Seeing Benefits in Sticker Labels

A rising minority of craft beer is now being released in cans only. With a fast-rotating lineup sometimes, purchasing a large run of printed cans does not make sense for smaller breweries, so working through different ways to use a pallet of blank cans can help a brewery be cost effective and creative.

​Industrial​ Arts​ Brewing uses stickers with a matte finish that fully wraps around the Garnerville, New York brewery’s cans.

General Manager Sofia Barbaresco shared with Brewer a few reasons why the brewery went this route.

“We like the way the stickers feel in the hand more than the plastic-y finish of most shrink-wrapped cans, and like the full-color options that digital printing offers us over printed cans,” she said. “The ability to order small quantities and the flexibility of being able to make tweaks on packaging from printing run to printing run is also great.”

​Industrial​ Arts​ Brewing label design from inception has had transparent elements and blueprint drawings superimposed on the metallic can. ​But changes have been made.

“​We’ve had the same size labels from the beginning but when we switched suppliers, they recommended that we switch from a clear backing to a metallic backing because we were having issues with the glue “clumping” after application and it being visible through the clear label,” Barbaresco said​. ​”​With the metallic foil, you still get the impression of it being printed directly on the can but no transparency issues.​”​

Digitally printed labels offer ​IAB the most flexibility,​ she added.

“We can print small quantities, and use the full color spectrum,​ [and]​ print on a variety of materials​,” ​Barbaresco said. ​An example​ she shared was for ​the brewery’s third-anniversary beer, ​it printed on a holographic material that gave the cans a rainbow effect in the sunlight.

​”​The fast turnaround time is also a plus​,” she added of the ordering process.​ ​”​We order in large enough quantities that the cost-benefit of other label types are very small.​”​

​Industrial Arts will​ continue to use sticker labels for smaller brands but ​it ​may eventually switch to printed cans for core beers​ to help speed up the canning process. At this time, ​​Barbaresco said that the choke point is the labeling machine.

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