A Guide to Custom Craft Beer Labels and Packaging for Breweries

You may brew the best craft beer on the market, but nobody is going to drink your product unless you convince people to try it. To do so, your beer needs to stand out from an increasingly competitive crowd—and one of the best ways to grab attention and define your brand is through custom craft beer labels and packaging.

Branding for Craft Breweries: Custom Packaging and Labels

Wherever your craft beer is sold, a custom label and unique packaging system can define your product, attract customers, and represent your brewery. 

These branding decisions are critically important to the success of your product. If you create a strong design and work with an experienced printing company, your craft beer will be set up for success. Alternatively, a poorly designed label won’t catch anyone’s eye, and packaging with weak spots could collapse entirely. And, if you don’t take legal mandates into consideration, your products won’t be able to go on the market at all.

Fortunately, the world of custom craft beer labels and packaging is vast, and you don’t have to be without help or inspiration at any stage of the process. 

How to Design Custom Craft Beer Labels

If you walk through the aisles of any liquor store or retailer that sells alcohol and look closely at the labels on the cans and bottles, you’ll see artwork in an incredible variety of styles. These art pieces have a big responsibility: They have to tell a story, catch the attention of passing customers, and encourage shoppers to purchase the product they are advertising.

So, how do you create your own custom craft beer label that stands out from the crowd and convinces consumers to try your product? Keep these tips in mind to get started.

1. Define Your Brand

Your first step is, in fact, to take a step back.

Look at the big picture to get an idea of the brand of your beer and brewery. An effective label shares the story of your brand at a glance—but before you create the label, you have to nail down the brand.

Consider the answers to these questions:

  • What is the product?
  • What is the consumer group you want to target?
  • Who do you want to attract with your label?
  • What impression do you want your label to make?
  • What story do you want to communicate to your customers?

Your brewery (and, therefore, likely your brand) may be on the contemporary side and offer modern twists on old flavors, or you may lean more traditional and focus on creating classic brews. Whatever your brand may be, make sure it is represented by your label.

2. Keep the Customer in Mind

How will customers purchase your craft beer? Online environments, beverage stores, craft beer shops, and distributors all have different design considerations to keep in mind. For example, striking visuals may be more important for craft beers displayed on shelves than for beers sold by restaurants and bars.

3. Choose a Label Shape and Size

While labels can generally be cut to whatever size and shape you are looking for, there are two main categories: full wraps and partial wraps. While full wraps go all the way around the bottle or can, partial wraps come with separate front and back labels. 

Custom shapes and sizes can make your craft beer label stand out in a sea of designs. Just make sure all the content you need to have on the product label will fit.

4. Select Colors

A pop of color is a great way to catch the attention of potential customers. The color of your craft beer label can create emotion, evoke memory, and set expectations. It’s one of the easiest methods of maintaining your brand across products.

Remember, for labels on beer bottles, don’t forget about the color of the bottle itself as well as the liquid inside it. You want to choose a color scheme that complements instead of clashes with your beer.

5. Develop Your Style

Logos, illustrations, graphics, designs—craft beer labels have become an art form. Think about how you can develop a label style that fits your brand identity. Does your craft beer have strong regional ties? See if you can commission a local artist to create custom artwork for your label. Is your brewery trying to solidify brand awareness in your consumer base? A striking logo will help customers recognize your products and build brand loyalty.

Don’t forget about the little things, either. Typeface choices, for example, can communicate a lot about your brewery’s personality and attract different types of consumers. 

6. Tell Your Unique Story

Words matter. When customers read your label, what story will they see? 

The words you choose to include on your craft beer label can tell potential consumers what to expect when drinking your product. You should both accurately describe your beer and also display the textual information shoppers need to make an informed purchase.

7. Include the Fine Print

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has a strict set of regulations concerning information that brewers must include on craft beer labels. Certain elements are required by law, such as the brand name, country of origin, alcohol content, and mandatory health warnings. These items must be displayed on the label in a font size large enough for consumers to read.

8. Find the Right Printing Company

Quality is key! If you don’t have the right printing company, the time, effort, and care you have put into your craft beer label doesn’t matter. Labels are only as good as the companies that print them.

Finding a printing and packaging manufacturer that aligns with your vision is a crucial part of getting your custom labels on your beer products. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, get references, and see samples before agreeing to work with a printer.

9. Custom Craft Beer Packaging Ideas

Craft beer packaging doesn’t just protect your products; it also communicates your brand to potential customers. With packaging that incorporates your logo, style, colors, story, and message on the outside, your products will stand out from the crowd and encourage consumers to take a closer look. 

10. Types of Craft Beer Packaging

There are several types of craft beer packaging. 

Mother cartons are large containers that are usually created to hold bottles that are 12 ounces or larger. These cartons are sturdy and constructed to support the weight of these heavier bottles. On the other hand, trays are a great way to store and display large quantities of smaller cans and bottles.

Carriers and baskets are also extremely popular. The classic four- and six-packs are easy to spot on the shelves of any store that sells alcohol. Six-packs tend to hold volume beers, while four-packs can hide the higher cost of pricier products. Twelve-packs are reserved for the most popular craft beers. Additionally, variety packs—where breweries offer a selection of different products in one carrier or basket—have increased in popularity.

11. Design Options for Custom Craft Beer Packaging

When it comes to craft beer packaging, the design opportunities are endless. Windows can be cut into the side of larger containers, and handles can be added to baskets or trays. 

However, you don’t have to go with the flow. With the right printing company, you can create custom craft beer packaging that meets your exact specifications. Do you want to add punch-out coasters on the side? What about a little window that fits right over the label of your craft beer? Are you interested in a unique shape or type of container? A custom printing and packaging manufacturer can help you design and build attractive craft beer packaging that will keep your product safe.

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United GMG Is Ready to Help Develop Your Custom Craft Beer Packaging and Labels

At United GMG, we have helped breweries create and print unique, eye-catching labels and packaging for their craft beer products. Our retail packaging services include a variety of printing options and benefits:

  • Prototypes and small run options
  • Custom and standard sizes and shapes
  • Full-color printing options
  • Sustainable and recyclable packing materials
  • Custom features like finishes, materials, colors, and more
  • No minimum order quantities

Whether you’re a national brand or a local brewery, we’re here to help.

Get Started on Your Custom Craft Beer Packaging Project Today

The right craft beer label and packaging can increase the chances of consumers and distributors purchasing your product—the first step to turning them into lifelong customers. If you’re looking to develop effective retail packaging for your brewery, look no further than United GMG.

We’re here to support you at every stage of the printing process, from creating memorable craft beer labels to producing retail packaging solutions that fit your unique needs. Are you unsure of what you want to create? That’s okay! Our team is ready and waiting to help you develop your retail packaging prototype today.

Contact us to get a free quote or call to speak to a United GMG representative directly.

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