Craft Beer is Gaining Traction

Tap and tasting rooms have reopened across the country and the craft beer market is growing again. The craft brewery business has suffered the last two years from Covid19, inflation, rising fuel, and material costs, and logistical challenges just like every business category. The industry had to make significant shifts at the height of the pandemic as restaurants, bars, taprooms, microbreweries had to close in the early rounds of the pandemic. This forced them to focus on packaging beer for consumer sales and less B2B, or wholesale. Critical supply disruptions also affected access to hops, cans, CO2, and other brewing materials. The industry is rebounding despite ongoing challenges. Government funding and loans were a lifesaver for craft breweries across the country.

The Brewers Association defines an American craft brewery as a small and independent brewer:

Small: Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3 percent of U.S. annual sales). Beer production is attributed to a brewer according to the rules of alternating proprietorships.

Independent: Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by a beverage alcohol industry member that is not itself a craft brewer.

Brewer: Has a TTB Brewer’s Notice and makes beer.

According to the Brewers Association, there are nearly 9,000 craft breweries in the U.S. employing directly and indirectly 400,000 people, supporting local economies by providing jobs, generating revenue, and paying taxes. The industry contributes roughly $62+ billion to the U.S. economy. Craft beer accounts for 12.3% of the $94B overall beer market.

While the giant breweries have large budgets to market their products on a national level, craft breweries focus on niche and regional markets combining creative packaging and beer labels while relying on unique recipes instead of a one-size-fits-all approach. Walk into any beer aisle and craft beers jump off the shelves with vibrant colors, wild artwork, funny names, and creative labels to stand out from the competition.

Printing craft beer labels is an art. Reputable and experienced printers work closely with the brewery’s art department and their pre-press department to get the exact look and feel of the label and packaging. All of this is preceded by the printer getting the right label material that will endure temperature variants, especially in cold and wet environments when beer is on ice, or in a cooler. Adhesion is critical for beer labels and having an experienced craft beer label printing vendor is a plus. They are familiar with the food and beverage industry regulations and know what will and won’t work. The last thing you want is for your craft beer label to slide off the can or bottle.

At Century Printing and Packaging we have been answering the call for craft breweries and distilleries in terms of high-performance labels and packaging. We are investing in the industry and learning all we can about your printing and packaging needs. We have innovative products designed specifically for craft breweries. We have years of experience running beer labels on film with a film liner, which can be applied at high speeds and is more readily available than some substrates.

Contact us today to discuss your unique printing and packaging needs! We are members of the Brewers Association.

Ben Waldrop
Century Printing & Packaging Greer, SC 29651
(Images: Brewers Association and CPnP)

Revolutionary Butter Wrap

There is a new cutting-edge material available to dairies and butter producers in the U.S. The metallized paper is from AR Metallizing, a Nissha company located in Italy. Currently, it is exclusively offered in the United States by Century Printing and Packaging located in Greer, South Carolina.

This innovative product is grease-proof for butter and other dairy based products. Grease in handling butter is one of the biggest complaints from restaurants and consumers. Water-based inks adhere very well to the product which further attests to its sustainability and a continued commitment to environmentally friendly products. The new wrap also provides a light barrier which preserves the aging of the butter. Traditional butter wrappings allow light to penetrate the butter and promote faster aging of the product.

Foil is the traditional film used for butter wrapping by a large number of dairies and until recently it has been the industry standard. However, this new material preserves the butter longer, and is sustainable unlike traditional foil.

Providing higher sustainability and product wrapping for regional dairy and butter producers is something Century Printing and Packaging has made a significant commitment to for the industry. Butter producers need to ensure that their product can be protected from light which affects and progresses product aging. Water-based inks are good for food safe products. Century has a 25 year track record of using water based inks which are environmentally friendly.

Century Printing and Packaging will be exhibiting this ground breaking product for the butter industry at the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA) being held in Atlanta in June. We are proud to promote and display this revolutionary product for the butter and dairy industry.

We have plenty of this material in stock to fulfill regional dairy orders. This material from our Italian partners is revolutionizing the butter industry in terms of product integrity, preservation and sustainability.

Regional dairies contact us today about possibilities for your butter products and wrapping. We look forward to seeing you at the IDDBA in June and showing off this cutting-edge wrapping material. There is nothing like this material in the U.S. for dairy and butter producers so don’t miss the opportunity to engage and contact us regarding the possibilities for your dairy. Stand out and emerge from the competition with this incredible wrap that preserves your product.

At Century Printing and Packaging, our metallized paper runs with an added part to our Corona Treater allow us to treat this type of material for better printability and ink adhesion. Metallized paper can run at faster speeds than foil increasing productivity for a greater ROI and high-quality sealing.

Having the ability to run short volumes which is good for the slow movers of a product family, seasonal items, and test marketing is an advantage. Combined with medium and large volume capability, we are a great fit for companies using this brand new material.

Ben Waldrop
Century Printing & Packaging
Greer, SC 29651

CPnP Employee Feature Jacob Matthews

Century Printing & Packaging Team Members
Jacob Matthews, Graphic Designer

Jacob, tell us about your background and education.

