CS Labels Blog: CS Labels News

Beer explosion opens opportunities for digital labels

Posted in CS Labels News by http://www.printbusinessmagazine.co.uk on 14:43 September 20th, 2013
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The expansion of micro breweries with distinctive beers and small scale production is good news for digital printers.

Madness members sample their brew.

Madness members sample their brew.

THE MICRO BREWERY BUSINESS in the UK is booming, providing label printers with a rapidly expanding base for short run labels, often printed digitally. Camra records that in the last year that there have been 187 brewery start ups, taking the total of breweries listed in the 2014 edition of the Good Beer Guide to 1,147.

The start ups can be located in pizza restaurants, in former dairies, even in disused school buildings. The greatest location for start ups has been in the London area where 23 new breweries have opened in the last 12 months, doubling the numbers inside the M25.

AND THIS IS GOOD NEWS FOR label printers, a number of which have set their stall to appeal to these fledgling businesses. Shorter runs are ideal for digital printing and with breweries starting with a handful of beers, either new brews or beers for special occasions.

CS Labels, Willenhall, produced the labels for pop group Madness using its Xeikon presses. The limited production beer, fitting between an ale and a lager, was selected by the seven members of the band (“3.5 of them are lager lovers, the other 3.5 ale” according to leader Suggs.) and was produced at the Growler Brewery at Nethergate in Essex.

THE DESIGN FOR THE GLADNESS beer bottle label was prepared for printing on the Xeikon 3300 by CS Labels’ studio and optimised for shelf appeal and print on the digital press. “Using digital means that clients can take advantage of shorter runs, reducing wastage and enjoying a much speedier lead time,” CS Labels says.

Mercian Labels also uses Xeikon presses to print labels for the brewing industry while Colourscan in Burton-on-Trent last year installed the UK’s first Jetrion 4900 to target this sector. It’s not all about new beers. In the US brewers are starting to offer wedding beers, with labels personalised for the happy couple. 
However, as the breweries find their feet, they outgrow the comfort zone of digital printing and will use more conventional self adhesive label printing processes: UV letterpress and flexo or screen or a combination of these.

THE SOCIETY OF INDEPENDENT BREWERS rewards the best individual beer label and the best range of beers in an annual award scheme that promotes good design and print, the winners of which are narrow web printed labels.

Beyond these however, the cost equation comes into play again and self adhesive reelfed label printing gives way to flat sheet litho printed labels where production runs can be in the millions. However these are for the major supermarket stocked brands that the brewers starting in the last 12 months can only dream of for now.