If you've ever poured yourself a dram of Crown Royal whiskey and found yourself wondering about its history, you're by no means the only one. The number one bestselling Canadian whiskey in the US has a special place in the hearts of whiskey lovers, and an equally special history. Created for royalty back in the late 1930s, it's since become an international bestseller. While the whiskey itself is fine enough, a large part of Crown Royal's appeal lies in its brand image, in that uniquely shaped bottle, and that luxurious purple packaging. But what about its logo? What part does that iconic emblem play in the brand's success? If you've ever wanted to find out more about the history and story of both the whiskey and the logo, you've come to the right place. Pour yourself a glass, sit back, and relax as we tell you the story and the history of the Crown Royal logo.
The History of Crown Royal
The year was 1939. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth were about to go down in history as the first reigning monarchs to ever visit Canada. They would arrive by boat before boarding a train to travel the entire length and breadth of the country. Excitement was running high, as were spirits.... nowhere more so than on the premises of a certain Canadian spirits entrepreneur who, on hearing the news, tasked himself with the job of creating a very special whiskey for the visiting royals. Determined to not let himself or his country down, the generous whiskey maker set about trialing over 600 blends in a bid to find the best one. Eventually, he hit on the perfect blend, a divinely smooth concoction of around 50 individual whiskeys. Intent on showcasing his creation to its best advantage, he poured it into the very finest cut glass decanter (which very conveniently happened to be shaped like a quilted crown) before packaging it in a sumptuously soft, decidedly regal bag crafted from royal purple fabric and gold stitching. The name he settled on for his fine new creation? Crown Royal. The train serving the royal couple was outfitted with 10 cases of the blend. By all accounts, there was scarcely a drop left by the end of the royal tour. News of the whiskey fit for a king soon began to spread across the country. When it was finally released commercially, Crown Royal already had a ready and waiting customer base.
Crown Royal Today
For the first few decades of its release, Crown Royal was available only in Canada. But since those early days, the brand has gone global. It was first released in the US in 1964. As thewhiskeywash.com notes, it quickly took hold as an amiable alternative to “old-fashioned” whiskeys like rye, bourbon, and single malt. When Canadian oil workers began migrating to Houston to work on the oil rigs in the mid-60s, they packed their suitcases full of the stuff. Their US buddies soon caught on to the appeal, with the result that Texas and swathes of the south now regard the drink as one of their all-time favorite imports. How much the Crown Royal of today has in common with the whiskey quaffed by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth is a matter of some debate. National brand ambassador Stephen Wilson simply says “Our goal is to create a consistent blend year after year." But regardless of whether King George would recognize it or not, no one can deny its appeal. As Wikipedia notes, Crown Royal is now the best-selling Canadian whisky in the world, sold and enjoyed in all four corners of the globe, and available in enough incarnations to appeal to every possible taste.
The Crown Royal Logo
While the drink itself may or may not have changed slightly over the years, the one thing that's stayed remarkably consistent is the brand image. And why would anyone even think about changing such an iconic concept? This was a brand that was created for royalty, whose very name conjures about royal associations, and whose logo does much the same... why would the makers mess with that? As 1000logos.net notes, the original Crown Royal emblem was designed as a 'brilliant graphical representation of the label’s roots, idea, and legacy.' While some brands like to get creatively abstract with their logos, Crown Royal decided to go the opposite way. It was proud of its link with royalty and saw no reason to hide it. Hence, the crown. The Crown Royal logo consists of a wonderfully elaborate red and gold crown sat on a gold tasseled purple pillow. Beneath the image, the brand name is spelled out in a smooth cursive font in the same shade of purple as the plump pillow above.
The Tiniest of Changes
Although the Crown Royal logo has stayed remarkably consistent throughout its entire existence, a very minor change was made in the 2000s. But when we say minor, we really do mean minor. In a very slight deviation from the original, a 3D version was created. The more voluminous crown was placed on a solid background of pale purple along with a flat gold nameplate. It was professional, elegant, and so close to the original, very few people even noticed the difference.
The Meaning Behind The Logo
Some logos are mysterious. Trying to spot any connection between them and the brand they represent is a challenge. Not so the Crown Royal logo. Everything from the brand name to the company colors to the logo itself highlights the heritage and history of the drink itself. This is a beverage that was created for royalty: the makers are clearly as proud of that today as they were back in the 1930s, and they've given us zero opportunity to forget it. Take the choice of colors for a start. The purple and red color pallet with its golden accents has been very deliberately and very carefully chosen. These are all colors that have historically represented royalty. They bring to mind power, status, wisdom, and grace. They're rich yet refined, elegant yet bold...everything the beverage reports to be. Individually distinct yet capable of working together in perfect harmony, these are colors that ooze confidence and represent the blended beverage perfectly. Moving on to the lettering of the nameplate, we see a unique font that was created especially for the brand. The elongated, curved lines and the smooth elegance of the lettering add a visually interesting appeal that complements the crown emblem flawlessly.
A Timeless Classic
Apart from taking on a three-dimensional aspect in the early 2000s, the Crown Royal logo has stayed true to the spirit of the original emblem for over 80 years. Which is fair enough. Some things don't need to be messed with or changed just for the sake of change. The Crown Royal logo is sophisticated. It's timeless. It encapsulates the brand's heritage and history in a single image. It's evocative, it's just a little bit nostalgic, and it's the perfect embodiment of the beverage itself. When a logo does all that, why would anyone even consider changing it?
Written by Lily Wordsmith
Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith