Expand Your Craft Brewery Brand Awareness with a Story-Label™

The craft beer industry in the U.S. increased its footprint in 2019 to nearly $30B. According to the Brewers Association, craft beer captured 13.6% of the U.S. beer market by volume and grew by 4% in volume. Overall beer sales were slightly down (2%) but craft breweries sales went up 6% to $29.3B. Craft breweries own a 13.6% share of the $116B beer market that includes domestics and imports from the big breweries. The numbers are encouraging although we expect a drop due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, a 3.6% increase while the overall beer market dropped to -1.6% is a hopeful sign.

One of the biggest hurdles for any beer in today’s market is brand awareness and positioning. Standing out from the crowd has never been more important. While many consumers have a “go-to” beer there is a significant section of the market that is influenced by packaging, labels, graphics, color, and layout. Craft beer drinkers like to explore and experiment with various brewers. Telling your story has never been more important, but limited space on labeling has always been a challenge because you have to include certain things by law like contents, calories, nutritional info, etc., which takes up valuable label space.

Building a loyal following begins with consistency, taste, flavor, and appeal. But if a consumer has never tried your brew it’s hard to capture all of that on six-pack printing, or a beer label until now. Traditional beer labels typically are identified by their logo, a positioning statement, or tag line and color. Beyond that there just isn’t a lot of space to expand on your brand.

The all-new Story-Label™ is a marketing dream for craft breweries. You can double your print space and expand on your brand. Positioning your brand has never been more important and the Story-Label™ enables you to enhance your brand by telling your unique story while other beers settle for a logo and a few words. Imagine connecting with the consumer in a way like no other? If your brand has a unique story about its formation, name, family of origin, or mascot you can use a Story-Label™ to tell the story without worrying about space limitations.

You can feature a note from your Master Brewer to explain the brewing process, feature employees, or seasonal brews with detailed information. The sky is the limit on what you can do from a branding perspective.

These high-quality labels perform in cold and wet conditions. 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.

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.

We are a family-owned, local business that has carved out a niche in producing high quality, performing labels for CBD oils, craft beer, and neutraceuticals. Every craft brewery has a story to tell and we want to help you tell yours with a Story-Label™

Go to www.cpandp.com/story-label for more information.

Ben Waldrop, President
Century Printing & Packaging
Greer, SC

Shipping Manager at Century Printing and Packaging

Tonya Gilliam is the shipping manager for Century Printing and Packaging in Greer, South Carolina.  She has been with the company for seven years and her story is unique.

So Tonya how did you get involved with Century Printing and Packaging?

My daughter and Neil Waldrop’s daughter were in a play together in Greer and I was a volunteer.  Someone asked what I was doing.  I had been laid off and was looking for a job and they introduced me to Neil. He had an opening and a week later he called me and had a job opening for making plates. I started making plates and moved on to be the shipping manager.

What is your role at Century Printing and Packaging?

We deal with Fed Ex, UPS, TH Robinson, and other shipping companies to make sure that customers have what they need/order. The orders are fulfilled by putting them on a pallet.  They are double-checked so that each item like the packing list, bill of lading, and other necessary paperwork go into the boxes. We inspect the labels to make sure they are correct with the right amount of goods on the box and how many are in each box.

We are shipping from 7 am- 4 pm Monday through Friday. We resolve problems with shipping by tracking  UPS and FEDEX.  If we are in a situation we go through quantum view to track it, which lets me know if it’s late, lost, or didn’t get delivered, I will then contact sales and sales will contact the customers, if not I will call the carrier. If the package is lost I will replace it, but the shipping company makes good.

My team is pretty good and we can let everybody know to get the job done and get customers their labels. We push out every day and they know their responsibilities and we have a delivery driver, so everyone is on the same page for deliveries. 

How has Covid affected deliveries?

During Covid, if we ship out a package I have a map and UPS app, which tells how many days the order is in transit. If it does not arrive within two days I received a notification and follow up.  Shipping, logistic delays, and supply interruptions have all been affected by Covid-19 and a diminished workforce by various suppliers and shippers. If it’s past the set date we have to ship it out the next day. It’s a back and forth with a lot of communication with the shipping vendors.  Things were improving but with shipping and supply disruptions as well as the Delta Covid variant we are being challenged again, but our company is working ahead in anticipation of potential delays with our customers.  

What do you like about your job?

I love it and it’s always busy. It’s challenging but I get along with everyone, if I don’t know something I go to someone who knows the answer, they direct me to someone with the answer.  There is a lot of communication between the team and departments. We try to not make mistakes.

What has the growth at Century been like in your view?

We have a lot more customers than when I started, so we are busier. I used to work up front in the plate room, but then I came back to shipping. Want to make sure that every shipment is supposed to go out that day is shipped for our customers and on time!

Tell us about yourself?

I’m from the Greer/Taylors area. I am the mother of two children and a Riverside High School graduate and live two minutes from my job.  I love spending time with my family.  I love to walk and enjoy playing with my nieces and nephews. 

