The craft beer market is exploding. In fact, according to the Brewer’s Association, craft beer makes up nearly a quarter of the $114 billion beer industry in the United States. Brewers who are looking to get into the business stand to get a piece of a potentially lucrative pie, but quality marketing is just as important as an outstanding product. Here are a few simple tips to inspire the creation of a successful craft beer label:
Keep Brand Personality at the Forefront
Who is the target audience? For most local breweries, it’s the fellow community members. Research supports this, as 22% of craft beer drinkers are interested in supporting their local businesses and breweries. When creating a craft beer label, the brand’s personality should be considered, as well as how it will appeal to the community. For example, Arbor Brewing Company in Ann Arbor, Michigan created a label based on a beloved cultural icon, the “Violin Monster,” who serenades community members with violin concertos dressed as a werewolf.
Choose the Right Color Scheme
The right color scheme will appeal to the target audience and will align with the brand's personality, but it should also reflect the intent of the beer itself. IPA labels, for example, may include bright greens, yellows, or oranges to reflect the intense hoppiness and citrus notes that often accompany them. Stouts, on the other hand, may have browns or darker shades of reds on their labels to reflect the deeper malt character. Label colors may also reflect the season or even the hues of a beloved local sports team.
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Consider Label Shape and Size
First, will the beer be bottled or canned? If canning, will the design be kept minimalistic with an affixed paper label? Or will a design that wraps all the way around the can be printed? There’s no right or wrong way to do this, but the main considerations should be budget, brand personality, and how much information (such as ABV, IBUs, and the variety of hops and/or malts used in production) will be included on each bottle or can.
Also worthy of consideration is the font choice – sans serif fonts tend to be more modern and require less label space, so more information can be included. Serif fonts may be appropriate for some labels and styles, especially for those trying to appear classic or traditional (Samuel Adams, anyone?)
As always, local laws and regulations should always be followed when it comes to packaging and labeling. These rules can vary greatly from state to state, so it’s best to err on the conservative side, especially if wider distribution is part of the plan.