Upgrading to an automatic labeler could be the key to getting more crowler cans to taprooms faster.
Many breweries start as small operations. Even the massive Miller/Coors and InBev empires that have been around for decades didn’t begin as massive international operations. No, they grew. And with that growth came new techniques for making and storing beer. The methods used when a brewery primarily serves local clientele don’t scale very well when their scope reaches regional, national, and world sales.
With the popularity of alternative sizes and types of containers comes a problem: labeling efficiency. Even if a small microbrewery purchased a labeling machine for 12-ounce bottles, that doesn’t mean the same machine can accommodate containers such as crowlers. While many breweries have made do with hand-labeling, this process can’t last forever, especially if sales are picking up.
The Solution to Crowler Labeling Inefficiencies
Automatic labelers are a clear solution to slow, inconsistent, and inefficient hand labeling. To be clear, this doesn’t mean that a microbrewery that wants to expand sales from their taproom to local stores and restaurants needs to buy the biggest, most expensive labeling machine available. If the goal is to #1) speed up production and #2) allow for labeling of different containers, from bottles to crowlers to growlers, there are smart choices that won’t bust the budget but will increase output.
The Rules for Crowler Can Labels
Before reviewing labeling machine options, let's discuss what your labels need to satisfy the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) regulations.
You must include:
- Your brand name
- Type of beer
- Your brewery's name and address (ff you have a separate bottler, they'll get listed, too)
- The net contents in American measurements
- Alcohol content to the nearest 0.1%
- Ingredients (this is only necessary if your beer contains FD&C Yellow No. 5, saccharin, sulfite, or aspartame)
- Health warning statement printed verbatim
- Country of origin
If there is any confusion over what elements need to be included on your label, you can always consult with your state's alcoholic beverage authority.
The Right Labeler For Your Beer Crowler Cans
One reason why crowlers have become so popular is because they can contain a lot of beer, 32 ounces, to be exact. Another reason is they keep your beer as fresh as possible between the time the bartender fills it and when consumers decide to open it. Also, they provide a way to safely and legally package and sell on-tap beer. One last reason crowlers are popular is that they have a lot of surface area for incredible graphics. Because customers only spend a few secondsdeciding which beverage they want, the extra edge gained by big, bold, beautiful artwork can help land more sales. As for what type of crowler labels your brewery wants to use, it may depend on a few factors.
Wrap Around Crowler Can Labels
Thanks to advancements in wrap-around labels, such as coatings that increase durability in wet environments, more water-resistant materials, better adhesives, and exciting textures/embossing options, breweries that use beer cans and crowlers have given them a second look. These are a popular label type because many wrap-around labeling machines can process beer bottles, 12-ounce beer cans, and 32-ounce beer crowlers.
Now, if your brewery has been hand labeling your crowlers, the production boost you’ll experience with a dedicated labeler will be dramatic. While 60 to 80 containers labeled every minute might pale in comparison to what a macro brewery is able to handle, it will double or triple hand-labeling speeds. A small tabletop labeler that can be moved around your facility can control this output level and pay for itself within a year. How? By freeing up employees to do other more productive tasks and increasing your beer output to meet demand.
Shrink Sleeve Crowler Can Labels
For the ultimate container coverage, shrink sleeve labels can’t be beaten. They cover 100% of the container for the most extensive graphical real estate. They are slightly more expensive than wrap-around labels but more than make up for this in average sales increase. If your label designer has been clamoring to increase their creative canvas, shrink sleeves are the solution.
Shrink sleeves also offer complete moisture resistance. While wrap-around labels have come a long way in this regard, they still can’t compare with shrink sleeves. The sleeves are made from durable plastic that’s more scratch and tear-resistant. Also, since there’s no adhesive holding them to the container, they can be removed with no residue, making reuse and recycling much easier.
Find Your Automatic Crowler Labeler
Your brewery needs and deserves a better way to label. If you're increasing your production output, there's no way hand labeling will suffice. Our Brewer's Guide to Labeling Equipment will give you guidance and insights on picking out the right labeler for your operation. We've been partnering with breweries worldwide for years and have provided labeling solutions that exceed expectations. We look forward to helping you, too!