“You can have the best beer, but a label is what sells the product,”

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by sandiego67, Jul 20, 2012.

  1. jesskidden

    jesskidden Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Subscriber

    No. According to the TTB's Beverage Alcohol Manual (Chapter 4 - Class and Type Designation):

     
  2. crosamich

    crosamich Nov 28, 2007 Florida
    Beer Trader

    I tend to feel that brand loyalty accounts for little in the craft beer world (tickers). Everyone is always looking for the next great thing. This applies to bottles whereas local loyalty means a lot to many brewpubs.
     
  3. ValleyOfTheSuds

    ValleyOfTheSuds Oct 19, 2012 Arizona

    Was going to say this. Some people seem to continue to mistake "good" as meaning "flashy". De Molen labels are great, but especially when coupled with the bottles and waxing they use. A perfect of example of a great packaging design that is very consistent across (most all of) their beers, making it immediately apparent that it's a De Molen beer.
     
    meefmoff and vurt like this.
  4. crosamich

    crosamich Nov 28, 2007 Florida
    Beer Trader

    Brand recognition. All the Bruery beers carry the same basic design regardless of the color scheme/lettering. There are more, of course. Many breweries are all over the map on logos and design.
     
  5. VladTepes

    VladTepes Oct 18, 2012 Finland

    I don't really understand that complaint about Lost Abbey carbonation issues. I haven't had any flat beer from them and I have had all they regulars, seasonals and few specialities. So, where that speak come from?
     
  6. VladTepes

    VladTepes Oct 18, 2012 Finland

    Are Port's beers cheaper than Lost Abbey's in States? How much?
     
  7. DeviousSpirits

    DeviousSpirits Mar 23, 2009 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    Five pages and only one mention - and a brief one, at that - of Dark Horse's shittier-than-a-fifth-grader label art? For shame, nerds, for shame.
     
    VonZipper likes this.
  8. Robert_N

    Robert_N Apr 10, 2012 United Kingdom (Wales)

    I sell beer and wine and everything else, labels play a massive part in people's decisions to buy, despite them having about the drink that goes beyond the label.
    Someone comes in asking for a particular type of wine or beer with certain traits, we go through the process and settle on a bottle, they might not like the label so pick up the one next to it "what about this one though?" it's usually a completely different style of beer or wine (we order in country not style).
    Also, if we get down to choices (style, taste, price being the same), the label is often the deciding factor.

    We have stuff that does not sell well because the label is crappy even though the contents are excellent and vice versa.

    We also sell a hell of a lot of Flying Dog based on the artwork and names, people who have never tried something like that before will buy it, a lot of people buy it as gifts also.

    So in my experience the label plays a massive role.
     
    Northlax3 likes this.
  9. njhopspop

    njhopspop Oct 17, 2010 New Jersey

    I have been a sucker for a tight label in the past, I'll admit, but more often I go for recommendations or a reputable brewery before that. I think that many of us can say the same, and while I agree that attractive packaging HELPS sell the beer, it's really grass roots, beer lover to beer lover, that sells most of it IMO.
    Just ask the good people at Maine Beer Company for example. Great beer in minimal packaging. When I see it in the store I usually grab some because I know it may not be there the next time I come back.
    [​IMG]
     
  10. FEUO

    FEUO Jul 24, 2012 Ontario (Canada)

    Despite Dieu Du Ciel's reputation for great brews, their inability to properly apply a label to a bottle is offputting.
    At my place of employment we apply cold glue and p/s labels to 300 bottles per min with precision. Its not that hard. Beating up edges, applying them askew, and thinking its ok to put them on a shelf like that is not good. Speaks to the level of QA at their bottling site. Makes you wonder if this same QA dept is looking after what goes IN the bottle.
     
  11. Douberd

    Douberd Jan 27, 2012 Netherlands


    All the beers (or most of them) of that brewery carry the same generic label (and I think that's what the other guy meant), take a look here http://www.demolenbeershop.com/Webwinkel-Category-1388753/Bieren.html without any differentiation on colour etc.
     
  12. jglowe77

    jglowe77 Jan 24, 2011 Massachusetts

    Maine Beer didn't get the memo.
     
