The Importance of Forethought in Craft Beer Packaging

Well made beer often sells itself by reputation alone. Breweries that have cult followings don’t necessarily need their packaging to grab the customer’s attention, but for everyone else, packaging can make or break your sales.

The goal of craft beer packaging should be to grab attention while providing the consumer with just enough information to make an educated decision. Packaging needs to be stand alone. What I mean by this is, your packaging needs to be able to sell your product without a sales representative present. Let’s look both positive and negative examples of this.

If you are a new brewery, you do not want to leave it up to a merchandizer or store clerk to properly display your product. Many brewery’s do not have packaging that is omnidirectional. Depending on how I, as the store clerk, face your packaging, it can totally kill your sales. Here is an example of packaging that needs to be faced a certain direction to effectively sell.

With the amount of new beer hitting the markets, breweries can no longer expect their packaged beer to be facing front, displaying the length of the package. Retail employees have to play a bad game of Tetris when stocking shelves with new package beer. Oftentimes, retail shops will face packaging so that the side is facing front, to fit more product on the shelves. If you are a brewery, do you want to trust the side of your packaging to sell your product?

Here is an example of the opposite, the front of a brewery’s packaging explains less about the product than the side to potential customers.

The front of their packaging doesn’t effectively tell me as a customer why I should buy their product. Here is a pic of the same package both front and side facing.

Only when I turn the package on its side, can I clearly see it is an IPA.

Another aspect of branding that breweries need to consider are the bottles themselves. Many breweries have a sticker that is on the neck of each bottle. Some show the brewery symbol, others show a symbol for the type of beer. Both have one minor flaw. The above left picture shows what most 6 packs look like with bottle neck stickers. The above right picture is after I individually faced each bottle within the package. Most merchandizers and retail employees won’t go the extra mile to make sure your bottles are individually faced. It makes a difference when you look at a shelf that is meticulously faced. The more eye appealing the display is, the more apt customers will be to buy your product.

Let’s look at some positive examples of packaging.

No matter which way Brooklyn Brewery packaging is faced, it always looks amazing. You can even mix which way the six packs are faced and they still perfectly display the brewery’s symbol. The packaging is clean and I can clearly read the style and ABV in the brown border at the top of the packaging.

Alpine brewery takes it a step farther by removing stickers on the neck of the bottles. The brewery removed all options for a non-brewery employee to screw up the merchandizing by not having to rely on them to individually face each bottle. The only problem with Alpine packaging is its simplicity. To anyone who has never heard of the brewery, they will most likely walk right passed their beer and gravitate toward a more flashy looking six pack.


This is a juxtaposition from the same beer shelf between two NC breweries. The Carolina Brewing Company has omnidirectional packaging while 3rd Rock doesn’t. Again, Carolina Brewing provides all the pertinent information for the consumer.

I think Dogfish Head Brewery is the best in the business with respect to packaging and branding their product. Here are the high points: They don’t have bottle neck stickers to individually face, their packaging displays all pertinent information on both the front and side faces, and their packaging is eye catching. Best of all, they use the bottom of their packaging to provide the customer with more detailed information about the product and the company.


Let’s review the important aspects of beer packaging.

  • Don’t leave it up to the retail store to display your product properly
  • Have an omnidirectional package that provides the pertinent info about your product to the customer
  • Get away from brand stickers on the bottle neck, they look sloppy if each bottle isn’t properly faced
  • Find a way to provide all the pertinent information while also using eye catching artwork


If you are a brewery that would like an outside expert perspective to create or improve your packing from someone who actually sells beer to customers on a daily basis…reach out to me here for a free consultation.







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