Label Considerations for Bottling vs. Canning Craft Beer

Beer can’t make the important journey from your brewing facility to your consumers’ mouths without a container. Whether you decide to bottle or can your brews, you’re going to need a good beer label to showcase your product and stay in compliance with alcohol regulations. Of course, the style of the container you choose can impact a few of your labeling decisions.

Label Styles and Coverage

Bottles can call for a few different types of labels depending on the design. Full-wrap labels run around the body of a bottle. Partial-wrap labels come in a front and back piece that are applied separately. Both full and partial-wrap options can be paired with a secondary label for the neck of the bottle. In addition to all these options, you can also decide if you want a custom-shaped die-cut bottle label or a more standard, rectangular shape.

Cans have a simpler solution: complete coverage. Beer can labels are a 360-degree branding opportunity where you can use full-wrap labels to cover every square inch of space for your design. That means you don’t need to consider custom label shapes, separate label pieces, or other options that would expose the bare part of a can (unless you want to).

Custom beer can labels going through a review.

Label Sizes

No matter which label style you choose, it needs to fit the size of your beer can or bottle. One set of label dimensions may look fine on a standard, 12 oz. bottle, but that same label would be inadequate for a larger container. Even bottles that contain the same amount of beer can be a different shape. If you want to use a stubby bottle, make sure that you have a suitably stubby label. Knowing your container and label size will help your designer know how to best utilize the space he or she has for your beer bottle label design.

Common beer bottle sizes

  • 12 oz. longneck
  • 12. oz. stubby
  • 12.7 oz. Belgian
  • 22 oz. bomber
  • 40 oz.
  • 64 oz. growler

Since can labels are able to provide full coverage of the container, label sizing is a matter of matching the dimensions of the can. In order to get the type of full coverage that a can label offers onto a bottle, tapering the design of your label to the bottle’s curves becomes a huge factor and can be a bit of an application headache. It’s no surprise that the Brewer’s Association found that 91.9 percent of craft beer was packed in either 12 or 16 oz. six or 12 packs in 2016.

Common beer can sizes

  • 12 oz.
  • 16 oz. tallboy
  • 32 oz. crowler

Various sized beer bottles with hang tags.

Outside Packaging

Unless you’re at a bar or restaurant, beer typically isn’t sold individually. Six-pack and 12-pack containers provide some great extra branding space for your beer. Of course, it’s important to make sure that your six-pack and 12-packs aren’t an afterthought. They should match the style of your bottle labels, down to the font, color scheme, and other details.

Cans don’t always have the additional packaging to support the labels. While cans may have separate 12-pack containers, six-packs often leave the cans exposed. In this case, you’ll want to make sure your beer can labels are a true draw for customers since it’s the only branding you’ll have to wow them.

Custom hang tags are another consideration that are dependent on the type of container you use. These tags are a non-pressure sensitive labeling option that gives you more space for product information or important details for a recently-filled growler. Bottle necks are a natural place to place hang tags, while cans don’t offer the best shape to hang a product.

Quality Labels No Matter the Container

Whether you use bottles or cans, you’re going to want to work with a label printing company that can help you showcase the quality of your beer through an eye-catching, high-performing label. Blue Label’s experts can guide you through the printing process and provide you with special label materials, printing techniques, and other capabilities that can reflect the quality of your product without breaking your budget. If you still need a professional to design your label, our Label Designer Directory can help you find one as well.

Ready to get your next beer label project underway? Contact us today to talk to our team about how we can help.