    LostTraveler likes this.
  13. LostTraveler

    LostTraveler Oct 28, 2011 Maine

    I cringe every time I buy Weyerbacher even after the new art.
     
    qchic likes this.
  14. sm0key

    sm0key Apr 24, 2009 Michigan

    I never buy beer because of the label, but I will avoid it because of the label. Flying Dog is a perfect example. I think they look nasty. I really do not want to associate my beer with a bitch in heat.... But that's just me, I guess.
     
  15. WassailWilly

    WassailWilly Sep 8, 2007 New York

    Labels do add appeal to the beer
    However if the beer inside is amazing then the labels are secondary..
    ie Bruery and Maine Brewing both have rather plain labels and OUTSTANDING beers !!
     
  16. sm0key

    sm0key Apr 24, 2009 Michigan

    My favorite labels all have the pertinent info clearly visible...
    [​IMG]
    this is a great label IMHO

    I hate hunting all over the bottle/can for the goods...
     
    meefmoff and dortenzio1991 like this.
  17. josephwa

    josephwa Jun 4, 2012 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    The initial impression is hugely important, so is brand loyalty. No getting around it!

    Simple often times equals attractive, hence the argument for Pliny & Westy.
     
  18. jesskidden

    jesskidden Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Subscriber

    "All the info" --- unless you want to know where (Wilkes-Barre, PA) and when (their date code is reportedly based on a 9 month shelf life period - one of the longest in the US craft brewing industry for normal ABV beers) it was brewed.
     
  19. BearsOnAcid

    BearsOnAcid Mar 17, 2009 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    A pretty label can sell the product initially but if the beer isnt worth revisiting then no one is going to buy it again. One time sales isnt a good business. You need a decent beer too.
     
    StarRanger likes this.
  20. WhiteJordan

    WhiteJordan Sep 6, 2012 Washington
    Beer Trader

    I think if you're selling to a beer nerd then the label will not make a difference. However the average consumer is going to shop based on what looks interesting. No-Li Brewing got the only gold medal from Washington at GABF for their Crystal Bitter. It's funny because they rebranded from Northen Lights brewery and now the bottle shop I work at sells out. Never rember selling a bottle before that.
     
  21. utx05

    utx05 Dec 11, 2012

    Yeah, I'm not seeing how some simply assume without argument that Russian River produces some of the blander or less creative labels. I've always thought their packaging was among the best I've seen. They're simple and classic and make a great use of color. They almost seem vintage. Pliny has always reminded me of a Greek philosophy textbook from the '60s. The Dissident and the Abyss are two others I think are simple but outstanding.
     
  22. ThirstyFace

    ThirstyFace Jan 11, 2013 New York

    For every beerboy who says he never judge a beer by its label is another who judges by price and distribution.
     
    VonZipper likes this.
  23. ValleyOfTheSuds

    ValleyOfTheSuds Oct 19, 2012 Arizona

    The Bruery is an example of good design and good brand recognition, so, again, I think some people are confused here. I also certainty wouldn't call them "plain". They're actually quite detailed with a lot of precision and various custom die cut designs that vary between labels. That's not simple or cheap. They definitely spend a good deal on packaging and marketing.
     
    josephwa likes this.
  24. LarryAppleton

    LarryAppleton Dec 1, 2012 Quebec (Canada)
    Beer Trader

    My wife was just in L.A. and I asked her to bring me back "something local". She knows next to nothing about beer and based her choice solely on the label. She came home with bombers of Double Jack and Anderson Valley Hop Ottin IPA. Score for me! To conclude: yes labels are important.
     
  25. sm0key

    sm0key Apr 24, 2009 Michigan

    Best by date is on the box. Doesn't help much when buying singles, but better than nothing.
     
  26. jesskidden

    jesskidden Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Subscriber

    Oh, yeah? Initially as I remember it they were stamping the base of the cans and at first it was only on the can and the box was unmarked - so you'd have to open the glued box to find the code.

    But my point was a "Best By" date doesn't tell you when the beer was brewed and Sixpoint's (reported) 9 month shelf life period is one of the longest in the craft industry for average ABV beers. Few people want an 8 month old hoppy beer, yet Sixpoint's would say it was still good for another month.
     
