There’s not a lot of good options out there for short run beer makers like me. I starting brewing 5-gallon batches this spring and now I have 4 cases of 22′s for different types of beer. In my last post, you can see the labels I would have in my dreams. After some investigation, those labels would be quite expensive to make. So I did some research last night and came up short of any elegant solutions.
To be clear, I have a common problem up to a point.
1 – I do small batches which would yield not more than 96 12-oz bottles.
2 – I make different beer in each batch.
3 – I don’t drink them immediately. I’m saving them for my blocktoberfest party to share with friends and neighbors.
4 – Labels would need to be easy to apply in short runs.
5 – Labels would have to be water-poof.
6 – I don’t care if they’re permanent, but if they are, all the better. I won’t be re-using the bottles. And if they get saved as mementos or collectors items, great!
Then here’s where I get a little atypical.
7 – I have well-designed, custom labels a friend made.
If all you want are labels for your bottle and don’t care much about the design, here are some sites you should check out.
They make pre-fab, generic beer labels, some of which you can add your beer type by hand (as shown above).
This is an online app that takes your inputs and spits out a custom JPG. You still have to do printing at home.
Same as the beer labelizer but with more design options.
On the custom side, there’s always high quality digital sticker printing that will do. Since my designs are non-standard in both size and shape, I’d need a die-cut sticker print run. They’re spendy, but in a perfect world, I’d have enough money and that wouldn’t matter.
I wish I’d known about these guys before I bottled my beers. They do short run digital prints on your bottle caps. I’ll do this for later batches so they all have my branded caps. Alas, I’m too late for the runs I’ve already bottled. I’ll definitely be getting some of these for future runs.
Steph had an idea to spray paint a stenciled design. She thinks it will be a lot of work for what amounts to 48 bottles. I’m not opposed to it, but I think she’s right. Right now the plan is to do a short run of custom, die-cut stickers with a space for writing in (or spray painting) in my beer type, date, etc. We’ll do one mass-run sticker that’s just the brewery logo and tag line. I’m not incredibly keen on my hand-writing so I’d like to, still, figure out a way to use a stencil to mark the bottle. So I’m thinking I might just use traditional numbered stencils and keep it simple. I found these numbered stencils on Amazon and will do some test spraying next weekend. My hope is to combine the uniqueness of the batch, serialize them for collecting purposes, and all the while upping the general game by having non-crappy printed labels that are both water-proof and durable.