If you enjoy the occasional frosty beverage, youve 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 youre 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 peoples 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 peoples 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 theres 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.
So, the logo/label design has caught your attention and youve 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 its 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 dont 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 havent gone through the rigor and temperature change of truck travel. This is why people say you havent tasted a real Guinness until youve been to Dublin.
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 its 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, youll be able to sample 70+ fall and winter beers from 25 of New Englands best craft brewers! Many of these brews are being made specifically for this event or will be released there.
Well, I dont know about you, but Im 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?