Craft Beer Label Design: A Beer Brand Owners Guide
With the U.S. craft beer market exceeding sales of $19.6 billion per annum (in 2014) and growing every year, craft beer is certainly a lucrative business opportunity for those with a passion for the fizzy stuff.
However, creating your own craft beer business takes a lot of thought and effort.
Not only do you need a winning beer formula (i.e. something at least comparable to the big brands in terms of sheer quality and taste), but you also need to create a brand, deal with regulatory issues and production problems, and successfully get your beer on the shelves of stores/bars/pubs.
Most craft beer entrepreneurs tend to focus on the aforementioned issues without much persuasion, but there’s one other issue that doesn’t always get the attention it deserves: the bottle label.
It might sound crazy, but your bottle label has the potential to make or break your business – it’s the number one aspect by which purchasing decisions are made.
Here’s a guide to getting craft beer labelling right:
Stand Out from The Crowd
Perhaps the most important – and often overlooked – ingredient in the perfect craft beer label recipe is the idea of uniqueness.
Not only is this important from a branding perspective (there’s no point being another “me too” brand in a super-competitive market like craft beer), but it’s also important from a visual perspective.
When customers are looking for a beer to buy in their local supermarket, they’re greeted with an abundance of choice, and they don’t have time to carefully peruse every bottle label on the shelf and make a super-informed decision.
Instead, they look at the few bottles that stand out to them.
This means that if your bottle label is similar to the rest of the beers on the shelf, it’s probably not going to get a second look.
Therefore, you need to do your research and look at the competition.
You should look at:
- Material (e.g. paper, clear adhesive label, etc.)
The easiest way to do this is simply to head down to your local supermarket and look at the craft beers on the shelves.
Your aim is to notice similarities so you can then buck the trend with your craft beer label, thus allowing you to stand out from the crowd.
For example, if there are a tonne of beers with paper labels, it might be best to use a clear/wood label for your beer. If most of the labels are red, use a completely different colour.
Even if you hire the greatest graphic designer on the planet to design your bottle label, he/she won’t be entirely free to do whatever they want in terms of the design.
There are a number of pieces of information that must be included on any beer label, and there are also pieces of information that should be avoided.
Here are a few that MUST be included:
- Brand name (e.g. “Ted’s delicious beer”)
- Class designation (e.g. “ale”)
- Name + Address (e.g. “Ted’s delicious beer, 12 beer road, London…”)
- Net contents (e.g. 1 pint – there are strict rules here)
And here are a few things that you shouldn’t include:
- Flags (e.g. U.S. flag)
- Coats of arms
- Words such as “strong”, “full strength” or anything else that may be a statement of alcoholic content
How to Design the Perfect Craft Beer Label (INFOGRAPHIC)
Here’s a nifty infographic – created by the bottle label printing company, FastLabels – that goes into a lot more detail (and also offers some research) about craft beer label design.