Can You Judge a Beer By Its Label? This Local Brewer Says ‘Yes’

By Kevin Crimmins

Can you judge a beer by its label?

What are the ingredients of an amazing beer experience? Barley, hops, and yeast are essential. But for Noon Whistle Brewing Company, it’s not just about taste; there’s a visual and even tactile component to the perfect bottle of beer.

“There are a lot of different beers out there, and people have a lot of different choices,” says Noon Whistle founder and brewmaster Paul Kreiner. “We’re trying to make their experience the best we can possibly make it.”

The most important ingredients are, of course, those that go inside the bottle. But, Kreiner explains, when it comes to creating the ultimate beer-drinking experience, everything counts — including the beer label.

“The feel of our brewhouse has to come through with all our packaging,” he says. “The texture of the label is important because people notice the little things like that.”

For the brewery’s latest run of barrel-aged beers, Kreiner wanted a label that reflected the care and time that went into the brewing process. He wanted to help customers perceive the quality of the product well before popping the cap.

Like wine connoisseurs, fans of Noon Whistle’s barrel-aged beers often wait a year or two before opening their bottles.

“They bring the bottles up from their basements and show them off to their friends: ‘Oh, you gotta try this beer,’” Kreiner says. “They’ll display it proudly on their counters, and everyone will look at it and touch it. It should feel like an important moment.”

Kreiner looked for printers that could provide premium label features, such as embossing, stamping, and different textures.

“You put a little gold shimmer in there, or you put a little texture, and it goes a long way,” Kreiner says.

Knowledge Is Number One

Kreiner and the team at Noon Whistle knew what they wanted their labels to achieve: a premium, wine bottle-like look and feel, with the strength to withstand months or years in a cellar. They just didn’t know how to get there.

When he doesn’t know something, Kreiner says, he turns to people who do.

Bob Ross Did It BeerUnfortunately, there were a few false starts. One of Noon Whistle’s first barrel-aged beers — a Scotch ale called Bob Ross Did It — was a hit, taste-wise. But enthusiasts were disappointed to discover their labels were wearing off after aging in their cellars. A label printing company he worked with understood Noon Whistle’s vision, but simply took orders instead of acting as an expert partner.

The result? Ink that ran and labels that didn’t meet expectations.

Next, Kreiner turned to another Chicago-area company, The Label Printers. The Label Printers has been an industry leader in flexible packaging, labeling, and product authentication since its founding in 1967. The food and beverage industry is one of its specialties.

Kreiner was immediately impressed with The Label Printers’ expertise and the willingness of its team members to collaborate with his brewery on eye-catching beer labels.

“The whole team was very knowledgeable and understood what I was trying to do,” he said. “They weren’t just talking to me about it. They were also proving it to me, as well.”

For their first meeting, The Label Printers account manager Maureen Avendt brought along seven or eight different designs for Kreiner to scrutinize. Kreiner was quickly able to narrow down his choices — thanks to input and honesty from The Label Printers team.

“They tell me when it won’t work, which I appreciate,” he says. “I would rather have that than purchase a bunch of stuff and find out later it’s not what I want.”

The Speed Factor

The Label Printers does beer bottle labels too!For Kreiner and the Noon Whistle brewers, knowledge is the main characteristic they seek in a label printer. Close behind is efficiency.

Barrel-aged beer can sit for a year or more, but as soon as the barrels are opened, a lot must happen in a very short amount of time. The beer has to be named, labeled, and packaged. Sometimes, Noon Whistle doesn’t give The Label Printers much turnaround time.

This has yet to be a problem.

“They always get it done,” Kreiner says. “Maureen has even taken the time to run the labels to me personally when we were up against a time crunch.”

Everything a Brewing Company Could Want in a Label Printer

When asked to describe his experience with The Label Printers in three words, Kreiner (with an assist from a hyphen) says, “Easy, knowledgeable, and on-time.”

For a brewer, it’s the holy trinity. That’s why Kreiner is happy to spread the word among fellow denizens of the beer world.

“Whenever people ask, ‘Hey, who do you use for labels?’ I always tell them about The Label Printers,” he says. “They’re a great company to deal with. If you're looking for somebody reliable, who knows what they're talking about, who will be honest with you, and who will deliver on time, they're the right team.”

Whether your product voice is upscale or down-to-earth, the right label can capture it. To find out how The Label Printers can help you with a label that fits your product, contact us today.


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Tags: Label Design, Food & Beverage Labels, Product Labels