Sunday, October 3, 2010

Do you make labels for your homebrew?

From left to right: James, Seth, Bridget/Kyle, and JamesNo (I spend all my effort on the beer inside)- 33%
No (I keg everything)- 15%
No (I don't even take the commercial labels off) - 14%
Yes (with cool graphics)- 13%
Yes (with basic info only)- 8%
It depends... - 14%

Sounds like there are (unsurprisingly) a lot of different homebrew labeling styles.  In the first year or two of homebrewing I made labels for most of my batches, but the more I brewed the less time and effort I put into them (especially after six months of unemployment ended).  For the last few years I've only been marking the caps with sharpie codes.  This works fine when I'm just sitting at home and cracking a bottle, but it creates problems when I bring beer to a party or homebrew club meeting where not everyone knows that "OWTB" means Oak Aged Wheat Tripelbock.

Recently I've been inspired to start making labels again by the beautiful packaging of several bottles of homebrew that people have given me.  Honestly all four of these bottles look better than most of the craft beer available. The one second from the left was brewed and waxed by Kyle, but the label was made by Bridget who won the 2010 BYO label contest (apparently she is willing to trade label designs for homebrew).  The Boom Boom Bourbon Barrel Stout was brewed by my friend Seth who brewed a Temptation clone with me three years ago before moving to Florida.  The two on the ends were done by my friend James who lives in Pittsburgh.  The big problem I'm having is that they're all so nice looking that I can't bring myself to open them.


Anonymous said...

I usually do simple labels. One reason is because I don't have the talent to design a cool one. Check out this guys labels, he does some great stuff...

squirrelist said...

I do simple labels on the cap. Avery sells round labels that fit the caps perfectly. I just print a sheet of the style, the batch number, the bottling date, and the alcohol level. Sometimes I go as far as choosing a fun font.

I've started bottling with belgian bottles for gifts, so I might do some fancy labels there. With pouring instructions.

Something else to consider is that Avery makes a variation of their labels that are removable, much like a very strong Post-It note.

Tim said...

I don't have time or skills to design labels, so I get a friend with both to make them for me. Though she doesn't drink (? - I know) so I can't pay her in homebrew.

Initially, we did labels special brews (a solera brew and a sour raspberry). We got a saison label together because I make so much of it. Next up is a set of six labels for a winter brew that will each be a section of a drawing of a snowman. It has been extremely satisfying for both of us when at a party someone pulls my beer out of the fridge thinking it a professional brew only to look for the details of the brewing company after liking the beer so much.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Lots of nice looking labels, and ideas, thanks for posting them.

Tim, I really like the first one.

B.Eckert said...

I go all out and just stick a piece of blue masking tape diagonally across the front with all the necessary info, including *Please rinse with water and return to Brian!*

I'm even a graphic designer, and I haven't really taken the time to make any. I'll get around to labels one day, I really don't want to use stickers.

B.Eckert said...

I had to share this as well... I stumbled on this while I was looking for some good label ideas:

Notice the heart? Awesome, huh?

Julien said...

Masking tape + name of the beer + date bottled. Couldn't be more simple. very easy to take off, too.

Homebrew Hero said...

Check out It’s the easiest way to label and you can reuse these labels as many times as you want. It takes all the work out of labeling, they are great.