With a staggering 22 million+ barrels being produced in the U.S. alone in 2014 – and sales in excess of $19 billion (that’s roughly £13 billion for our UK readers) – the craft beer market is extremely lucrative to say the least.
However, with over 4,000 breweries now registered in the U.S. (and plenty more popping up each year), it’s also insanely competitive. This means that if you’ve long dreamed of launching your own craft beer brand, it’s important to realise that there’s a huge amount to think about before your product appears on the supermarket shelves.
Not only do you have to come up with a unique (and tasty) recipe for your beverage (a task more difficult than you’d expect in such a fiercely competitive market), you also need to consider your:
- Product packaging
While it’s hugely important to consider all of these aspects when launching a craft beer,
bottle labels are arguably the most important (and difficult) aspect of all.
Why Is Craft Beer Bottle Labelling So Important?
When your craft beer finally hits the shelves, it’ll be surrounded by tens (if not hundreds) of competing products, all begging for the attention of the consumer.
If you don’t get your label design right, your beer can quite easily become lost in the crowd, and you’ll find that consumers will be attracted to competing products rather than your own.
Therefore, your label should convey your brand in a simple and clear manner; it needs tell potential customers what you stand for and in turn, why they should purchase your beer rather than one of the many other beers on the shelf.
It should also appeal to your target demographic, which means choosing the right colours, fonts, and overall style – a task easier said than done.
That’s just the design side too; your label also needs to be highly informative and meet a plethora of legal requirements.
The Legalities of Craft Beer Bottle Labelling
While nearly every brand of craft beer has a completely unique label in terms of the overall branding and design, you’ll notice that information-wise, things tend to be fairly consistent.
No matter what brand of craft ale you choose, the label will almost always state the following:
- Beer style (e.g. “India Pale Ale”)
- Volume (in pints/ml)
- Alcohol percentage (e.g. 5.6% ABV.)
- Brand name
- Class designation (e.g. “lager” or “porter”)
While it’s generally good practice to include this information on the label (it’s important that the customer knows what he/she is buying), it’s also a legal requirement.
The law also states how this information must be displayed, and things can get quite specific (e.g. alcohol content MUST be expressed to the nearest 0.1%).
You need to keep this in mind when designing your label, as failure to comply with local laws could result in the label being rejected by local authorities (which would mean a very unhappy client, if you’re the designer responsible for the label).
How to Design the Perfect Craft Beer Label (Infographic)
If everything above seems somewhat daunting, don’t worry; we’ve compiled an easy-to-follow infographic which walks you through the craft beer label design process.
Here it is (US Version - UK version below):
Here it is (UK version):