Located in the Crossroads Art District in Kansas City, a retail wine store concept needed naming and a brand identity. The goal of the store was to create an upscale, yet casual wine buying experience to help differentiate it from several out-of-the-box retailers in the area. Also the store worked to hard to have an extremely knowledgeable and accessible staff as another point of distinction. This proved valuable, as research showed that many wine shoppers are easily intimidated, so it became clear that a sense of approachability for the brand’s identity, was critical to the success of the concept. With these insights in mind the name Cellar Rat — a term coined for a wine fanatic—and a friendly toasting ‘ratlike’ character were chosen for the brand.
The brand’s lettering was crafted in the spirit of vintage Euro-liqueur posters and aided in reinforcing a quality message. Signage steered away from the ubiquitous channel lettering and instead solved using a hand-painted sign feel with metallic copper lettering in the windows and the understated mascot hanging from the corner of the store entrance.
In its third year, Cellar Rat’s sales are up 15% over last year. This is a marked accomplishment given the state of the economy and a retail concept that relies almost entirely on wine sales. Apparel sales alone have offset the cost of the brand identity development. In addition to strong revenues, the store has been featured in key media publications including Food & Wine, Imbibe and Wine Spectator magazines.