Production Challenges in the Alcoholic Beverage Industry
The development of adult beverage packaging takes months to produce and money to complete. Sending the design through production is a fundamental part of getting your product to the consumer. But, issues in the production can set you back in profits. Follow these tips to reduce the errors that could cost more to fix. We've also included production lead times to help you plan.
Labeling is similar to giving your brand a billboard. It should consist of crucial information. We've talked about the importance of packaging your adult beverage before. In the post, we address the specifics to ensure you're complying with rules and regulations. But, regarding production here are a few quick tips.
Labels are printed and need review before heading into production. Printing labels is a considerable portion of your budget. You want to optimize the size of the label before printing. You'd be surprised how much a few millimeters here and there can save you money. Anything that doesn't fit the press needs altering. Print outside of their scope and you're looking at additional costs. The label vendor should have the capabilities to do this for you.
Always print a roll of test labels. More importantly, they should be die-blanks. A die-blank refers to labels being printed and cut to correct dimensions. All aspects of the label should be visible. That would include any embossing. Place them on your bottle before they are sent off for printing. Labels that aren't printed to the correct dimensions will bubble or ripple during the application. Make adjustments now. It will speed up your adult beverage production and reduce costs.
Choose your paper wisely. How the end product is used should drive decision making. An example would include where the beverage is stored. Wine or vodka that needs to be refrigerated or possibly stored in a freezer needs a label that won't deteriorate under such conditions. Putting the drink in water or next to ice could also make it bubble or ripple.
Your bottle is just as important as the label. It's a part of your branding, but also maintains the integrity of the product. Stock molds are standard sizes and shapes you can find from your manufacturer. An advantage of working with a stock mold is the label restrictions are already addressed. You can bring this information directly to your label vendor and cut back on reiterations. Try to design within the label constraints. Shaving off a couple of millimeters around the edge will almost guarantee fit. Are you using a custom bottle? Design it within the specs of retail space. That would include the height and width.
The part of the production notorious for slow lead times is the closures. The closures are corks or capsules that seal your bottle. Adding color to your closure? Give the vendor the HEX or RGB color. Visual samples won't suffice. Apply the same tactic during the reorder. Changes to the printing could alter color, and it's better to be safe than stuck with an unusable product.
The company producing your tops should have a sample of the bottle. They need to confirm the bore diameter and sizing. Coupled together, these attributes prohibit the product from leaking. It's advisable if you are creating a custom bottle to take into consideration the bore diameter. Bars use a standardized bar pour. Make it easier for bars and restaurants by designing it to fit the standard size.
Capsules made from PVC or polylam should be confirmed that it can be used with your glass bottle. The amount of glass that doesn't mix with these materials is staggering. Review materials before placing an order. It's standard to expect a lead time of three months. Plan wisely.
The shipper is the box your product will come in, and most glass will have one to accompany it. The design should resemble your branding. The only glitch here is the printing restrictions. It's not uncommon for the printing of shippers limited to only two colors. You need to give this some thought during the branding of your adult beverage. Redesigns often experience an upcharge.
Your printing choices will either be flexography or lithography:
Flexography is cheaper, less expensive and prints directly to the box. It's a one-step process. For these reasons it’s the most commonly used.
Lithographic is the upscale version and great to use if you want bold, dynamic colors. It's good on heavier paper and comes in a range of finishes. Just beware that it can crack and peel.
Once you've chosen your printing method, confirm your designer is aware of the printing process. If you are restricted to just two colors let them know which ones to use. Sometimes the shippers are sent separately to the glass bottles. Before you order your run, give the shipper a sample to confirm a solid fit.
Is your business looking for a way to streamline the production process? Brindiamo Group has been working with beverage companies across the globe to improve business. Visit our website to learn more about how we can help assist and develop your business to reach your goals.
Schueman, Davice. “Avoiding Production Nightmares.” Artisan Spirits. Fall 2017: 33 & 34