The whiskey business is booming, and more producers are joining in with their own craft brands. Whether you’re distilling your own spirits or creating blends from larger distilleries, your label needs to stand out among the crowd.
Here’s what you need to include on your whiskey labels, and how to make your craft spirits stand out.
Required whiskey label information
Whiskey labels need a certificate of label approval (COLA) from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. You’ll need a new COLA anytime you make big label changes, unless it’s a change that doesn’t change the meaning of the label. For instance, you can change the design, add holiday graphics, update your addresses and UPC codes or add trademarks and copyright information, without needing a new COLA.
Whiskey labels must include the brand or trade name, the class and type of whiskey, alcohol by volume, net contents, country of origin, commodity statement and the manufacturer or importer’s contact information. This is very similar to other spirit labeling guidelines, but categorization can get tricky.
The classes and types of whiskey are regulated by the federal government. Whiskey can be categorized as neutral spirits, grain spirits or whiskey (including bourbon, rye, wheat and malt whisky). It’s very important to properly classify your spirits, since there are strict requirements for American whiskeys. For example, labelers must include a statement of age for any whiskey under four years old. Be sure to determine the proper class and type before you design your labels.
Make labels that pop
Understanding whiskey drinking trends is the key to making your labels pop. From novelty to high-end small production spirits, knowing where your brand fits in the market can guide your labeling process. It’s helpful to visit stores to imagine where your bottle might fit on the shelf, and to see what other manufacturers are doing.
Novelty whiskeys are particularly popular these days: producers are enhancing them with cinnamon, bacon, maple and other flavorings. Using quirky design, bright colors and unusual bottle shapes can set your branding apart.
High-end whiskeys should be marketed to the whiskey aficionado and their shopping habits. Modern whiskey connoisseurs gather information about new brands online, including social media. Use QR codes to direct buyers to your site or social media accounts without interfering with the label design. You can also offer pairing suggestions and tasting notes with a QR code. The bottle shape matters, too: square and decanter-shaped bottles can evoke a sense of luxury and presence.
Don’t forget to consider the label material when you’re designing labels. Clear labels, foil, embossing and other eye-catching materials can enhance visual appeal and help target your ideal customers.
Learn more about Quadrel’s whiskey labeling systems
Once you’ve determined where your whiskey fits in the market and what you should include on the label, Quadrel has labeling solutions for all your unique designs. Label your bottles’ bodies and necks at speeds of up to 200 products per minute, or reach out today to discuss custom options.