Reflecting on 2024 So Far: Century Printing and Packaging’s Milestones and Observed Market Trends

As we stand at the midpoint of the year, Century Printing and Packaging takes a moment to reflect on the milestones achieved, strides made, and advancements moving our industry. CP&P has seen great progress and has established strategic initiatives that set the stage for the next six months to improve and innovate for every client.

Century Printing and Packaging has achieved remarkable success this year, having sold over 85 million labels and fulfilled over 3,000 orders. This substantial volume highlights CP&P’s ability and dedication to meeting high demand while maintaining top-notch execution. The presence of a well-organized team working in unison has been instrumental in reaching these impressive milestones.

Let’s uncover some direct impacts to better understand what led to Century Printing and Packaging’s success in the year’s first half.

According to an article on LinkedIn, the Chemical Resistant Labels Market is projected to grow by 13.6% from 2024 to 2031. CP&P has focused on the chemical segment, which has led to their growth and expertise in providing specialized labeling solutions for this industry. Keeping up with this rapidly growing market shows their ability to meet the specific needs of chemical manufacturers, ensuring safety and compliance through durable and long-lasting labeling solutions.

Another reason for the remarkable success witnessed in 2024 is the sale of RFID labels. Century Printing and Packaging has taken the necessary steps to integrate itself into the new world of RFID labeling, not only to understand the industry’s changes but also to position the team as experts in the space. CP&P also intends to invest in encoding equipment for RFID labels within the year, bolstering its capability to stay current with future RFID trend needs.

In line with technological advancements, CP&P is exploring the purchase of a second digital press by the end of the year. This investment will empower the team to proactively assess and respond to customers’ evolving needs. By incorporating additional production bandwidth through introducing new presses, CP&P will have the capacity to accommodate a broader range of customer requirements.

Next, let’s examine market dynamics and customer trends that are significantly contributing to CP&P’s 2024 growth.

We are all experiencing the impact of inflation in one way or another, but one positive effect is the growing favor for store brands over name brands. A significant number of CP&P’s customers produce store brands, and this change in consumer preference has directly boosted sales. You may have already observed the trend of store brands occupying more space in shopping carts as consumers actively seek budget-friendly alternatives to name brands. Read more about this trend in the Wall Street Journal.

In contrast to last year, when supply chain disruptions presented significant challenges, 2024 has witnessed more stable supply chains. Century Printing and Packaging has taken proactive measures by expanding its pool of materials suppliers. This move ensures cost competitiveness and swift production timelines without any delays. The newfound stability has enabled CP&P to prioritize delivering consistent quality and reliability to their customers, even amid ongoing uncertainties in global supply chains.

Lastly, let’s dive into some strategic initiatives that CP&P has taken that will lead them into a flourishing 2025.

Century Printing and Packaging has conducted extensive studies on setup costs in response to customers’ heightened price sensitivity. This research has allowed them to refine existing pricing models, ensuring competitive quotes while maintaining profitability. By understanding the detailed costs of each production run, CP&P can provide customers with the best possible pricing without compromising quality.

Century’s workforce remains a cornerstone of their yearly success. CP&P takes pride in having a stable and dedicated team with the right people in the right positions, driving operations forward without interruption. A unified team, all pushing in the same direction, will fortify CP&P against any challenges that come their way in the second half of the year.

Looking ahead to the second half of 2024, Century Printing and Packaging is confident in its ability to continue providing high-value labels at every price point to its customers. The strategic investments mentioned above, strong production capabilities, and stable supply chains position CP&P well for future growth.

Century Printing and Packaging wouldn’t be here today without the support of its customers, partners, and team members for their continued collaboration and dedication. Together, CP&P is looking forward to achieving even greater milestones in the coming months and years.

Thank you for being a part of the journey.

Adapting to the Shift: How Craft Beer Brands are Embracing the Can

The beer industry has seen a significant shift in the past few years when it comes to packaging. As the demand for craft beer continues to rise, so does the need for creative and eye-catching labels that distinguish one brand from the next. Century Printing & Packaging has been keeping an eye on emerging beer label trends and is excited to share its insights into the evolution of craft beer packaging.

There has been an evolution in the way craft beer is packaged and labeled, with the transition from glass bottles to cans becoming increasingly accepted. This change has had a huge impact on beer merchants with whom Century Printing & Packaging has maintained long-standing commitments to serve and champion.

