In the beginning of the craft beer scene, bottles were the container of choice. Beer cans? Those were for the Budweisers of the world. The balance has tipped, however, and now cans stand alongside bottles as a serious choice for craft brewers.
If your brewery is planning a new release, you have a choice between cans and bottles, with each having its own advantages. Whichever type of container you pick, however, there's one thing that deserves plenty of thought: your craft beer label strategy.
Labels for Beer Cans and Beer Bottles: Container and Label Strategies
The question of whether to can or bottle beer has heated up in recent years. The Brewer magazine reported factors that have driven various producers to one side or the other of this argument.
For instance, bottles are more suitable for beers that gain some of their flavor by aging, but they are breakable — beers meant to be taken along with buyers on picnics or other adventures are better canned. Cost is another consideration: Canning lines may have a higher initial investment than bottling lines, but they are less labor intensive to run.
On one major point, bottles and cans are roughly the same: labeling. The Brewer magazine noted that cans would be more expensive to label than bottles, if a brewery were to use shrink sleeve labels. Custom labeling, however, can be performed in-house using the same type of application process for bottles and cans alike.
In the end, bottle vs. can is just another test of aesthetic preference. If your brewery's wares look and feel best in a can, that's the right container for you, and vice versa.
Beer Can Label Requirements
Once you've decided whether to can or bottle your beers, it's time to ensure you have met all legal requirements. Running afoul of the regulations could be a devastating blow to your brewery. Most beers are classified as malt beverages, which means your labels will have to follow the applicable Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau regulations.
The requirements are relatively straightforward. In addition to clearly stating the name and address of your business, a brand name, the net contents of the bottle and country of origin details, you must also print the standardized Surgeon General's warning about alcohol use while pregnant or operating machinery.
Other terms and descriptions on the label are also controlled by law. Using the word "draft" or "draught," for instance, comes with a legal meaning, as do health claims about whether a beer is "light" or low in carbohydrates. Beer class designations are required nationwide, while alcohol content requirements can vary somewhat at the state level.
Branding with Custom Beer Can Labels
Getting your beer label registered with the authorities and into compliance is a major part of the packaging design process. With that handled, you can feel free to let your creative side out.
For decades, craft brewers have been outdoing one another with stylish and bold label designs. It's up to you which type of aesthetic you'll use to compete on this battlefield:
- ● Will you opt for a flashy, maximalist beer can label that catches shoppers' eyes?
- ● Is an old-time, classic design more suitable?
- ● Should your cans look like traditional macrobrew packaging or radically different?
All of these beer can label design considerations tie back to the way you've conceptualized your brand. Being true to your central aesthetic is a great way to create a consistent, appealing line of beer varieties that will attract repeat customers.
When you select a label printing partner to bring these custom beer can labels to life, Lightning Labels is the obvious choice. By combining the speed and flexibility of all-digital printing with a variety of label material options and unbeatable customer service, Lightning Labels is the best ally a brewery can have.
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