Making an amazing beer is a satisfying feeling — especially when sharing it with your friends. But one element that will help you take your brew to the next level is actually building a brand for it. No, you’re not going to get a fleet of Clydesdales to march back and forth in front of your house during the Super Bowl, but you can still create an attractive presence for your unique creation that other people will find interesting, compelling, and desirable.
Going beyond handing out unmarked brown bottles to your friends and adding labels doesn’t take a lot of money or time. Just about everyone has a friend with design skills. If you don’t happen to know any graphic designers, there are a number of low-cost options, including Upwork and Fiverr, where you can find freelancers to design logos and labels for as little as five dollars (although you will probably want to spend a little bit more to get something you like!).
One of the barriers to getting great labels has been quantity. The major breweries print millions of labels a day, and even small microbreweries produce enough beer to justify ordering thousands of labels at a time. If you are someone who only makes 20 or 30 bottles, there is absolutely zero economy of scale — which is probably why you write the name of the beer in magic marker on a white label stuck to the bottle.
The good news is that advances in digital printing have made it possible to print stickers and labels with no minimum orders. Quite literally, you could order one label if you really wanted to. That’s perfect for home brewers who may only need a few dozen labels, rather than hundreds or thousands.
This buy-only-what-you-want also applies to other branded items, ranging from coasters to bottle openers to beer cozies. Even a few years ago, people were required to order quantities that far exceeded the needs of most DIY beer makers. New printing technologies have eliminated minimum orders, so anyone can order a handful of beer openers to give to friends and fans. The sky really is the limit when it comes to building a brand on a budget for your brewing operation.
Andrew Witkin is the founder and CEO of StickerYou, a global, e-commerce leader in custom-printed, die-cut products that empower consumers and businesses to create high-quality materials for personal expression, marketing, and packaging.