Craft beer manufacturers face strong competition to differentiate their products from other microbreweries and mainstream beer brands. In lieu of expensive advertising, label design represents their biggest opportunity to turn the heads of consumers — quite literally, as they shop in retail stores.
These brands need converters that can deliver on their unique needs in terms of batch sizes and design. But not all converters have the appropriate print capabilities to meet those demands — short print runs, for example, along with extravagant label designs. In this article, we explore the three biggest trends in craft beer labels that can help differentiate brands, with tips on how converters can deliver quality results when working with these unique companies.
#1: Rendering compelling text with creative brand content
Craft beer labels require both compelling creative content and sharp text explaining each unique product in an appealing way. Because craft beer labels have only limited space, their design poses some unique challenges to the way this combination is rendered. The renderings also must inspire consumers who might only give each label a passing glance in a retail store.
Converters with the right digital tools can deliver on these needs, even when servicing a wide variety of craft beer brands. A digital press that provides high-speed printing, precise quality, and an expansive range of color options can support any craft beer brand, even in small batches.
For example, the Epson SurePress® L-6534VW digital label press offers a unique “digital varnish” feature that is ideal for highlighting the important aspects of a label, such as graphics, logos, and brand names. Because this digital varnish is laid as an ink layer at the time of printing and doesn’t require a separate machine, converters can easily integrate these aspects with text within the same workflow.
#2: Creating timely and unique labels for special events
To boost marketing and consumer appeal, craft beer brands often seize on timely opportunities, including seasonal occasions (e.g., Oktoberfest), special events (e.g., the Big Game), and social causes. These brands may also work with other companies (e.g., hotel chains) to deliver contextually relevant products to unique consumer groups (e.g., hotel guests).
Creating a new product — or even just a new label for an existing one — can help drive sales when these timely opportunities are top-of-mind for consumers. As a result, converters working with craft beer brands must be ready to produce small batches of labels with unique and often extravagant designs on a short-term basis.
There are cost-effective ways to accomplish this. Digital systems bring flexibility to specialized label printing, enabling converters to render robust digital designs in small batches of labels through streamlined, highly automated workflows. The right digital press comes with standard features — digital varnish, a corona treater, white ink, and UV curing — that make any job possible using a single machine.
#3: Abruptly changing the dynamics of a label design
For every new craft beer brand that “takes off” in terms of popularity, there are countless others that perform only modestly with their initial product or struggle to perform at all. If a craft beer brand’s label design isn’t resonating with consumers, it may need to make a change quickly in order to stay afloat.
Converters with the right digital printing solution can respond quickly to shifting requirements. In these urgent situations, converters do not need to worry if designers’ label designs look good on screen but aren’t optimized for traditional presses. Digital presses help ensure those designs are projected successfully and legibly, even with the most complex designs. Automation also means these workflows require minimal manual intervention, minimizing labor even as converters turn on a dime for their clients.
Help craft brewers differentiate their brands
In the craft beer industry, “differentiation” doesn’t always mean “doing more.” In fact, some of the most compelling craft beer labels started as small-batch print jobs. As a converter, you need to have the right technology, inks, and mediums to deliver on these demands. You also need the right capabilities and efficiencies to convert design intent into design reality for your clients.
Partner with Epson for the technology that makes these opportunities a reality. You can visit Epson.com/SurePress any time or speak directly with an Epson SurePress expert by calling:
Western U.S. (818) 620-2730 | Central U.S. (630) 710-6005 | Eastern U.S. (615) 585-9058