Printing labels on bottles has changed little down through the years. Even though we still print labels the old-fashioned way, we’re keeping a watchful eye on new technologies to adopt during the years ahead.
If these new options prove themselves under testing and use, they will become a game-changer for the beverage industry and the customers they serve. Let’s take a closer look at these new bottle labeling solutions:
Beer Giant Introduces “Tattooed” Bottles
If you’re a fan of German beer, drinking Beck’s beer makes every day Oktoberfest. AB InBev, Beck’s manufacturer, has begun ditching paper labels for “imprinting branding” right on the bottles. Using ink alone will provide not only more cost-effective labeling, but more eco-friendly labeling as well.
Printing labels on bottles has traditionally required paper or other materials in addition to ink. With today’s emphasis on sustainable packaging, a way to avoid paper reduces the need for the raw materials that produce paper, including oxygen-producing trees.
Should Beck’s new labels become a success, this method will likely spread beyond Europe into global adaptation. Doubtless, we, too, will look at this method closely as a possibility for our beverage-making clients.
Innovation and Art Combine for High-End Labeling
Although AB InBev hasn’t completed its economic footprint testing, it looks like a promising alternative as beverage makers search for eco packaging methods that are both attractive and cost effective. Called “direct object printing,” this technology continues its way along the development and testing process in the company’s Leuven, Belgium plant.
This process applies ink followed by varnish to the bottle in a wrap-around design in a seamless, no-label design. The process renders an embossed, high-end effect with a textural feel.
Previously, AB InBev has tested the new printing method on small, occasion-specific batches. It now plans to introduce the current batch of bottles to the European mass market.
This digital technology allows breweries and other beverage manufacturers to duplicate the traditional embossing process at scale, giving them eco packaging that is as budget-friendly as it is environmentally friendly.
The new bottles feature nine designs, each crafted by promising new artists. The company plans to launch the new bottles in the UK on a limited-run basis.
Sustainable Packaging Will Now Include Paper Beer Bottles
Beck’s isn’t the only brewery who plans to go green with their packaging. Danish beermaker Carlsberg has introduced their prototype for paper beer bottles.
No worries about chopping down rainforests with these bottles. Carlsberg plans to use only sustainable, recyclable wood in its manufacturing process, reports The Drinks Business, a beverage industry journal.
The new bottle resulted from the brewery’s environmental initiative, “Together Toward Zero.” The company plans to get to zero carbon emissions by the year 2030. It also aims to reduce its “full-value-chain carbon footprint,” the journal shares.
Currently, the company has two prototypes, each with a different inner barrier that allows it to hold liquids safely. One barrier is a recycled PET (polymer) film, and the other uses a PEF polymer film made from bio-based raw materials.
The project has been four years in the making, with the brewery partnering with researchers from the Technical University of Denmark, as well as environmental experts at BillerudKorsnäs and EcoXPac. During the process, the partnership produced a new company, Paboco, that specializes in paper bottles.
Other Major Companies Join Carlsberg’s Quest for Sustainable Labeling
Other major beverage companies—Coca-Cola and Absolut—as well as cosmetics maker L’Oreal, have partnered with Carlsberg’s new venture. Certainly, the technology’s sustainable packaging applications go well beyond beverages.
Along with the revolutionary paper bottles, Carlsberg has introduced several other sustainable packaging and labeling solutions, including eco-friendly label ink and new, non-plastic rings around the cans in its six-pack.
The company hasn’t set a date for its debut on the market, but it is working in tandem with its partners to “overcome remaining technical challenges” to bring it to market.
Eco Packaging Becoming a Thing with Scotland’s Cuantec
Craft beer is probably the perfect pairing with eco-friendly packaging. In addition to its obvious benefit to the environment, nothing will grab the loyalty of the coveted millennial cohort like craft beer inside an eco-friendly package.
With eco-conscious millennials having spent more on craft beer than on their cell phones, this development is a match made in heaven. Cuantec’s new packaging development uses “the remains of shellfish to manufacture biodegradable six-pack rings.
Although the venture began with an attempt to create a biodegradable food packaging alternative, it morphed into a beer-ring breakthrough. Cuantec plans to have the rings ready soon. The product of more than two years of research, these rings are the brainchild of Dr. Ryan Taylor, a chemist who began his work in the spring of 2017. The researcher’s alma mater, the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, invested in the project through a special fund set aside for inventors and entrepreneurs.
Cuantec plans to introduce their rings in the beverage market by 2020. To that end, the company has begun a crownfunding campaign to expand its facilities and hire more staff.
Florida’s SaltWater Brewery Introduces Wildlife-Friendly 6-Pack Rings
On the other side of the pond, Delray Beach’s SaltWater Brewery has developed a grain-based six-ring holder for its Screamin’ Reels IPA. Although the brewery claims that it tastes “like a stale cookie,” the new packaging won’t hurt any animal who accidentally eats it.
Both compostable and biodegradable, this eco packaging will break down even if someone litters. The material resembles stiff paper yet is strong enough to hold up under the wear and tear packages receive during shipping and display.
The brainchild of startup E6PR (named for its properties: it’s an Edible 6–Pack Ring), the material looks to be a breakthrough in packaging and labeling. For wildlife, it’s a game-changer. Instead of a hazard that accidentally traps and strangles animals, the packaging might even serve as food for those same animals during lean times.
We at Nova Custom Label Printing are keeping our eyes on these innovative packaging solutions and plan to introduce them in the not-so-distant future. Meanwhile, if you need innovative design that will practically make your products leap off the shelf, let’s have a chat. Get in touch with our design team today.