From armchair travel via virtual reality headsets to being dazzled by Van Gogh’s sunflowers in all their golden glory through the power of projectors, advances in technology are helping to turn cultural activities into immersive experiences that stimulate all of our senses. What if the same could be said for our drinking experiences, and our sensory journey began before we opened the bottle? Premium stopper producer Talis is hoping to change the game with the launch of Bloom – a customisable capsule able to mirror the aroma of the liquid inside the bottle. An ideal solution for eco-conscious brands, the innovative stopper treads lightly on the planet, being made from a bio-based polymer mixed with leftover cork particles from the cork production process.
“Bloom is a natural extension of our company and how we operate – we weren’t planning on designing it – the idea formed in front of our eyes,” says global brand manager, Monika Michalski. “The material is fully customisable, so spirits brands can make it look, feel and smell of all sorts of things – it could be yellow and smell of banana, for example. In terms of price it sits between plastic and wood capsules, but with a much faster lead-time than wood. With Bloom, we are offering a sustainable solution at an affordable price to the global market.”
The closure, which can be made to glow in the dark, recently launched and is already attracting interest. Talis is currently trialling the scented Bloom capsules, which it plans to launch later this year. Michalski believes they will help give spirits producers the edge in a crowded marketplace. “Anything that can help your bottle to stand out on the shelf is super valuable when it comes to packaging, and these scented stoppers tap into people’s sensory memories, which is a powerful tool,” she says.
Talis was created by closures giant Cork Supply in 2013 to allow the company to play in the luxury spirits arena. Having spotted a gap in the market for premium bartops that combined high performance with impeccable quality, for the last decade Talis has been making a splash in the super-premium spirits world, creating bespoke bartops for luxury brands around the globe. “The spirits industry has different needs to the wine industry, but the quality of the service we provide is the same. Talis shares the same values as Cork Supply – our strategies are aligned and we like to pass on the know-how we’ve acquired from 40 years in the closures industry,” says general manager, Margarida Faro.
“We’re a young company and are tying to grow in a sustainable way. Having developed a strong presence in the UK and US, we’ve recently been focusing our efforts on the Cognac region in France and have been getting to know each of our markets better, as they all have different needs. We’re currently exploring burgeoning spirits markets like Australia, South Africa, Asia and South and Central America – there’s still a lot of potential for growth,” Faro adds. The company boasts its own in-house design team, allowing it to be agile in its approach to closure creation, and able to offer collaborative concept development, speedy samples and tailor-made solutions to tight timeframes.
Only working with partners that are equally quality-obsessed, Talis crafts bartops from both natural and micro-agglomerated cork, which can be finished in wood, metal, plastic, cork, glass, and the aforementioned Bloom binder, allowing spirits brands to tell their stories through their packaging design. “Our main goal is to be a reliable partner for our customers, and to cater to their ever-changing needs. There’s no limit to the types of bartops we can create,” says Faro. “The bartop is an extension of the bottle, so the look and feel of them is hugely important and one of the most exciting parts of our job.”
Setting industry standards in quality control and R&D, sustainability is a key driver for Talis, which strives to give back to the planet rather than taking away from it. “We want our customers to have absolute assurance that our corks are produced in an ethical and sustainable way. We start with a rigorous selection of high-quality raw materials in the forest and ensure full traceability of every cork stopper,” says Faro. “There’s a lot of flexibility in terms of what you can do with cork, which works well across all spirits types, from Tequila to gin, as it’s sustainable, visually appealing and can easily adapt to different bottle necks.”
Talis is working towards becoming carbon neutral, and is set to reduce energy consumption at its new plant in Portugal by 19% by 2025. Measuring its carbon footprint every two years, the goal is for the factory to be LEED certified. By the end of 2022 renewable energy sources, such as solar panels, will be working their magic at the site. The firm has also eliminated single-use plastics at its factories and reduced its packaging footprint, saving freight, space and material costs.
“Sustainability is in our DNA. As a global company we have an obligation to help protect the planet and cork is one of the most sustainable products in existence. Customers are conscious of who they partner with today, and how that fits into the story they want to tell about their brand,” Michalski points out. “People want to work with sustainable sources and are keen to know about the materials we use. It’s our responsibility to tell our customers about the choices on offer and which environmental concerns we can address with our closures,” Faro adds.
Talis is the exclusive sponsor of the IWSC’s Brandy Producer Trophy – visit their website to find out more about what they do - https://talisbartops.com/en.