In the craft beer business, brand differentiation is everything. And it all starts with the graphics. Just ask Meredith A., Creative Manager, with Half Acre Beer Co., a Chicago-based microbrewery that crafts an impressive flight of core and specialty release beer in bottles and cans. “We take our visuals very seriously,” she explains. “If the physical label can’t support the art, then our work is all in vain.”
Experience, expertise – and experimenting
Established in 2007, the craft brewery has more than a decade of experience designing creative, high-quality graphics for their product. The trick was finding a print provider that could do their work justice and provide an equally high caliber of service. Enter Columbine Label Company.
Sales representative Jennifer Adams has been servicing the account since 2011. “Half Acre Beer is one of our best customers,” she says. “They love standing out and exploring new printing techniques and ideas,” such as foils, hot stamping and textured label stock. “If we’re ever experimenting with something new, they’re game!”
Finding a printing hero
From Half Acre Beer’s standpoint, Columbine Label has been a saving grace. “They have come through for us in a serious way so many times,” says Meredith. “It’s not something you expect from every vendor.”
What have these heroics entailed? “Running down to stop the presses when I found a typo,” laughs Meredith, as well as working closely with the brewery’s designers to make their ideas a reality and meeting tight shipping times.
Meeting new needs
The partnership with Half Acre Beer and Columbine Label also includes making adjustments at the production level. The brewery recently upgraded its label machine for cans that ran much faster than before. Jennifer worked with them to upgrade and qualify new webbing to handle the increased speed without tearing in production.
“We got tons of feedback in person and online about our product designs,” Meredith says. Half Acre Beer also has been featured frequently in industry publications for their artwork. “A lot of people on social media ask us who prints our labels, thinking we might keep it a secret. But we’re happy to tell everyone it’s Columbine Label Company!”
A relationship worth keeping
“I receive an impossibly large amount of email from vendors seeking our business,” says Meredith. “But knowing who we’re working with and what level of service we can expect is very important to us. It’s just not worth giving up the relationship we have with Jennifer and Columbine Label to save a few cents.” We’ll drink to that!