Crafting stand out brands for boutique breweries

Craft beer is more than just a passing trend. It’s responsible for reviving dwindling beer sales and attracting a whole new generation of drinkers. In 2013, following years of decline in consumption, beer sales made a healthy recovery and is continuing to experience steady growth largely thanks to the introduction of craft and speciality beers1
There are over 10,000 breweries in Europe alone and the EU is second only to China2 when it comes to the volume of beer produced annually. It’s clear there is a strong and enduring global appetite for beer, and craft beer represents an opportunity to appeal to different consumer tastes and preferences around the world. 

The golden opportunity

The value of the global craft beer market is expected to reach USD 502.9 billion by 20253, which means brewers that follow the craft trend can open up new revenue streams by increasing their appeal beyond traditional style beers.
Great-tasting beer is the primary goal for any brewer. What makes a good beer? Its appearance, head, flavour, depth, colour and aroma. Add to a good tasting beer, the best designed packaging with a stylish bottle or can and a label, bottle collar or sleeve which promotes the high quality and uniqueness of the refined ‘craft’ beer within and you have a beer that is also visually appealing.
The microbrewery, nanobrewery and more recently the craft brewery, are often small independently owned businesses that employ more traditional methods to brew smaller batches of beer with a unique quality and flavour. Capitalising on this trend also gives these smaller breweries the opportunity to challenge larger breweries for more market share. 
However, the uptake in craft beer drinking means thousands of small breweries are competing in what has become a saturated market. Standing out against both the competing craft breweries and the larger brands can be a challenge for a small business. As a result, smaller breweries need to find creative and cost-effective ways to stand out, for example through personalised labels and bottle collars as well as hosting and sponsoring corporate events.
These very small-to-medium scale breweries will not have anywhere near the same level of marketing budget as their larger counterparts. With smaller hectolitres of beer production, they often do not require the large volumes of labels and promotional assets that larger beer brands require making their production costs expensive.

Making great ideas stick

OKI has experience in supporting the brewery market and understands that while larger breweries have the buying power to negotiate special prices for hundreds of thousands of printed labels as well as the warehouse space to store them, smaller breweries would benefit from in-house printing to their strategic advantage. 
Using a label printer like OKI’s Pro1050, small breweries can print the exact volume of labels as and when they need them, or up to 8000 labels a day. This enables breweries to save on the cost of using a third-party print supplier as well as removing the lead times. And with a minimum volume of just one label, this also means personalised labels are an affordable additional opportunity. Product personalisation can make all the difference considering 80% of frequent shoppers only shop with brands that personalise the experience4.
OKI’s Pro1050 label printer is the perfect addition for any brewery that wants to maximise cost-efficiency by printing its own labels. The compact device delivers short-run colour label printing on-demand with versatile media handling, producing waterproof labels perfect for withstanding refrigeration. What’s more, the Pro1050 can help craft beers stand out through CMYK+White printing a new colour dimension and providing greater flexibility in label design including labels for darker bottles as well as a range of media including paper, synthetics, clear, coloured or textured.  
Variable Data Printing (VDP) is another area where the Pro1050 adds value for breweries, enabling them to print small runs of labels with variations in the name of the beer, seasonal production, name of a retailer or distributor or any other variable information such a barcode and small batch data.
It’s not just in-house label printing where smaller breweries can gain a competitive advantage. OKI’s multi-award winning C800 Series complements the Pro1050 in delivering a comprehensive range of marketing materials printed in house, in professional quality. From bottle collars and sleeves to waterproof, tearproof menus, event invitations and free standing banners as well as self-adhesive floor and window stickers. All this and more will enable craft beer breweries to actively promote themselves as well as offering customers the opportunity to personalise their events and beers.

Building brands on demand

Italian craft brewery Zion Birra chose the C800 Series as a reliable and cost-effective printing solution to help grow its brand and capture attention at events and trade shows with hanging banners, pop-up banners, waterproof menus and wristbands. It is also using the device to create materials for its own small chain of boutique pubs5. The CEO attributes the brands skyrocketing sales to the flexibility OKI’s C800 Series has provided his business.
“Whether it’s banners, menus, bottle collars or wristbands, when you have a printer right here on site, all sorts of new ideas are possible” Amaurys Perez, CEO, Zion Birra.
The C800 Series is easy to use, making it ideal for breweries with no previous printing experience. Like the Pro1050 label printer, the C800 Series helps businesses to reduce print expenditure and achieve creative, professional results without the lengthy processes experienced with third party print suppliers.  

Enabling small label supplier to go big in global Rugby promotion

South African label supplier Talis Labels was recommended to assist in a project for Dutch brewing company Heineken which involved printing limited edition labels to help promote their sponsorship of a global rugby tournament in 2019. The brief was for a stunning transparent label that displayed well on the dark Heineken bottle and required a quick turnaround. However, Talis Labels lacked the necessary equipment needed to achieve the label finish that Heineken required particularly in the specified time frame. 
To meet the brief, Talis Labels began the search for an end-to-end label printer that was different to traditional CMYK label printers. Talis chose OKI’s Pro1050 Label Printer due to its 5-colour printing capability (CMYK+WHITE), cost efficiency and its ability to be fully customisable and compact enough to sit alongside the company’s die-cutter. Following an initial run of 600 labels, Heineken ordered a further 20,000 which Talis Labels was able to produce on time thanks to OKI’s Pro10506.
“...The Pro1050 represents great cost savings over other, less versatile label printing solutions and it definitely was a successful brand boosting promotion for Heineken...”  – Paul Stretton, Owner & Founder of Talis Labels.

It’s about more than just the beer

For craft beers, breweries would like to think it’s all in the taste.  However, it’s the overall appeal that counts! Attracting beer lovers is key and starts outside the bottle. From the label to the marketing materials promoting the brand, all help influence purchasing decisions by standing out in a crowded marketplace.  OKI’s Solutions for the Craft Beer market can do so much more than simply communicating what a product is and who it’s made by. It can help create and promote a brand identity. 
For breweries that are both seasoned in the craft beer trend or seizing the opportunities that the growing marketplace offers, OKI will help their brand stand out from the competition with professional, affordable personalised results delivered on demand.
To find out more about the art of crafting a beer brand through stand out labels and promotional materials printed in-house, on-demand, contact or visit
  1. Brewers of Europe – Contribution Made by beer to the EU economy 2020
  2. Brewers of Europe – Contribution Made by beer to the EU economy 2020
  3. Grand View Research – Global Craft Beer Market
  4. Forbes – 50 stats showing the power of personalization
  5. OKI Europe – Zion Case Study
  6. OKI Europe – Talis Case Study
Please note, for information on specific media that should be used with OKI printers for the applications specified on this page, please contact your local certified dealer or contact us.

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