This piece was provided by CODO Design, a food and beverage branding firm, and authors of Craft Beer, Rebranded. This book (and companion workbook) is a step-by-step guide to help you map out a successful strategy for rebranding your brewery.
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What does craft beer, RTD cocktails, hard seltzer, THC/CBD and kombucha have in common? They all over-index in cans. And when COVID caused the entire food and beverage industry to shelter in place in early 2020, this spurred thousands of breweries who had never before packaged their beer, to start buying every can they could find in order to get their beer out the door (and keep those doors open). This created a real deal aluminum shortage.
While this shortage was forecasted to happen throughout last summer, we (CODO) didn’t start feeling its effects until Q4 2020. That’s when brewery clients started to shift from ordering truckloads of printed cans to shrink sleeves. Or we would have to reformat a label to fit on three different templates because that’s how many vendors it would take to complete an order. It was chaos.
To discuss this topic as well as provide a deeper behind the scenes look at the canning industry, we’ve brought in Paige Sopcic, CEO of CanSource. What formats are on the rise, which verticals are growing and what does she see, from a macro level, as leading emergent trends as we head into 2021.
Isaac (CODO): Hi Paige, thanks for your time! Please introduce yourself and CanSource.
Paige: Hi Isaac and all the CODO fans out there! I’m the CEO of CanSource and live in Boulder, Colorado. CanSource has been serving the craft beverage industry for the last decade with shrink sleeved cans in low minimum orders.
We have four plants across the U.S. and our team works tirelessly is to ensure what is on the outside of the can matches the quality and craftmanship of what goes inside the can.
CODO: You’re in a place, similar to CODO, where you work with hundreds (thousands?) of breweries each year. This puts you in a position to see a constant flow of packaging at the macro level. I know peeking into your system would probably be akin to drinking from a firehose, BUT, have you been able to suss out any major package design trends coming through Can Source this year?
Paige: A few design trends that stand out:
- Cans, cans, cans!
- A push into pastel colors, especially on matte-textured cans. Think Recess sparkling water or Aura Bora herbal sparkling water.
- Ingredient dominance! This reminds me of the trend we saw in food a few years ago with brands like RxBars spotlighting the ingredient list over everything else. A good example here is CarryOn, the CBD water brand from Ocean Spray.
CODO: What other verticals have you seen movement in this year? Kombucha? Hard seltzer? Cold brew coffee? CBD/THC? RTD cocktails?
Paige: In can-volume, our top five growth areas in 2020 are:
1 1. Kombucha (including hard kombucha)
2 2. Non-alcoholic (i.e water, soda, better-for-you drinks)
3 3. RTD cocktails
4 4. CBD/THC
5 5. Wine
We are seeing a lot of creativity outside the alcohol segment this year, especially in better-for-you categories like Koios’s Fit Soda, Moment’s Drink Your Meditation or Cloud Water + Immunity sparking water. That said, beer continues to be our number one vertical!
CODO: Have you been getting hounded for brite cans alone, without a shrink wrap due to the shortage?
Paige: YES! Pre-COVID, I would have told you we sell sleeved cans not brites. During COVID, it has been important to us to provide brite cans to customers that had delays or long lead times from us on their sleeved can orders. We do everything we can to bridge the gap and prevent customers from wasting product or having empty shelves.
CODO: Sustainable packaging is becoming increasingly more important to consumers, particularly with Gen Z (and I imagine this trend will accelerate amongst the Gen Alpha cohort as well). Can shrink sleeves be produced sustainably?
Paige: Sustainably focused brands are quickly moving to cans (and away from bottles or plastic) as aluminum is infinitely recyclable! From the conversations we’ve had with Recyclers, shrink sleeved cans can be recycled and the sleeve is burned off in the recycling process. Right now, we are working on using a thinner sleeve to reduce the amount of plastic per sleeve.
Another option is for producers to buy perforated sleeves from us, which allow consumers to easily remove the sleeve. This is common in food packaging with shrink labels.
Read the rest of this post over on CODO’s site: https://cododesign.com/canning-trends-can-shortage-cansource/
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