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Craft Producers Looking to Stand Out with Label Premiumization

As craft producers explore label premiumization strategies like tactile and smart features, OEMs should be ready to successfully accommodate such changes.

Craft producers can use unique visual or tactile features to help draw customers in and communicate a feeling of luxury.
Craft producers can use unique visual or tactile features to help draw customers in and communicate a feeling of luxury.
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Craft producers are hoping to stand out on the shelf with label premiumization strategies, putting pressure on OEMs and suppliers to accommodate these material and design changes.

That’s according to PMMI Business Intelligence’s “2024 Craft Beer and Spirits: Success Through Packaging” report, where 23% of surveyed craft producers say they are looking to purchase labeling, decorating, and coding equipment.

Commonly the first point of consumer interaction for a product, craft labels are an essential part of creating a premium aesthetic to entice customers. Premium label features can be broken down into three primary strategies to consider: visual features, tactile features, and smart features.

Label premiumization through visual features

The visual aesthetics of a label are essential to establish a premium identity for craft products. Features such as high gloss finishes, metallic flourishes with ink and foil, and clean lines with sharp colors communicate a feeling of luxury and exclusivity to consumers looking to treat themselves.

OEMs and suppliers not only need to include these capabilities in their machine offerings; they also need to take extra care that these features will not be marred by machine handling and secondary packaging operations.

Many of these premium label features were previously associated with high-end spirits in larger-format glass bottles, but the desire for luxury across SKUs has pushed this trend down into all formats, including cans.

This proliferation of premiumization features, coupled with ongoing packaging material shortages, has also spurred craft producers’ interest in alternative labeling and decorating options, especially shrink sleeves and digital printing. Both shrink sleeves and digital printing enable producers to maintain the premium feel of their packaging without having to worry about major disruptions in bespoke can availability.

OEMs and suppliers should pay close attention to the expansion of these two technologies to help their craft customers evaluate which label premiumization features and strategies are most viable for their operations.

Getting in touch with tactile features

Beyond visual appeal, label premiumization strategies can also include a tactile aspect, creating a unique, pleasing, or unexpected sensory experience for consumers.

When it comes to tactile features, the mantra “less is more” often rings true. Textures should support a luxury feel without overwhelming the consumer.

Labeling flourishes such as a “rough” texture to support a matte label or the use of touches of leather and other unique materials can go a long way toward building a premium feel for craft products. Tactile enhancement can even be included right on the package itself, with features like graphics and text etched directly into bottles. 

For OEMs and suppliers, the same considerations for visual label premiumization also apply to tactile features. They should not only offer these capabilities, but also ensure that the tactile features survive the remainder of machine handling, packaging, and distribution.

Connecting the consumer with smart features

Visual and tactile premiumization are important aesthetic features for communicating luxury to consumers, but smart label features are also an important functional aspect emerging for premium offerings.Smart packaging features like QR codes can direct consumers to interactive virtual content.Smart packaging features like QR codes can direct consumers to interactive virtual content.PMMI Business Intelligence: 2024 Craft Beer and Spirits - Success Through Packaging

Smart features included in craft labels aim to expand the functionality of labeling and facilitate a premium experience for the consumer. Through tools like QR codes and RFID tags, craft producers can include interactive features on their labels that link customers directly to content designed to create a luxury experience.

Determining what information to communicate to customers and how a link can support a premium impression are highly situational and completely dependent on each brand’s unique position and goals. The most important takeaway for brands, though, is that the information must be relevant, engaging, and in direct support of a brand’s image.

SOURCE: PMMI Business Intelligence – 2024 Craft Beer and Spirits: Success Through Packaging

For more insights from PMMI’s Business Intelligence team, find reports including “2023 Building an Effective Talent Strategy for the Packaging Industry” and “2023 Packaging and Automation in the Warehouses of the Future” at

Download the FREE report below.

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