Craft Beer Packaging Solutions: Packaging Journey, Part Three
This is Part Three of a series telling the (technically fictional but very true-to-life) story of Sarah Thompson and David Miller, co-founders of a craft beer brand and their journey. (Here’s Part One and Part Two!)
This series exists because we wanted a way to help budding craft beer entrepreneurs. The road to establishing successful businesses is paved with plenty of learning, especially in the early stages. The knowledge and confidence to get started comes, in part, from hearing the stories of others who decided to take the plunge. So, we want to share a story that represents a composite of our many, many craft beer clients.
We’ve found, in our work with brewery owners, that the journey from homebrewing to expanding a successful craft beer brand tends to follow a familiar course. And as packaging experts, we know exactly how boxes, trays, labels, and more will fit into that journey. By sharing the story of a few quintessential craft beer entrepreneurs through the lens of packaging, we hope to demystify this part of the process.
We’re such big fans of entrepreneurs. We love working with new businesses, particularly in the creative and ultra-passionate world of craft beer. If you’re on the cusp of becoming part of this world, we salute you. And we hope this series is helpful and inspiring for you.
Back to Sarah and David!
Beer Trays and Multipack Boxes
At this point, Sarah and David are on a roll. Long-time acquaintances in the craft beer scene, they began their business partnership when they were seated together at a pairing event. They quickly realized that their skillsets—David’s marketing savvy and Sarah’s operations knowledge—paired like IPA and tacos carnitas. Together, they might just be able to pull off their mutual dream: creating a successful craft beer brand.
Turns out they were right. Once they refined the recipes for their line of beers based on food pairing recommendations, they were off to the races. They launched their brewery, sold plenty of beer out of kegs, and then started producing cans—complete with stunning and durable labels.
They’re at the point where selling to retail is the next natural step. They need boxes for six packs to get their product safely to liquor stores. Ideally, their packaging would be as eco-friendly as possible and accommodate for the fact that they have three different types of beer. Oh, and one more thing: could they cut their original timeline down by 66%? Because it turns out that they need to get their beer to interested liquor stores way faster than they originally thought. Oops.
No problem. Great Little Box Company/Ideon Packaging, their label and packaging partner, considers all of these needs and comes up with a solution: a multi-pack folding carton box for all three beers and a beer tray. The corrugated tray is there to prevent potential shipping problems and give them extra options for retail. They’re reusable, recyclable, stackable, and big enough to fit four multipack boxes destined for the liquor store. Or they can let customers at the brewery or elsewhere pick their own 24 beers and carry them out on the trays.
When GLBC prints the trays and boxes, they use colour matching to ensure branding consistency. They use ultra-high-quality digital printers to produce the packaging as fast as possible (traditional printing requires a lot of time-consuming setups). And they add a fun feature to the bottoms of the trays: a game that customers can play.
David and Sarah meet their deadline for getting the beer to retailers. They breathe their biggest sigh of relief yet and start looking ahead.
By now, the beer is canned, labelled, and boxed for retail. But their retail adventures have truly only begun. In Part Four, we’ll talk about what packaging looks like when a craft beer brand starts to expand.
If you have been reading this series and you’re feeling inspired enough to strike up a conversation with us, that’s awesome. Please do reach out! Like we said, we love talking to new entrepreneurs and we have plenty of knowledge to share when it comes to the craft beer industry.