If labels tell a brand story, Finkel & Garf craft beers are undoubtedly bold and straightforward.
Labels as bold as the brew
That is no accident according to Dan Garfinkel, owner of Finkel & Garf Brewing Company based in Boulder, CO. When Garfinkel started the family-owned company in 2014 he says, “Our goal was to create a beer brand and taproom environment that was approachable in a complex world of craft beer. So we brew beers that are straightforward in presentation, consistent in flavor and quality, and balanced.” Having labels tell that story was critical to Garfinkel. “We wanted to make the process of choosing a beer easier, so our labels are as big, bold, and uncomplicated as our beers.”
The company operates a 15-barrel, 8,500-square foot brewhouse designed to produce beer not only for the on-site taproom but also bars, restaurants, and retailers throughout Colorado. Keeping up with the ever-changing consumer palette is key to Finkel & Garf’s success. “We wanted to offer a lot of variety,” says Dan. “This year, we’re on track to average two new limited-release beers a week.”
With a quickly changing inventory and short runs of 50-plus beers a year, Dan says they made the decision from day one to used printed labels on blank cans rather than print directly onto cans. “It gave us a huge amount of flexibility,” he notes. “Rather than have a warehouse full of printed cans, we have a metro shelf that holds all of our different labels to use as needed.” He estimates the brewery has upwards of 100 different label designs.
Making it perfect
Finkel & Garf had very specific criteria for the company’s label specs based on the look, feel, and application. “We needed a solution that would enable us to label a cold wet can in line,” he explains. “The Columbine Label team worked with us to get an adhesive that would work just right on the finished product.”
The substrate material and finish were equally important. “The can needs to feel good in your hand,” says Garfinkel. “We didn’t want a textured material, but we wanted it to feel substantial, not like a sticker on an aluminum can.” He says Columbine Label recommended a matte lamination that gives the label the substance he was looking for as well as extra protection for the can. “When you load the cans in a cooler of ice, you know the labels will hold up. The water-resistant lamination protects the label from scuff marks and deterioration, too.”
Dan also appreciates the expertise brought to the quality of printing. “Even when I thought the colors and everything looked great on a recent proof, they said, ‘It’s not perfect. We’re going to make it perfect.’ That is pretty damn cool.”
Keeping up with demand
Columbine Label is also able to meet Finkel & Garf’s need for fast turnaround times. “They have been able to keep up and help us stay nimble,” Dan says. “Within the three weeks it takes to brew a beer, we can get labels printed and in-house ready to apply. It’s been a breeze.”
A friend to man’s best friend
In addition to Columbine Label’s responsiveness to his label needs, perhaps the most endearing thing to Dan about the company is their shared affection for his constant companion Joey, an Australian Shepherd, and the extra mile (literally) they will go to take care of a customer.
He tells the story of Columbine Label’s extraordinary efforts to help him and Joey in a time of need. “I went down to their office to pick up an order of labels and I had my dog with me,” he begins. “They all love Joey and play with her whenever I stop by. After they helped me load up labels, my car wouldn’t start. So Brett, the production manager, brought his car over to give me a jump. When that didn’t work, the office staff offered to watch Joey while Brett drove me to the auto parts store to get what I needed to fix it. They took two hours out of their day to help me and watch over Joey,” Dan says. “How many places are willing to do that?”