour which also makes it bartender friendly.

    The vodka itself won gold at the 2011 Russian Spirits Awards. The 5 times platinum filtered vodka is known as “Spicul De Aur” as it is packaged in Russia and Ukraine. The rest of the world will know that vodka as Firestarter.

    We are enjoying a tremendous rush of growth here in the states. 40+ states now carry us, with an additional 6 countries now firing things up.

    Thanks again for your post.

    Chris Van Howten
    FSV

  2. 2 alissajean November 26, 2011 at 11:57 am

    hey mister nicolaus!!! you should keep writing; i came to check out your blog, loved the above post, and realized it from ages ago! what’s up, friend?


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Hello; my name is Nicolaus E. Witchger. I am a graphic designer from Saginaw, MI best known for wearing bow ties and drinking single-malt scotch, dark beer, and espresso.

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