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Beer Label Requirements

If you are thinking about designing a new label for your beer bottle, then there quite a few decisions you must be weighing.  Unbeknownst to many new beer makers are the numerous different rules and regulations when it comes to what information has to be on the label.  The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), is very strict about how producers can label and market their beer.  Navigating these rules and regulations can be quite difficult and cumbersome.  This article will help lay out the most important provisions found within these federal laws and regulations.

First and foremost the following statement is required on all beverages containing 0.05% or more alcohol by volume.  "Government Warning: (1) According to the Surgeon General, women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects.  (2) Consumption of alcoholic beverages impairs your ability to drive a car or operate machinery, and may cause health problems." 

Alcoholic content must be included on the label and expressed in terms of "percent alcohol by volume." To be labeled "non-alcoholic," the alcoholic content must be below 0.5 % by volume. To be labeled "reduced alcohol," the alcoholic content must be below 2.5 % by volume.  Also, the phrase "contains less than 0.5 % alcohol by volume" must be included.  To be labeled "alcohol free," there must be no alcohol in the beverage.

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The TTB requires the name and address of a "producer/bottler" or "packer" to appear on the label.  For domestic beers, the TTB allows breweries to use either the company's name plus the city and state where the beverage is bottled or packed or the city and state of the bottler/packer's principal place of business.  If you outsourced the bottling to someone else, you don't have to say who bottled it, unless state law requires it.  You would substitute "bottled by" with "distributed by" and add your company's information.  For imported beers, the name and address of the importer must appear on the label.

If the beer contains any food allergens or the beer is bottled in a plant that has any food allergens, then it must be stated on the beer label.  These food allergens include; milk, egg, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts, and soybeans.  Also, if the beer contains sulfites, color additive cochineal extract, color additive carmine, FD&C Yellow No. 5 or aspartame there must be a statement that the product contains these ingredients.

Be sure to consult local state laws in regards to label requirements.  State laws regarding beer label requirements can vary from state to state.  For more information about beer label requirements access the BAM (Beverage Alcohol Manual) here. 

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Topics: Beer Labels beer bottle labels

Beer Goggles - Taking a Closer Look at Craft Beer Labels

If you enjoy the occasional frosty beverage, you’ve probably noticed that there are hundreds if not thousands of beers to choose from.  As the craft beer industry grows, more people are being turned on to better beer.  When you’re in the mood for something new and different, what factors do you weigh to choose the lucky six-pack that comes home with you?

So, what draws you to a beer?  Is it the logo, the name, the type of beer, or the ingredients?  The answer: a combination of all of these factors might influence your choice.  More importantly, everyone is unique and weighs these attributes differently.  Craft beer makers are very cognizant of this push for labels and packaging that stands out on the shelf, attracting new, curious consumers.  There is a reason why companies like Budweiser and Coors spend millions of dollars on design and perception testing before they release a new label.  The label on a bottle can make a huge difference in how people perceive the taste.  An enormous component of marketing a beer is crafting the perfect impression in people’s minds.  Branding on a beer bottle is going to shape a lot of how people perceive a beer.  This can create an impression of beer taste in people’s minds even before the first sip.  Then their taste buds will either confirm or deny that impression.  Of course, if the beer is not to your liking then there’s not a lot the label can do to improve the situation.  However, if the beer is great, the label can enhance the whole drinking experience.  As important as the beverage itself is, the label can be just as important for the success of a product.

Pipeworks Brewing Company

So, the logo/label design has caught your attention and you’ve moved in for a closer look.  When looking at a beer label there can be statements made to catch your eye, like “the finest ingredients” and “master brewers.”  It is more important to look for real information, such as how it’s brewed and what ingredients it uses.  Beer makers are not required by law to list ingredients on a beer label.  Listed ingredients provide strong indication that the brewer strives to or does only use natural ingredients.  The most common starch source in beer is barley. Other starch sources include wheat, oats, corn and rice. Specialty beers are sometimes brewed with wheat and oats and usually combine malted barley as part of their recipe. Corn and rice on the other hand are poor quality selections that are generally referred to as adjuncts.  Try to stay away from corn and rice, as they don’t add any flavor profiles and are used typically as a cost cutting method.

