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Craft Beer Labels — Everything You Need to Know!

Posted on 7 September 2020 by Thomas Glendinning

What is Craft Beer?

Craft beer means tailored consumer choice. It means small independent breweries with a dedicated focus on flavour and quality over quantity. A commitment to making great beer alongside inventive and memorable brand identities, constantly changing and developing in order to keep abreast of market development. 

While the official definition of a craft beer changes by market, they are all characterised by bold flavours and independent marketing.

Why Is Craft Beer Bottle Labelling So Important?

Where the flavours of craft beer are boundary-pushing, breweries are released into a similar world of opportunity with their craft beer labels. From bright, dynamic colours to artistic illustration, craft beer shelves pop with creativity, in contrast to the brand-focused bottles of big breweries. Location, flavour, even optimal season for drinking can be conveyed with well-focused choices. 

When considering craft beer labelling, the questions you ask about your beer, brewery and brand should cover the following:

  1. What is your product? Think Ale or Lager, country of origin, key flavour notes that make your USP. 
  2. Who is your customer? Market to your niche! Are you looking for long-term lovers of Craft beer, or first-time buyers?
  3. How is your customer buying your product? This relies on your other answers, which will see different consumers buying from distributors, by six-packs, in supermarkets, or craft beer bars. Whatever the preference, make sure your labelling is synonymous with the setting. 

How can you make your craft beer label unique?

Essentially, your brand identity will be complex, but your craft beer labels must take cues from this. Choosing bright, muted, or culturally-associated colours is one way of conveying this identity. Furthermore, a clearly displayed brand name could be secondary to a great label if your design is bold and unique. Maybe a unique or unexpected texture could be used, such as paper, or a matte, glossy or metalised film. A wood veneer or clear film could also catch the eye of a customer scanning the shelf. 

Understanding how competitors do this by looking at their marketing is useful. Particularly notable brands for their unique labelling include:

  • Goldhawk, who omit any dominating text and use a clear label to show the colour of their beer.
  • Beavertown, who have such bold designs that their cans could be repurposed as home ornaments.
  • Saksiu Alus, who use a combination of rubber stamping and paper wraps to keep a rustic, authentic sense of ‘craft beer’ to their marketing.
  • Half Acre, who feature the diverse inspirations behind their flavours on the can, from flowers to animals.
  • St Stefanus, who refer to their beer brewing tradition from August in monks in text and label use.

What must and must not be included?

The UK Government has guidelines on food labelling, ( however, we have summarised the advice for you below. 

This is all the must-have information that needs to be included on a label:

  • Beer style (draft or draught)
  • Volume (in pints/ml)
  • Alcohol percentage (e.g. 5.6% ABV.)
  • Brand name
  • Class designation
  • Health warning labels 

Your information must NOT be false or misleading, in any sense, on any of the above elements. 

How Sovereign Labelling Can Help

Sovereign Labeling can help deliver your packaging vision. Our wide range of machine capabilities means that we can assist your labelling, on the bottle-neck or using a wrap-around solution. Our expertise in labelling means that we can endeavour to fulfill any requirements you may have. Contact us below to find out more. 

Telephone: 01206 304182


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Written by Thomas Glendinning

Managing Director of a business that is passionate about building top quality machinery for a range of industries- machines that are designed to meet the requirements of each particular business we serve & machines that exceed the expectations of those who purchase & operate them.

As an experienced Project & Mechanical Design Engineer, skilled in AutoCAD Mechanical, Solidworks, Engineering principles, Strategic Planning, and Project Management, with a Mechanical Engineering based qualification from University of South Wales, it is my privilege to lead SOVEREIGN, to align the strategic goals within the group of companies & continue to uphold & maintain a well-respected brand of machines across the UK, Ireland & across the globe.

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