It’s a pleasure working here and I want to thank Neil Waldrop for giving me the opportunity to join the Century team!

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 our quality of work and production.  All of them work hard to fulfill customers’ orders and produce high-quality work.

Mid-year Review-Century Printing and Packaging

It’s the middle of the fiscal year and the printing and packaging industry has survived the havoc of Covid 19.  While much smaller printing and packaging companies have folded due to Covid-19 Century Printing and Packaging located in Greer, South Carolina has managed to stay afloat and even thrive.  Designated as an “essential business” allowed us to keep our doors open and presses running to provide a meaningful service for our customers in regard to hand sanitizer, Emergency Response\ and beyond.

So far this year we have produced 115M labels! Yes, 115 million labels.  This is somewhat down from the same production period a year ago, but we are picking up steam. Our staff is in good shape and we have been able to maintain our workforce, provide performance bonuses and avoid massive layoffs.  This speaks volumes about the quality of our team.  

At a time when many competitors were shutting their doors or laying off team members we were committed to our people and even managed to provide year-end bonuses for a job well done!  We do not take this for granted, nor do our people.

We have 26 full-time employees who have endured Covid-19 protocols, masks, constant disinfectant cleaning, and whatever it takes to maintain a healthy environment.  We are emerging from Covid with a stronger sense of purpose, urgency, and quality.  

One of the biggest challenges has been the staffing (or the lack thereof) with our vendors and customers.  Specifically, we have had serious issues with delays for laminate and substrate materials.  This is simply because suppliers have been unable to resurrect their workforce levels to pre-Covid levels.  As a result, there have been significant delays in the shipment of supplies to complete jobs for our customers.  We have been allowing more lead time than normal as a result of job and logistical delays.  

We are experiencing strong growth in the food, beverage, and chemical labeling industries.  We are working hard to overcome the logistical challenges and lack of labor from our vendors and suppliers.

The greatest challenge is that suppliers aren’t running at full capacity, or staff and they are finding trouble getting lower-end skilled workers to fulfill pre-Covid staffing numbers, which is especially true when it comes to staffing slitters.  

We continue to perfect our innovative butter wrap material from Italy and we are still working to develop other cutting-edge products within the packaging and printing industry.  

Our team will be attending trade shows to develop leads, customers, equipment upgrades and industry-related technological advancements in the Fall:

The Craft Beer show in Denver, CO, 9/10-13

The Natural Products Expo in Philadelphia 9/22-25

The Pack Expo in Las Vegas, 9/27-30

We will have a booth at the Craft Beer Show in Denver, Colorado featuring our Story Beer Label.  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.  

We will not only be targeting and visiting vendors at these trade shows, but we will be looking at the latest industry trends in regard to printing and packaging equipment, technology, and industry trends in order to stay current within the industry. 

Our mid-year review indicates a strong resurrection from the Covid-19 economy and we are poised to continue innovative and creative ways to help our customers promote their brand and maximize their point of sale contact with labels and packaging that are aesthetically pleasing, high-performing in all kinds of temperature-related environments.

Taking Correct Action When There Is a Problem

Every company experiences delays, mistakes, and problems related to customer orders, production,  suppliers, shipping delays, and other customer-related matters.  No company is perfect, but wise companies have built-in accountability and operating systems that help rectify problems and prevent them from reoccurrence.  These systems ensure accountability, consistency and help manufacturers keep a record of them in an organized manner that is designed for efficiency and results.

While many smaller manufacturing companies may “wing it,” when it comes to problems that require corrective action for the customer, others maintain certification in an internationally recognized system of standards.   ISO is a quality control system that meets global standards and helps customers, suppliers, and vendors.  The qualification process is intentional and sets those willing to maintain certification apart for their willingness to improve, meet compliance and allow their customers to hold them accountable.  

When a mistake or defect is detected it is documented and logged into the system.  This will generate a formal document about what happened and prescribe corrective action.  Let’s say it is a problem with a flexible film that is showing up in every 200 runs of trail bar wrappers.  Through the system, the manufacturer can track down the film supplier, lots, inks, artwork and through a process of elimination identify the source of the problem whether it is an in-house issue like a worn machine in need of a subtle repair,  or due to the quality of a specific supplier’s product.  ISO allows companies to identify the source of a problem or issue, correct it and resume production to provide full customer satisfaction.

Century Printing and Packaging consistently reviews these reports through regular sales and management meetings in order to stay on top of quality issues, raise the bar on customer satisfaction and ISO compliance.  The system provides peace of mind for indentifying, reporting and handling the inevitable problems that come through the manufacturing, printing and packaging processes.  When your company is dealing with a supplier that has a quality control system you can rest assured it is a company that is honest and up front about them, but seeking to constantly improve their service and product quality.

By setting standards for quality and customer assurance we recognize there is a way to learn and grow from mistakes.  Our system allows us to own mistakes quickly and find solutions while preventing future mistakes.  At Century Printing and Packaging we are serious about quality and service.  Striving for excellence is important to us and having systems in place to provide us with valuable information while achieving customer satisfaction is paramount.  

