Our regional history is filled with small anecdotes that, all together, through time, contributed to define the province of Quebec as we know it today. Sometimes, an event or a character resurfaces in an original manner. This is what is happening right now with the Count of Puyjalon, naturalist of French origin who lived in Minganie, on the Côte-Nord, during the 19th century, as a micro-distillery decided to incorporate his name and story in their marketing process.
The Puyjalon distillery, located in Havre-Saint-Pierre, just released its Betchwan gin (derived from Betchewan) in honor of a part of Minganie’s history. At Imprimerie Ste-Julie, this is a tendency that we have been observing over the past few years in the production of labels for alcoholic beverages. Microbreweries, as well as micro-distilleries, have a desire to stand out from competition by getting inspired from the regional past in order to market their products.
For Mario Noël, owner of this micro-distillery, regional history is fascinating. Count Henri of Puyjalon is a French naturalist who lived on the Côte-Nord during the second half of the 19th century. Before working as the first lighthouse keeper on l’Île au Perroquet, the Count worked for the government, producing a geological study of Côte-Nord’s territory. The flavors of the Betchwan gin come from 13 aromates, 8 of which are found directly in the Count’s study area. The gin was named Betchwan after the disappeared village where the historical character was buried.
A complex gin label
This gin label is unique, due to its complex realisation. The visual element that is the most striking is the map that is visible through the alcohol. This map was taken from the Library and Archives Canada collection. It is printed directly on the glue, in order to maximise the old-fashioned effect that is brought by the textured paper. It represents the territory of Manganie as it was known around 1920. We can actually see the exact location of the disappeared village of Betchewan.
The three face parts that compose the lining of the bottle were printed in digital. Two enhancing processes were used to get the desired final visual effect. First, there are the red lines and text that were done by hot stamping. The background ultra-glazed text that brings out a nice contrast with the matte black background as well as the shine on the compasses are achieved by applying an ultra-glazed varnish.
The Puyjalon distillery will first distribute the Betchwan gin in SAQs from the Côte-Nord, but a number of bottles will be available in the rest of the province, as well as through the SAQ online store.