One major factor that has affected the beer industry is the shortage of glass. Coming out of the pandemic, supply chain issues have resulted in many beer brands opting to purchase unprinted cans and add their own labels as needed. This not only offers more flexibility in terms of branding and design, but it also allows breweries to save money by only ordering the exact amount of cans they need at any given time.

Ben and Neil, two veterans in the beer labeling business, have witnessed first-hand the change in the craft beer market over the last ten years. From its beginnings as a niche hobbyist business to its current status as a crowded, mature industry. Traditionally, canned beer has been viewed as lower quality. However, this perception has changed in recent years, thanks in large part to big-name brands now selling their beers in cans. This shift has made it more acceptable, leading to a surge in the popularity of canned beer.

Breweries have embraced cans for their numerous advantages, such as increased portability, durability, and recyclability. Additionally, cans are known for their ability to preserve beer’s quality and taste, making them an attractive choice.

Century Printing & Packaging will be at the 2023 Craft Brewers Conference in Nashville this May 7th-10th, to showcase their commitment to the latest packaging trends. In Booth #1754 a variety of materials and how they look on cans will be on display. Century Printing empowers its clients to stay innovative and emphasizes the importance of packaging in a crowded market. As consumers continue to embrace the movement in the industry, CP&P is passionate about staying ahead of the curve and helping their clients meet the changing demands of the market.

Fortunately, many breweries have risen to the challenge. CP&P partners with breweries all over the US to produce eye-catching designs that stand out on store shelves. Ben and Neil work closely with their clients to ensure their can designs are both functional and visually appealing.

Overall, the rise of canned beer represents an exciting time in the beer world. As more and more breweries turn to cans as their packaging of choice, it will be interesting to see how this trend continues to shape the craft beer market in the years to come. The team at CP&P anticipates that cans will become even more prevalent. Breweries that haven’t already made the switch may find it necessary to stay competitive. With Ben and Neil’s 10+ years of expertise in beer packaging, they are confident they can help breweries make a smooth transition to cans.

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
President
Century Printing & Packaging Greer, SC 29651
800.344.7509
(Images: Brewers Association and CPnP)

Inflation Is Hitting Every Manufacturing Sector

Everyone is feeling the pain of inflation from rising prices in goods, materials, chemicals, fuel, and supplies. Whether you serve B2B/B2C every sector is experiencing the avalanche from inflation, supply chain disruptions, Covid19, labor shortages, and a lack of available materials. A trip to the grocery store with empty shelves or purchase limits on certain products is proof enough. It is cliche, but all of these factors have produced the “perfect storm”.

Manufacturers are scrambling to find new supply lines and vendors. Shortages from food, chemicals, lumber, metals, microchips, rubber goods, paper, laminates, and countless other goods have moved businesses from a competitive price focus to sheer availability. Shortages and availability only tighten the vise grip of competing manufacturers. Auto manufacturers are now competing with consumer electronics for computer chips. Before the storm, each had different suppliers and there was no shortage. During the storm, you may produce cars, but your computer or television producer has landed in your backyard competing for the same chips.

The printing and packaging industry is not immune to this economic reality. The supply chain gridlock and inflationary pressures have created a challenging environment for the industry. Previously fully stocked vendor’s distribution centers of paper, ink, boxes, laminate, substrate materials, and film are running empty. Lead times of these materials have drastically expanded. Shipping costs due to rising fuel prices and container shortages have only added to the inflationary pressures. These dynamics are unique because the combination of factors has impacted every aspect of business regardless of category. In the past, Wall Street cycles have come and gone, but typically it’s been one industry or just a few that have experienced serious disruption and challenges. Today, EVERY industry and business is affected by these colliding factors.

The interdependency within the global economy can best be explained by dominoes falling one over the other throughout a massive display. Everything relates to the other. Loaded ships sit in harbors and can’t get unloaded, a pandemic wiped out 700,000 people in the U.S. alone to date. Many of those were workers and paying taxes. The printing and packaging industry is experiencing supply and material increases between 7-12%, if not more. Polypropylene resin has increased 150% since January of 2020, and PET resin has risen over 20% in the same period (CDI October 2021 Report). Some Industry experts are projecting continued shortages of raw material and polymers to last through Q4 2022.

No reputable and successful business enjoys price increases. Their success is built upon providing a high-quality product/service at a competitive price backed with extraordinary customer service. These companies thrive on long-term customer relationships by exceeding customer expectations. However, there is a point at which even the strongest cannot resist anymore because they start losing money.