I am a Greenville native and the majority of my family is from Georgia so we do a lot of back forth with our family. I went to Eastside H.S. in Greenville and then went to Greenville Technical College and got my degree in Graphic Design and an Associates in Arts degree.

Upon graduation, I was doing freelance photography and graphic design work. I kept applying for graphic design and arts positions. Then last year Ben and Neil gave me the chance to work for Century. I really like it because now I’m using the skills and knowledge I was trained for in graphic design and art.

Describe your role at Century Printing and Packaging

I am a graphic designer and every now and then I get to design a label for a customer. I’ve done our tradeshow banner designs. I recently designed the new butter wrap paper. I’m also the pre-press operator so when clients send in their art to go on a label my job is to go through and check for trash in the images and clean up anything that won’t print right as well as go through the different color channels to make sure it will print the way the client wants it. I also go through flexo jobs to make sure they have trap to make sure that when they are trying to register the plates lining up on top of each other that there is overlap. If there is not a certain degree of overlap the finished product can show up a lot of white that we don’t want. We extend the shape outward a specific measurement to ensure proper overlap and color matching or alignment.

Is digital artwork different from flexo artwork when it comes to you from a client?

Yes, there is less worrying about alignments and more worrying about matching color. In flexo, we have a viewer that will basically show you how it is going to look when it prints. Digital requires a lot of color profiling and figuring out how the artwork will react with the printer. Sometimes it’s printing a bunch of GMG samples before the job is out there so they are just different workflows.

Do you deal with the customer’s art department or graphic designer?

Yes, we communicate a lot about things like backside ink requirements which means if there is too much ink on the backside it will negate the adhesive so we have to keep it at a minimum. For example, a customer may have a big gray image that we can’t print on the backside because their label won’t stick if we do so there is a lot of back and forth between us finding the right solution for each job.

Jacob, what’s the best part of your job?

I enjoy making plates and trimming them down to the right size for a job and seeing the final result. It’s not something I was trained to do in college but that I learned at Century Printing and Packaging. I enjoy the process of working with Roger in production too. I also enjoy it whenever I get to design something because that’s my wheelhouse.

How does your work affect or relate to sales and production at Century?

If there is ever a problem we go back and trace it to the source. Usually, if there is a problem it comes to us and it’s either something we overlooked or something we should have done that we didn’t. Whenever there is a problem in production it typically comes back to pre-press so a lot of what we do is to make sure the art they bring prints the way they expect. That’s not always easy because some things aren’t going to work. For example, tan is a hard color to match, so many times we talk to production and the client’s design team to find an alternative if say for instance Pantone is a better choice than CMYK for the material we are printing on for them. Our goal is to make sure the client gets what they expect and want.

What kind of software do you use on the job?

I mainly use Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop. We don’t often receive files created using InDesign and Lightroom but we can adjust those as well. Most of my time is usually spent in Illustrator, but we sometimes have to spend time shuffling images in Photoshop.

Jacob, it’s been a year since you were hired, tell us what you think about the company and your work?

With any new job you start you are trying to catch up to speed and wondering if it’s the right job for you and I have been pleasantly surprised at how everyone treats you and they are readily available to help you navigate the new waters. They give you space to learn and navigate but are always ready to help you. For example, I began at the beginning of Covid and I didn’t have my head in some of the software for awhile and had to re-learn some things so it was a bumpy start but after I got in the seat it started to click and things came together again.

Would you address the culture of a teamwork atmosphere at Century?

In the art graphics department, everyone is really good about helping each other out, checking our work out to make sure it complies with the client’s needs. Everyone has each other’s back which is really nice.

What do you like to do when you are away from work during your downtime?

So most of my family is local and not everyone here is blessed like that. I’m from a family of five, my Mom, Dad, brother, sister, and I lived in the same house. It was kind of hectic but everybody kind of ended up doing their own thing. My brother works in logistics and my sister is an occupational therapist working with kids and it was a cool upbringing.

I play guitar and record music and sing a little bit, like rock, singer-songwriter mixture of the two. stuff. I have an Instagram account where I produce graphic art and digital drawings. I also love playing games from time to time.

Did you ever dream you would be working for a printing and packaging company?

No! I actually thought I would be working for a company doing digital ads and stuff. At one point I wanted to do CD art covers because of my passion as a musician, but I really had no idea where I would end up.

So Century has given you the opportunity to employ your education in graphic design?

Yeah, I didn’t just want to be a guy sitting in a cubicle somewhere not able to use the gifts and skillset I have learned in school. I have a lot of portfolio pieces now and it’s nice to be using my skillset to help build the company and myself.

Can you speak to the culture of working for a family-owned business?

Ownership is so accessible and supportive of our work. They aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty and routinely pitch in to help. I feel like hard work is rewarded at Century and the support is incredible compared to my days in retail and freelance work. It makes you want to work hard and celebrate the quality of work our team produces.

How is the new Mark Andy Series IQ digital hybrid Printer impacting the business?

With the move to hybrid from digital, it’s like a lot of internal stuff is involved. It is a lot of stuff at once, a new comm system, new press, and everyone is trying to learn and come up to speed at once. It’s like the Lamborghini of presses.

At Century Printing and Packaging we have a long line of tenured employees who make up our team. We are proud of their work, spirit, and the contribution they make to produce high-quality products for our customers.