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Production & Labeling Alternatives For Brewers During The Candemic

Published 11/24/2020  •  Updated 11/25/2020
How to package beer with worldwide aluminum shortage

The demand for aluminum has shot up 60% since 2010. Significant year-over-year growth coupled with COVID-19 reducing manufacturing speeds and consumers drinking more at home, the need for aluminum has outgrown the supply chain's ability to keep up.

So what can you do if your business depends on 12 oz cans?

Whether you're a craft beer brewer, cold brew coffee bottler, or kombucha canner, we understand this is a big disruption to your business. In the following article, we offer bottling and labeling alternatives so you can get your business back on track.

Switch To Glass Bottles

Glass beer bottles with pressure sensitive labels

There are tons of glass bottling options on the market, many of which are cheaper than the cans you may have been using. You have the option of colors (clear, green, cobalt, or amber), sizes (12 oz and 16 oz), and sealing type (screw top or swinging top).

The main complaint among homebrewers with using glass bottles is that they let in light. However, this can be combated with darker glass and full-coverage labels. In addition, many consumers feel glass bottles offer a richer feel over cans. And, 71% believe bottling results in a better tasting beer.

Popular glass bottle label sizes:

Relabel Existing Aluminum Stock

Beer can label options

Printed cans are a popular and highly utilized branding method. If you invested in printed cans before the pandemic and are looking to reuse your inventory for another product, it is possible. Take it from Brew Dr., who repurposed the printed cans of discontinued beers. You too can pivot by using a blockout label material or custom printed shrink sleeves.

Blockout Labels

This specialized label utilizes a unique gray coating between the facesheet and adhesive. It creates an opaque barrier that prevents light from passing through the label. This means your old printed design cannot be seen. To the naked eye, your can looks like it's using a standard, bright white label with nothing underneath. Shop blockout label sizes.

Shrink Sleeves (aka Cover-Up Sleeves)

Shrink sleeves cover the entire can up to the lip

If your printed can design is full-coverage (it goes up to the lip of the can), a label may not be able to hide everything. In this instance, a shrink sleeve will be your best option.

Shrink sleeves are specialized print products that form fit to your container using heat, offering 360-degree graphics coverage. When used as a cover-up label, the shrink film is made into a sleeve with an opaque cold foil applied to the back. That covers an obsolete can giving it a new life.

Consolidated Label is an industry leading manufacturer that can help you find the right fit for your old cans. Check out their shrink sleeve can capabilities to save your existing can inventory today.

Change Can Sizes

Labels for non-traditional aluminum can sizes

While aluminum in all shapes and sizes is in high demand, the standard 12 oz can is the most back-ordered. If your supplier offers other can sizes, consider giving them a try. You can size up or down depending on their inventory and your equipment/capabilities. In doing so, you can still produce and sell your product in its native form.

Non-traditional can sizes include: 187 ml, 7.5 oz, 8 oz, 10 oz, 375 ml, 19.2 oz, 750 ml, 25.4 oz, and 32 oz.

If you choose to go this route, your main two options are pressure sensitive labels or custom printed shrink sleeves. Online Labels sells blank and custom printed labels with no minimum order quantities to support small businesses in their endeavors.

For larger orders and more advanced capabilities, turn to Consolidated Label. Their digital printing presses and high-speed flexographic presses run 24/7 to meet and exceed your needs.




2020 has brought enough challenges for the food and beverage market, don't let this be the straw that breaks the camel's back. Online Labels and Consolidated Label are here to support you in any way possible. From labels to shrink sleeves, we can help you get back on the market!

For award-winning customer support, call Online Labels at 1-888-575-2235 or Consolidated Label at 1-800-475-2235.

How to package beer with worldwide aluminum shortage

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