Top 7 Craft Beer Label Trends for 2022
If you’re a craft beer enthusiast, you know that trends surrounding certain iconic beers are a subject to be reckoned with. Craft brewing has surged in popularity over the past few years, and in the past three years alone, more than 2,500 new breweries opened their doors.
According to the Brewer’s Association, there were 8,764 craft brewers in the United States, accounting for about 24% of national beer sales in 2021.
As the market becomes more saturated and breweries figure out how to differentiate themselves (and stay afloat), it’s worth looking at the latest trends heading into 2022. In this post, we’ll look at label trends brewers should be aware of to help inform future growth and get customers excited for happy hour!
Brief History of Craft Beer Labels
Craft beer labels are a big part of the reason behind craft beer’s popularity. And it stands to reason; craft beer makes up only about one-fifth of the volume of available beer, so the packaging needs to stand out. Plus, with the influx of new products in the alcoholic beverage sector—specifically hard seltzers and cider—appearances matter even more.
Snappy names, cute critters, edgy mascots, vibrant colors, and provocative names help craft brewers compete with the big guys for shelf space, and imbibers can’t get enough. A craft beer label has become a way to tell a story, draw you in closer, and augment the creativity of what’s inside the package with an equally compelling exterior.
Seven Craft Beer Label Trends for 2022
Since the pandemic threw a wrench into a lot of plans for growth and marketing, many brewers have rebranded, repackaged, and repositioned, which, of course, put the label at the center of the action.
Great labels, without a doubt, help breweries sell more beer and grow their business. And with the pandemic shutdowns, there was a major shift from restaurant and draft sales to retail, making the packaging even more pivotal.
Here are some of the emerging trends we’re seeing in craft beer labels to help put your best foot forward in 2022.
Patch Work Sticker “Slaps”
Slaps are custom brewery stickers with an edge. Inspired by street art, graffiti, and comic book characters, patch sticker slaps are generally contour-cut. Slaps are great for one-offs, special events, or changing up the packaging to suit the season. A complete rebrand isn’t a viable option for smaller brewers, so slaps are an excellent way to mix it up and try a few new designs without the expense of a major rebrand. Think of all those industrial beer coolers adorned with dozens of stickers to promote their brands, and you’ve got the idea.
Vibrant Color Palettes
The trend towards super-bright colors on craft beer can labels could well be an effort to ensure a pop on the Instagram feed and on the shelves! But it’s also an appeal to the new generation of craft beer drinkers, who oftentimes prefer a brighter, busier color palette. Think blindingly psychedelic color combos or lustrous metallic effects with transparent inks on silver labels that will get your customers completely starry-eyed.
Let’s go back in time! With the hipster trend to vintage everything, a throwback to whimsical mascots of yore just fits. It’s a great way to inspire nostalgia with older craft brew enthusiasts and delivers just the right dose of irony for the younger crowd. We’re seeing everything from throwbacks to beer-drinking stereotypes like lumberjacks, strongmen, and bearded, kilt-wearing semi-intellectuals, sassy dogs and bears, frogs, cartoon baseballs, basketballs, and even beer-drinking vegetables – cool, huh?
When you see brand or product names printed on an arched baseline, it’s called tombstone typography. It’s a great way to fit more type onto a label without taking up a lot of extra real estate. The message and branding are visible at-a-glance, and it provides a structured, streamlined, almost architectural look. Beware of trying to fit too many characters onto the arch, however. A curved baseline or using fonts that are too fancy can make some words hard to read.
Talk about going back to the good ol’ days! In a further extension of retro revival, 80s-inspired color palette, and 60s-style retro fonts just scream groovy — especially when it’s on a craft beer can label. Take a look at Barley’s Kitchen and Tap beer label! By showcasing vibrant colors and funky shapes, this label gives off just the right kind of vibe while demanding some serious attention from customers.
The bold, no-nonsense approach might be the antithesis to some of the more esoteric trends in craft beer can labels; it’s a strategy that speaks to a brand’s philosophy. It’s straight-up; here it is, simple, back to basics. Beer, done. A no-nonsense label appeals to the type of imbibers that are perhaps less interested in a “look at me” kind of pitch and more about what’s inside. That’s not to say these craft beer label designs are uninteresting—just more understated and perhaps a bit cerebral.
As a follow-up to the no-nonsense trend in craft beer labels, the two-tone label trend adds a little pop of color to lift the logo and typeface. Some craft brewers use the contrasting color to denote product variations, sometimes mixing three or more to the box to break up the monotony. Two-tone labels can be subtle or dramatic, but they’re anything but plain. Take a look at Strawberry Alley Ale label – so clean, simple, and classic that it gets customers wanting to take a sip!
Standing Out in 2022 with Custom Craft Beer Labels
Standout labels are one of the more entertaining and creative ways to market craft beer. A great design helps your product pop right off the shelf and out of the fridge and helps you compete against the Budweisers and Heinekens of the world.
Today’s beer drinkers are a diverse bunch, and most gravitate to brands with a strong identity. In that sense, your craft beer labels are like little ambassadors, getting your message out there, converting the uninitiated, and delighting your fans in equal measure. Though there are no guarantees about what the future holds for craft beer label trends, a great label always elevates the experience.
Ready to start dazzling your customers with one-of-a-kind craft beer labels? Check out Stomp brewery packaging, labeling, POS, and merchandising lineup today.
- Marketing Team