If you’re a part of the burgeoning craft beer industry in the United States, you’re likely at least aware of just how much this once niche market has grown over the last several decades. However, a look at the numbers shows remarkable growth that surpassed even expert expectations. In fact, according to the Brewer’s Association, while overall beer consumption dropped by about 2% in 2019, craft beer grew at about 4% by volume – rising to encompass a full 13.6% of the US beer market. Of course, your primary method of seizing your portion of this quickly growing group of American beer drinkers should be crafting the best beers possible. However, the next step is thinking about how to effectively communicate just how unique, tasty, and satisfying your brewery’s line of craft beers really is. The most effective way to get more people to experience your microbrew is to develop an attractive, informative beer label.
WHY LABELING MATTERS
Picture the vast number of products lining the shelves of any store – including those in your target market. In most cases, shelves and coolers alike are chock-full of a variety of beers, all competing for shelf space and buyer attention. As a result, selling more beer means standing out among the crowd – and an excellent label is a crucial aspect to building a small brewery’s brand identity to set you apart from the competition. Take the results of a 2017 survey from Nielsen – a full 66% of beer drinkers said that, besides brand recognition and brew preference, the primary reason their attention was caught by one particular beer over another is the overall effect of the label. Another 60% admitted that labeling was very important when deciding which beer to buy. In short, you’ll need an interesting label that helps you stand out from the other beers on the shelf and effectively communicates the taste the buyer can expect from the beer within.
HOW TO CRAFT THE PERFECT CRAFT BEER LABEL
Creating the ideal craft beer label isn’t easy – that’s why we’ve developed a guide to help you approach the process in an organized, yet creative, manner. Proceed through this checklist while you’re developing a unique label for your beer:
- Stay true to your brand personality. Who are you, as a small brewery? What’s your story? If you currently operate a brewhouse that serves live customers, you’ve undoubtedly put a great deal of effort into building a story and a persona behind your brewery – don’t let your brand identity get lost on the shelves once you package your brews for commercial sales.
- Communicate your beer’s style and personality. While each beer you sell should fit within your brand’s overall personality, your potential clients look to your packaging and labeling choices to effectively communicate the type of product contained within it. Edgy, new styles and straightforward, flagship brews may have completely different marketing approaches based on the flavor profile of each unique beer. Craft a unique beer label for each brew that showcases how that particular beer’s personality meshes with your brewery’s brand identity.
- Know your target customers. Who drinks your beer? Whether you’ve developed a niche brew that appeals to the craft connoisseur or a crowd pleaser that appeals to a young, diverse crowd, you’ll need a label that speaks to that group. In addition, consider whether your beer attracts a regional crowd or a national market, as well as whether your ideal customer is of a high-income or thrifty demographic.
- Carefully consider color and style. After you’ve developed an ideal persona for your brewery and your individual beer, you’ll need a label color and a design schematic that speaks to the message you’re trying to send. For example, creams, browns, and blacks do well communicating a classic or old-school style, while bold colors and modern elements can showcase an edgier brew. Overall, your target audience is the final decision maker – appeal to a classy demographic with minimal, elegant label design, and a young, hip demographic with more art-forward design.
- Choose the right font. Similar to color and imagery, your label’s font should obviously fit into your overall design scheme, as well as communicate your brand identity and the characteristics of the beer you’re selling. For example, a font with a serif can help communicate a classic brew or traditional brewery, while a sans-serif font comes off as more modern. However, keep in mind that, above all, your target market needs to be able to read the words on your label so they know what they’re buying.
- Display appropriate imagery. Do you have a unique logo or another image already in use that effectively represents your brand? Prominently display it on your craft brew labeling. Alternatively, consider using unique imagery that correlates to your brand or the brew housed within your packaging to attract your target market – choose an image that highlights the region your beer style hails from, your brewery’s mascot, or even makes a play on your brewery’s (or each unique beer’s) name.
- Don’t forget the legalities. Legally speaking, you’ll also need to leave room for a UPC code, as well as the net contents, ABV, beer class and type of your beer. Legal requirements for these items vary by state. In general, however, you’ll need to include this information in legible type of a certain, minimum size, and provide adequate color contrast as well – be sure to do your research regarding your state’s legal requirements while formulating your label’s design.
FINALIZE YOUR CRAFT BEER PACKAGING WITH APPLIED ADHESIVES
Once you’ve developed the ideal label that showcases your brand and your beer’s unique characteristics, you’ll need to choose an ideal bottle to ship it in. However, without a quality liquid labeling technique to ensure your bottle labels stay put, all your hard work could be for nothing. Fortunately, that problem is easily solved with Aquence 7006, a high-quality glass bottle labeling adhesive that ensures your labels stay in place under any condition. Solid, attractive packaging is crucial for marketing your brewery’s best craft beers. We can help you select the right label adhesive that can stand up to moisture, temperature fluctuations, and more. If you need more information about labeling and adhesives for your craft beer bottles, turn to the experts at APPLIED Adhesives. Contact us at your earliest convenience to find out how we can help you continue to grow your beer brand.
Written by Bob Hamilton