Many craft beers will have a “born on” date or expiration date. Smaller batches will even go so far as to use dynamic numbering on their labels showing the consumer that they are drinking the 82nd beer out of 200 produced.  Also, look for the birthplace of the beer.  Beers that are bottled closer to you will often taste the freshest because they haven’t gone through the rigor and temperature change of truck travel.  This is why people say you haven’t tasted a real Guinness until you’ve been to Dublin.

Rogue Ales

While ingredients and brew method will give you an idea of what to expect from a new beer, we can all agree that tasting the beer is the only way to find out if it’s the one for you.  A great way to seek out tastings of up and coming craft beer selections is at beer festivals.  An amazing opportunity for tasting fine brews will take place in Boston, MA from November 30th through December 1st.  Drink Craft Beer Fall to Winter Fest focuses on New England-made beers featuring fall and winter seasonal ingredients as well as holiday ales.  By attending, you’ll be able to sample 70+ fall and winter beers from 25 of New England’s best craft brewers!  Many of these brews are being made specifically for this event or will be released there.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m getting thirsty.  Feel free to comment about what it is about a label that draws you to it.  What do you consider a great beer label?


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Topics: Beer Labels beer bottle labels beverage labels bottle label

Are You Seeing Dubbel?? Beer Bottle Labels Come into Focus.

It's no secret that craft beer is making its way into the hearts, minds, and refridgerators of the American Public. So why not take a look at what is making these now commonly found brews so palatable! If you've been lucky enough to get some great beer into your routine then you probably have taken some time to look at the labels that are on the bottles themselves. The labels are just as creative as the beer that is behind them and sometimes- even more creative! Let's break down what goes into a beer label! What are the components of a beer label that make you want to purchase- other than thirst!

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Are you shopping by BRAND? There are many brands for us to choose from obviously- but are you shopping a brand that you know or ones you haven't tried? If you do try a brand, like Tuckerman Brewing's Pale Ale and like it, are you apt to give their Headwall Alt a try? Most likely. Branding is key on a beer label and having some consistency across beer bottle labels in your brand can mean the difference in your customers finding other beers you craft on the shelf!

What kind of BREW are we talking about here? Are you a lager drinker? Do you prefer a Dubbel Belgium or maybe even a dark Tripel? If the beer label on your bottle isn't telling me what kind of beer I'm buying you can forget about me taking it to the register! If you're looking for me to give it a try you have a better chance of shipping it to my house- I'm more than happy to give you the address if you call Label Tech Inc.

What is the SHAPE of your bottle? If your beer is a pale ale, you probably aren't going to serve it in a champagne bottle- or are you? Bottle sizes range from short and wide to tall and thin. Are you selling one bottle at a time or a 4-pack or even 6-pack? You might want to figure it out before you start brewing. Daring to be different is what craft beer seems to be all about. Now if we can just figure out how to get Russel Stover to serve a chocolate porter in a heart shaped box maybe your girlfriend might know what to get you this February. 

LABEL DESIGN is definitely a high priority! What do you want your label to convey to your audience? What kinds of color schemes are you using? If you are looking for Rogue IPA chances are your eyes are scanning for black and white. Are you more interested in color, class, or something that conveys rarity? Thanks to graphic designers you can find pretty much everything you are looking for! Take some time looking at (but not drinking) bottle labels that fall into your beer brew category and try to be different. What is going to make your label jump, or pop, off the shelf at your customer?

Are you trying to tell a STORY about your beer when a customer picks it off the shelf? The Maine Beer Company does just that on their labels. Telling a brief story about brothers David and Daniel who's beer although originally only available in DownEast Maine is now making it's way into NYC. A couple of guys that really liked brewing beer at home expanding and growing a small company. Hey! I like these guys! Who doesn't like a story that makes the beer seem that much better?

There are other things you can take into consideration on your label like alcohol by volume, adding a QR code, or whatever you can imagine creatively. Recently, we saw a label that uses hologram materials or as some printers refer to it "prism." This Company has experienced explosive growth in the last year- think it has anything to do with their label? We do too.

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Topics: Beer Labels beer bottle labels beverage labels bottle label
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