  27. ssmack

    ssmack Feb 16, 2011 Ontario (Canada)

    My problem with labels is when breweries change them. One local craft brewery has changed their labels 3 times in the past two years. I am not a fan of their ales so I am cynical. Are they trying to change their image? Are they aiming for a new target market? Are they attempting to make the consumer think their old products are new beers? Are they trying to trick me into buying their mediocre product again?
     
  28. bonercity

    bonercity Feb 11, 2012 California

    GREAT IMAGE/LABELING:
    Unibroue
    De Dolle
    Delirium
    Sam Smith
    Rochefort
    Sierra
    Anchor

    UGLY!!!:
    Knee Deep
    Lagunitas
    Green Flash (not really ugly but there is zero personality to these since they switched to their current style)

    An ugly label won't stop me from drinking a killer beer, but an attractive one will often lead me to make an impulse purchase.
     
  29. sm0key

    sm0key Apr 24, 2009 Michigan

    As far as the length of their supposed shelf life, I have no knowledge of that. However I just looked a four pack today it is very clearly printed on the side of the box.
     
  30. 395er

    395er Apr 29, 2011 California

    Some beers have clean graphic designs, Sixpoint for instance. Others give you some sense of the soul of the brewers/brewery. FFF for example. I think with saturation you're gonna see a return to more novelty, louder stuff like back in the 90's. Or very professionally produced imagery. Figueroa Mountain is a brewery whose brand was so well executed it made me suspicious. The labels, names etc are beautiful and regionally informed. But the beer is mediocre. Sure enough, there was a consultant that specializes in beer brands behind it and the founders were not brewers. (If my research is correct). It also felt like a brewery created to be sold to BMC.
     
  31. BeastLU

    BeastLU Dec 20, 2012 Virginia

    The Maine example is almost so opposite of an attractive label that it becomes a bad example. Its so plain it catches your eye when every other bottle has crazy graphics. You look at it because its so plain, much like you pick up something crazy looking to check it out.
     
  32. GA_SIPPER

    GA_SIPPER Feb 24, 2013 Georgia

    I did not read the entire thread, but I just want to flip flop the thought process here. If a beer is absolutely amazing, I Would like for the label to at least be decent. It is hard to back a beer with a shitty ass label.
     
  33. ohiobeer29

    ohiobeer29 Feb 2, 2013 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    what's pliny? i keep hearing about this beer
     
    Chaz likes this.
  34. Madoo25

    Madoo25 Apr 1, 2013 Texas

    Ahhh, the old label thread rearing its ugly head once again.
     
  35. naloxone

    naloxone Aug 7, 2010 Connecticut


    A simple white label with black Arial 20pt would get my attention sooner than another busy art masterpiece.
     
  36. TWStandley

    TWStandley Jan 15, 2008 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    I think the answer to your question is going to seriously differ given the audience you are asking.

    Asking a bunch of beer nerds like us is most likely going to yield a "no, the label doesn't matter, quality of the beer does."

    That being said, there are definitely labels out there that are more intriguing than others. Whenever I bring my non-craft drinking beer friends around they always point out the "Arrogant Bastards," and other funny named/labeled beers, which might lead to a sale in that case.
     
  37. markdrinksbeer

    markdrinksbeer Nov 14, 2013 Massachusetts

    I think a good label will get a person to try a beer once.
    I think a good beer will get a person to try a beer more than once.
     
  38. watermelon

    watermelon Sep 9, 2013 North Carolina

    I didn't read the 5 pages of replies, but I feel that when I'm looking for something new that labeling does matter to an extent. When I see a beer that has a lot of work put into its label I assume that the same amount of work was put into the brewing process. Also I don't think a label has to necessarily be intricate in order to be good. For instance I like the way Lagunitas label feels even though its not very appealing to the eye.
     
  39. azorie

    azorie Mar 18, 2006 Florida

    WESTY for the win,no label, just a cap
    /end thread
     
  40. GreesyFizeek

    GreesyFizeek Mar 6, 2013 New York
    Beer Trader

    I'm sure this has been said in one way or another already, but a label can pull me in once, but the quality of the beer will bring me back. I drink Flower Power by the gallons, but it's a pretty bad label.
     
    azorie likes this.
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