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
Century Printing & Packaging
Greer, SC 29651

(Images: Unsplash & CP&P)

Unhinge Your Brand™ with a Story-Label™

Behind every craft beer, there is a great story. Whether it’s tied to its indigenous roots/origin and how it all got started, the type of beer (IPA, stout, lager, wheat, etc.), its community of origin, family-owned, employee-owned or how the name came about there is a story waiting to be told.

Nothing communicates or resonates with consumers and customers like a story. Every person, town, company, product, sports team, family, and friend has a story to tell. Unfortunately telling your story on a product label can be an insurmountable challenge because of space limitations. You spend a lot of money, research, time and energy developing an eye-catching label to go on a great product, but due to legal labeling requirements (nutrition information, alcohol percentage, place of origin, etc.,), you have to give up much-needed space to tell your story and promote your brand.

But what if there was a label that would meet the legal requirements for craft beer and offer twice the space to tell your story? Imagine if you could “unhinge your brand™” with a Story-Label™ and provide a personal touch for consumers. You can! Century Printing and Packaging in Greer, SC, has created such a label.

This groundbreaking innovative label provides craft breweries with more space to tell their story. Imagine a consumer sitting at home, or in a bar with your beer and being able to fold out the beer label and discover your story. For example, let’s say there was a craft brewery in Elberton, Georgia (known for its granite) called “Granite Brewing”. Their product was born out of the rich history of granite from North Georgia. It could tell the story of Elberton and the surrounding areas rich in granite promoting a strong craft beer, bold taste, and locally owned. You get the idea.

These high-quality labels perform in cold and wet conditions. Century has built a strong reputation for dependable, durable, and high performing craft beer labels, nutraceuticals, CBD oil labels, etc. The flexographic labels ensure stunning colors and graphic details of your product stand out from the competition. Because the plates are made in-house the turn around time for these cutting-edge labels is fast whether you are running a few thousand or several hundred thousand. The ink used in the process is a proven water-based product that is environmentally friendly. This is a craft beer label like no other.

The Story-Label™ is a powerful customized brand marketing tool that allows you to provide engaging content for consumers and attract a bigger following for your product. What if you could feature your employees on different labels like your Master Brewer, the owner, and their family story, or something funny? What if your craft beer has a cool brand play with a mascot like a parrot, or bulldog? You could feature the story of the mascot with unique content about your brewery.

The label is like a door on hinges. You can “unhinge your brand™” and tell your story when the consumer opens it. Imagine gathering a loyal following of your labels being collected and posted in man-caves, garages, or collected like bottle caps, or cans. Your fall (Octoberfest, Harvest) or summer seasonal brew could be promoted in a way like never before. The possibilities are endless for creating engaging content driving your brand for consumers and building a loyal following.

Ben Waldrop, President
Century Printing & Packaging

The Advantage of Digital Press Labels For Beer & Beverage Co’s

The digital press has revolutionized the print label industry’s ability to print shorter label runs for beer and beverage customers without sacrificing the quality of large press runs. Previously, shorter runs were cost prohibitive on larger presses because there just weren’t enough labels produced to justify the cost.

In addition to cost savings without sacrificing quality, the digital press produces labels that stick no matter how cold, wet, bulky, or leafy the product. The digital press enables companies like Century Printing and Packaging to provide high-quality, affordable labels for the craft beer and beverage market.

Label appearance for craft, or niche beverages is critical in terms of product appeal, perceived freshness and taste. Nobody wants an inferior label that hinders the point of purchase decision and falls off, or peels when the product is cold, or wet after purchase.

Our Mark Andy Digital One press is a simple and compact resource that allows us to free up capacity on our higher output presses and produce high quality labels for beer and beverage runs with a faster turnaround ensuring the priority of your label production. The 4-color CMYK, hybrid spot with in-line flexographic and air-cooled, UV LED drying enables us to produce dynamic labels that meet industry compliance standards and exceed customer expectations.

Craft beer, beverage and small breweries produce some of the best products in the country, and they work very hard to create them, but if their labels do not meet the consumer appeal eye-test, they will never be fully discovered. Digital press labels for cold beverages are not only made to stick, they cover the end-cap, beer & beverage aisle appeal by standing out among the competition. You can have a phenomenal product, but you can lose sales to an inferior product by the competition because they have a better looking and lasting labels. You get one chance to make a first impression and a high quality label that sticks can make the difference!

Craft Distilleries: A Growing Opportunity

As the craft beer industry has exploded since the late 90’s the craft distillery industry is rapidly catching up. “Craft,” means a lot of things depending on whom you are asking, but it’s generally agreed upon that it is associated with a small, independently owned, company. It is also related to the amount of product that is produced by the craft brewer/distiller.

A craft brewer is defined by the Brewers Association as, “a company that has an annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less, and less than 25% of the company is owned or controlled by an alcoholic beverage industry member that is not a craft brewer.” According to the American Distilling Institute certified craft distillers must be: independently owned; small-scale (less than 100,00 proof gallons/year); and have “hands-on,” on-site production.

Craft distilleries are dotting the American landscape more and more every day. They can be found in Kentucky, Texas, and Charleston, Tennessee, South Carolina, NY and beyond. Craft distillers have carved out a niche in the distilled spirit industry and opened a partnership door for bottle manufacturers and label printers with the right equipment. However, having the right label is every bit as important as the right bottle, and in many cases more so. The right label design, quality, texture and adhesion can make, or break sales.

A handful of label printers have invested in the right equipment and have the necessary experience to produce quality, showcase labels that perform. The digital press has given printing and packaging companies the opportunity to provide affordable labels for shorter craft distiller runs as opposed to the higher volume runs of the major distilleries. Set up time is easier and printers can get really creative.

While quality beer labels need to be able to stay in ice and under-water for up to a week, distilled spirit labels do not. The beer label has to be appealing, but function is even more important so the label adheres to the bottle surface in a tougher, wet environment. Distilled spirit labels must endure the spillage of alcohol down the label, but they are not subjected to the water and cold temperatures like craft beer. This opens the door for even more creativity in terms of layout, design (look and feel) of the distilled spirit.

At Century Printing & Packaging our Digital One Press enables us to help the craft distiller consider a wider variety of label material as well as creative, eye-appealing designs. The Digital One press enables us to use a tactile, velum, velvet, and more kinds of finish/feel. The digital press allows for unique shapes, special inks and different textures so your distilled spirit can stand out on the shelf since over 60% of alcohol purchases are done so in store.

Standing out from the crowd is a big deal when you’ve only got 8-10 seconds to make an impression. At Century Printing and Packaging we design and print labels that stick and stand out!

Ben Waldrop, President
Century Printing and Packaging, Inc.
Greer, SC 29651