Our Work

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The Challenge

A successful restaurateur, a serial entrepreneur (who we know pretty well), and a former mayor see an opportunity that leverages their collective experience in an exciting way. The question is: how do you take a notorious former maximum security prison and turn it into a tourist destination and world-class distillery?

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Our Approach

Before anything could happen, we had to gain the trust of the residents of Morgan County, TN. We researched the history of the prison and talked to locals that worked for years at the prison. We created a brand identity that embodied straightforward small-town values and a deep respect for the prison’s ominous significance.


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Brand Identity

The shape of the core logo mark echoes badges worn by the prison’s correctional staff, while the sharp contrasts on the prison itself indicate Brushy’s impressive history and notorious reputation. In the background, the beautiful but daunting mountains of Morgan County, TN.


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Promotional

Micro-elements from the core logo mark give Brushy Mountain branding the agility to work effectively across screenprinting, embroidery, and multiple materials and resolutions. Brushy Mountain principals and volunteers presented and gave away items get-out-the-vote events to encourage Morgan County citizens to approve legislation allowing the ambitious project move forward.


 

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Election Campaign

Morgan County, TN is a dry county, as in no alcohol sales in the county limits. This poses some problems for a group of partners trying to build a distillery in that county's most recognizable landmark. We created a campaign that educated the citizens of Morgan County about the vision to give Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary the respect it deserves, but also to build a thriving business that would bring jobs and tourist revenue to the region.

 

 

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Product Graphics

The spirits business lives and dies by retail attention. That means Brushy needed eye-catching glassware that communicated the “history and mystery” of the brand. Virtual mockups and physical samples were used in meetings with distributors and investors.



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Video

To set the right tone for the Brushy Mountain brand, we produced an animated slideshow of snapshots from the prison as it sat empty on a rainy day in Morgan County. We recorded a somber, emotional voiceover that showed respect for the people of Morgan County and the difficult, ominous work demanded by the brand's maximum security namesake.

We also had the extreme pleasure and honor to interview Clayton Davis, former Warden at Brushy and leader of the manhunt that recaptured James Earl Ray. The partners released excerpts from the video over social media to maintain relationships with the Morgan County constituency throughout the long process of gathering votes, approvals, and permits.


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Website

We created a microsite presenting the founder’s vision for the Brushy Mountain development, highlighting potential benefits to Morgan County and Tennessee as a whole.


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Results

The Brushy Mountain Group won local votes to allow distilling in Morgan Country, as well as approvals from various committees in the state government allowing the project to move forward. In late 2014, the Brushy Mountain Group officially took ownership of the prison and surrounding compound. Brushy is expected to reopen as a working distillery and tourist destination in 2016.


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