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

Craft Beer Labels & Packaging: Why You Need to Stand Out Now

An out of town attorney trying a case in an old courthouse for the first time made several observations about the grand old building while representing his client. After a break in the proceedings the judge invited the well-known lawyer and newcomer to see him in his chambers. He greeted the attorney and asked him how he liked the historic courthouse. The attorney told him it was a beautiful old specimen, but it needed work. The judge asked him what was wrong. The highly respected lawyer noted the warped wooden floors, a loose banister, unsightly restrooms, an old HVAC system that was struggling, the sound system was over 25 years old, and he noted the difficulty for those with disabilities entering the building and struggling to get to the upstairs courtrooms.

The judge told the newcomer he had no idea. The attorney responded that we all get comfortable until a new pair of eyes come to our home and observe things that nostalgic natives don’t ever notice because they’ve grown accustomed to them. The judge took out a legal pad and wrote down the observations and asked the lawyer to offer more while he was in town so he could send them to the town council. Packaging is the same! You can think your product label, or package is appealing, but at the end of the day it may just be that old courthouse and walks by it because they grew accustomed to it.

In a recent article for the Brewers Association Justin Kendall quotes its chief economic officer:

“In a world of intense competition, marketing and branding is more important than ever,” said Bart Watson, the Brewers Association’s chief economist. Speaking at the Beer Marketing and Tourism Conference last week in St. Petersburg, Florida, Watson also addressed changing consumer habits around beer tourism as part of the growing need to differentiate.

According to Watson, an average of two breweries open daily, and there are now 11,500 brewery permits filed with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), which he said has historically been a strong indicator of the brewery count over the next two years.

“Anyone who thinks this explosion in the number of breweries is going to end sometime soon, I think they’re deluding themselves,” he said. “It’s going to end at some point, but most of the data suggests we’re not there yet and that there are a lot of breweries going to open. And some of these are second locations.”

There are approximately 8,000 breweries in America and that number keeps growing every day.

As more and more craft beer products hit the market consumers are flooded with choices. Of course you need to have a very special tasting product to create demand, but equally important is how you dress your beer. The days of having a lazy beer label, or packaging are over. The competition is too steep and with the advent of more wineries and craft distillers the market share is shrinking.

How do you plan to stand out among the competition? It’s critical that you have a great label and packaging design, but beyond that you’ve got to have one that performs. You can’t afford to have a great label that slides off the bottle in cold and wet environments. Nor can you tolerate a carton that bleeds colors inside a beer cooler just when you need it to shine for the consumer.

Now more than ever it’s important for craft brewers to have catchy, creative designed labels that attract consumers and perform whether it’s cans, 6-pack packaging, or bottles. Your label can set you apart from the competition or make you disappear into a sea competition. It’s incredibly important that you engage a label printer and packaging company that understands the industry and the importance of shelf appeal and market performance. It’s not a one size fits all market anymore.

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. Contact us today!

Ben Waldrop
Century Printing & Packaging
Greer, SC 29651