Ben Waldrop
Century Printing & Packaging
Greer, SC 29651

The Difference in Prime and Non-Retail Labels

Labels have a variety of functions for applications across diverse product platforms.  Most people think of labels on a product you would buy off the shelf of your local grocery, Target, or other retail chains.   In the printing and packaging industry, these are called prime labels.   Prime labels adorn products that consumers can see, hold, examine and read.  

Prime labels help sell products.  These labels depend on form as well as function at the point of sale.  Consumers are attracted to products with labels that are attractive, colorful, and have a great “look and feel”.   So, it’s incredibly important these labels are consistent in appeal and appearance.  They need to be consistent in terms of the material, laminate, fonts, colors, etc.  Many prime labels have a laminate or varnish finish to give the label a nice gloss that’s clean and aesthetically pleasing to the eye on the retail shelf.

Non-retail labels are based more on their function to provide important information.  They don’t have to be appealing because most of them are located on products in locations where they are not seen by consumers. Things like chemical labels, government-required safety or information labels on industrial equipment, vehicles, lawn equipment, and the like.  For example, the label on a wiring harness or fuse box diagram contains vital information about that equipment or particular part.  It doesn’t have to look flashy and its finish has to be durable and able to perform in hot, cold, humid, water, and even dirty environments.  DOT requires non-retail labels for tire pressure information on the inside door jam of the driver’s door for vehicles manufactured for the United States.  These labels have to consistently stick and perform in a variety of weather, chemical, and wear and tear environments.  They provide vital information for the end-user, owner/operator, but don’t have to focus on aesthetics like their prime label counterparts.  

There are by far more prime labels produced than non-retail because of the countless “one-off” products like a container of tomatoes.  The tomatoes are used fairly quickly and the container can go to recycling, but the label is no longer needed.  Think of how many vitamin and over-the-counter pill bottles a typical family goes through in a year, versus the car or lawnmower they own for several years with non-retail labels that never change.  It’s simple math because of the overwhelming number of retail products produced worldwide.

A great example of a non-retail label that is required and regulated by law is gas pump labels required by a state’s respective Department of Agriculture or Weights and Measures in terms of weights, measures, calibration, and certification.  These have to stay on until the next annual inspection when a new label is applied to the pump.  These labels are exposed to harsh weather, diesel, gasoline, benzene, kerosene, dirt, grease, and grime.  Their performance is far more important than their appearance.  These labels have laminate outside because they offer greater barrier protection to fumes and fuel spills than a varnish finish you will find on a prime label on a retail shelf.

In terms of label finishes laminate provides you the ultimate protection for outside and print.  Varnish is less expensive and you can use a plate to coat it in areas of the label you don’t want varnished.  

Regarding prime labels consistency, high-end graphics, a glossy, attractive finish that doesn’t get lost or look bad are critical.  Consider the craft beer industry.  Your regular retailer has various craft beers inside a “beer cave” (walk-in cooler)  and you can view a variety of beers.  If the label is sliding off a bottle or can and the competition has appealing labels that stick this is going to be a barrier to purchase for the brewery.  You don’t want to detract from the eye test on the shelf.  

In Non-retail labels performance is more important because of the material adhesive, barrier protection, legal requirements for certain information that meets regulatory requirements.  For example, a chemical label not made for retail sales, but on the exterior identifies the product proper applications,  mixtures, concentrate, hazardous use policy, and any other warnings provides important and regulated information to the buyer and end-user.  In the world of chemical labels, there are some products that require both a high-performing and standout label.  

Depending on the units you are purchasing it is critical that your label and packaging vendor can produce consistent labels.  A major portion of the cost is in the setup for printing the labels.  Every time you have to set up a different run it increases your costs versus having the labels printed in a single job.  Wise manufacturers know the demand for their product, sales numbers, logistics and plan ahead so they have enough labels, but aren’t caught holding the bag with labels that never get used because demand is lower than expected.  That said, you need to make sure the print quality, look and feel is consistent whether they are in the same run, or multiple printing runs.

One of the industry trends to watch closely in the label and packaging industry is the online sales factor.  As more and more products are sold through Amazon and other online retailers, the prime label is not as important as it is on a retail shelf in a physical location.  The reason is that in an online purchase label quality looks relatively the same and your product is rarely distinguished from similar ones side by side digitally.  What you click on doesn’t matter as long as you get the product.  This will be an interesting trend to watch for manufacturers and the label and packaging industry.  

At Century Printing & Packaging we understand the importance of shelf appeal optics when it comes to the “look and feel” of a product at the point of sale.  Our flexible packaging printing and labels not only stand out but stand up to the environmental performance conditions required of them.  We have extensive experience in printing both prime and non-retail labels.  Our goal is to produce high-performing labels and flexible packaging that stick, attract, and perform.   We are experienced in beer, craft beer, CBD, nutraceuticals, food-grade film, flexible packaging,  and much more.  Contact us today to discuss your unique needs.

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