Labelling | Printing

How brewers can get crafty with labelling

In the world of craft beer it’s not so much the product, but the branding that can make or break a company. Guy Boxall, senior manager of label printing at OKI UK, highlights how personalised labelling and printing can offer an advantage.


he craft beer movement has become an established fixture in the drinks market. Craft breweries and their customers have revolutionised the global beer markets over the past two decades, ending a century of the dominance of global multinationals and the homogenisation of beer.

The sector is continuing to experience steady growth, largely thanks to the introduction of craft and speciality beers. There is a strong and lasting global appetite for beer, and craft beer represents an opportunity to appeal to different consumer tastes and preferences around the world.

Cost-effective ways to get noticed

With marketing budgets being composed mainly of ingenuity and hustle, craft brewers are constantly in search of low-cost, high-return marketing strategies. So how can they shine brighter than the rest, in an overcrowded market?

The reality is that many of these breweries do a poor job of standing out in their presentation, and this is where the golden opportunity lies.

The global craft beer market is set to grow at a CAGR of 19% until 2030, according to Goldstein Market Intelligence. This provides brewers with a chance to tap into new revenue streams, by increasing their appeal beyond traditional beers – a huge opening they won’t want to pass up.

Standing out against both the competing craft breweries and the larger brands can be a challenge for a small business.

However, great-tasting beer doesn’t have a chance of success in a saturated marketplace if nobody tries it. By producing the best-designed packaging for a stylish bottle that promotes the high-quality and uniqueness of the refined ‘craft’ beer within, you have a product that is also visually appealing. 

The microbrewery, nanobrewery, and more recently craft brewery are often small independently owned businesses that employ more traditional methods to brew smaller batches of beer with a unique quality and flavour. 

Capitalising on this trend also gives these smaller breweries a way to challenge larger breweries for more market share. However, standing out against both the competing craft breweries and the larger brands can be a challenge for a small business. 

As a result, smaller breweries need to find creative and cost-effective ways to stand out, for example through personalised labels and bottle collars, as well as hosting and sponsoring corporate events. 

These very small-to-medium scale breweries have a much lower marketing budget than their larger counterparts. With fewer hectolitres of beer production, they often do not require the large volumes of labels and promotional assets that larger beer brands need, making their production costs expensive.

Tap into product personalisation

While larger breweries have the buying power to negotiate special prices for hundreds of thousands of printed labels as well as the warehouse space to store them, in-house printing would offer smaller breweries a strategic advantage.

In-house printing enables breweries to save on the cost of using a third-party print supplier and remove the lead times.

And with a minimum volume of just one label, this also means personalised labels are an affordable additional opportunity. Product personalisation can make all the difference considering 80% of frequent shoppers only shop with brands that personalise the experience, according to personalisation platform Smarter HQ.

Breweries can maximise cost efficiency by printing their own waterproof labels, perfect for withstanding refrigeration. Variable data printing enables breweries to print small runs of labels with variations in the name of the beer, seasonal production and name of a retailer.

The global craft beer market is set to grow at a CAGR of 19% until 2030.

Companies can create a comprehensive range of marketing materials printed in-house, in professional quality; from bottle collars and sleeves to waterproof, tearproof menus, event invitations and free-standing banners, as well as self-adhesive floor and window stickers. 

Using all of these, craft beer breweries can actively promote themselves while offering customers the opportunity to personalise their events and beers.

Printing their marketing assets themselves helps businesses to reduce print expenditure and achieve creative, professional results without the lengthy processes experienced with third-party print suppliers.

It can help businesses grow their brand and capture attention at events and trade shows with tailor-made hanging banners, pop-up banners, waterproof menus and wristbands. Ultimately, all sorts of new ideas are made possible.

Great-tasting beer doesn’t have a chance of success in a saturated marketplace if nobody tries it.

A great taste is not enough. Attracting beer lovers is key and starts outside the bottle. 

Everything from the label to the marketing materials promoting the brand help influence purchasing decisions by standing out in a crowded marketplace. 

This can achieve much more than simply communicating what a product is and who it’s made by; it can also help create and promote the right brand identity to stand out from the competition.