Epson Insights

Three Qualities Craft Beer Brands Look For in a Print Partner

EpsonDecember 1, 2022

Today’s craft beer brands face a competitive market. In 2020, there were 8,764 craft breweries in the United States — an 82% increase from only five years before. Without the brand recognition of mainstream brands, these brewers must make the most of their most abundant, cost-effective advertising platform at hand: their product labels.

As a result, these brands may be highly critical about which vendors they choose to print their labels. The good news is that converters have ways to distinguish themselves to boost their appeal to craft beer brands looking for print partners. In this article, we identify the qualities craft beer brands value most in a print partner, made possible by modern digital printing capabilities.

Understanding of design intent

Designers typically work with an RGB screen that emits light. Meanwhile, traditional presses apply CMYK that absorbs or reflects light. Craft beer brands may not be familiar with appropriate design formats for traditional label printing that take these differences into account.

Leading converters can translate design intent into printed labels effectively, even with nontraditional formats for design. A brand may use Adobe Illustrator to design a label formatted for digital display, for example. A converter who can accommodate the brand’s design — rather than imposing print technology-driven design restrictions — is in a good position to secure a partnership with that brand.

Modern digital presses help ensure what designers see on their screens transitions to print successfully. They also make sure that the first label matches the last on both long- and short-run print jobs. Even label designs featuring very bright, saturated colors emerge beautifully, thanks to UV ink, glossy substrates, or other unique elements.

Attention to detail

Compared to mainstream beer labels, craft beer labels are often nuanced and complex. Also, a single craft beer brand may have very different ink and embellishment requirements from one product to the next. Craft beer brands may want to pivot quickly as their market changes, piloting and implementing designs in small quantities or on short notice as well.

Modern digital presses are ideal for small-batch jobs and quickly converting designs to beautiful labels. Digital presses enable converters to deliver both dynamic color schemes and precise text. Converters can also change materials quickly when producing labels for multiple products. This combination of precision, scope, and flexibility adds versatility and makes a converter appealing as a long-term partner.

Willingness to personalize

Personalizing customer experiences is critical to the long-term success of any business, including converters. But personalizing label printing is difficult due to the economies of scale traditional flexographic presses can impose upon converters and their clients.

Today’s craft beer brands may frown at the prospect of being forced into large-batch label printing jobs when they don’t need them. That’s why converters that customize labels for short runs and extra short runs — as well as respond to changing and unique design requirements quickly — are in the best market position.

Adopting a modern digital press makes this possible. For example, the Epson SurePress L-6534 produces high-quality labels at high speeds in print jobs of all sizes via turnkey operational features. As a standalone press or a complementary asset to a traditional flexographic press, digital presses like Epson’s SurePress give converters the flexibility they need for these unique client relationships.

A unique brand mindset

Craft beer brands may not work with the same budgets as their larger competitors. Conversely, they may rely more on their labels to connect with consumers than large competitors with budgets for traditional advertising. As a result, a converter must become not just a service provider to brands but also a business partner. Converters who appreciate this unique brand mindset are best positioned to succeed.

Partner with Epson for the technology that makes these opportunities a reality. You can visit 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