Craig Austin writing for PBS said: “Economists surveyed by Bloomberg in October expect inflation to slow to 3.4% next summer and hit 2.6% by the end of the year. While that would be encouraging, it’s still well above the pre-pandemic average of 1.8% and outside the Fed’s target. It’s unclear whether economists are recalibrating their expectations after the October Consumer Price Index report. Regardless, consumers should get used to the higher prices. They’re the new normal.”

Smart companies and businesses are concentrating on minimizing price increases while extending their vendor partnerships to have access to the materials and supplies they need to do their jobs. Increased costs are inevitable given the global market, but smart and reputable suppliers and manufacturers are working with their clients and suppliers to keep prices as low as they can. Material and supply shortages can be expected well into 2022. Plan way ahead to get ahead of this troubling trend. Hopefully, supply, logistics, and labor will self-correct in 2022.

At Century Printing and Packaging we have worked internally to increase efficiency and deliver the same high level of quality that helped us earn our customer’s trust during these challenging days. This combination has allowed us to only raise prices on products once this year. We are well aware of the market fluctuations and we are working with our customers and suppliers to provide solutions despite price increases to supply and rising material costs. We have been printing labels that stick, but have great eye appeal and consistently tell your brand story. We don’t mind tackling a challenging problem if it means we can help you produce something that is more appealing and of higher quality. We have produced labels and packaging for almost 25 years, so trust us to work with you as a partner instead of a job number.

Ben Waldrop, President
Century Printing & Packaging
Greer, SC 29651
Tel: 800.344.7509

Craft Breweries Emerging from COVID-19

Like many industries, the craft brewery business has suffered from Covid19. As many parts of the country begin to reopen and indoor gathering rules are relaxed the industry is finding casualties that just couldn’t survive, but also a surge in creativity and innovation.

Many breweries have taprooms or restaurants that were closed for weeks and even months during the pandemic. Waiters, servers, cooks, bartenders were furloughed or terminated because there was no income/revenue to support them. Others forged ahead and supported their employees the best they could with PPP funds and other resources from the CARES Act.

No industry in the U.S. has been untouched by the economic scourge of Covid19. Record unemployment levels and a full-blown recession are still challenging small businesses like independent, family-owned, regional craft breweries.

Unlike major breweries, independent craft breweries typically don’t have large cash reserves or production quantities that can offset these challenges. Like most small businesses these breweries view their employees as a family which makes decisions even more difficult against economic realities.

The Brewers Association has conducted a series of surveys/polls of their membership during and after “stay at home” orders by state governors. Economist Bert Watson has been analyzing and interpreting the data for the month of May:

“In terms of volume growth, results are similar to what we found in early April, with a weighted estimate of total brewery sales down 30.5%. The median brewery respondent has sales that are down 50%. Note that while we had representative participation, the volume above 100,000 was far less than it is as a percentage of the full data set, so accounting for that would likely improve the total number, and I think it’s likely that if we use this survey to build a broader estimate, the total craft is likely down more like 20-25%…….Although we haven’t yet reached the three-month threshold we asked about in that survey, there has yet to be a massive surge in brewery closures. Yes, some breweries have closed, but to date, the vast majority of breweries have managed to stay in business.” (3rd Covid19 Impact Study-850 craft breweries participated)

Few small businesses can survive reduced sales of 25-50%, but through perseverance, loans, strong business plans, and creative strategies the majority have been able to tread water and are starting to float again. There are more than 8,000 craft breweries in the U.S. employing nearly 60,000 Americans. In 2018 the economic impact of craft breweries on the U.S. economy was $79B. The industry provides jobs, tax revenue for the U.S, states, and local governments.

During the pandemic closing tap and tasting rooms was a big blow, but many brewers got creative and produced hand sanitizer and drinking water for local essential industries and first responders. Others pivoted to curbside pick up and delivery which has been allowed in many states.

Sales continue to lag but there’s cautious optimism as restaurants, bars, and indoor dining resumes. Many brewers have used this time to strategically plan for the future including their marketing efforts. Intentionally examining artwork, design, logos, and brand messaging. Creative packaging and labels that stand out from the pack are critical now more than ever.

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. As a small, family, and locally owned business we understand just how challenging Covid19 has been for small businesses and the overall economy. Contact us today to discuss your unique printing and packaging needs!

Ben Waldrop
President
Century Printing & Packaging
Greer, SC 29651
800.344.7509

(Images: Unsplash & CP&P)