Beverage labels consist of elements that need to be carefully considered before making a purchase and printing the chosen label. Having an eye-catching label will help the manufacturer sell it, but aside from the catchy design, there are technical elements to consider in a label. One of the most important elements is – label stock.
Since beverages are usually stored for a longer period of time, sometimes in room temperatures and sometimes in refrigerators, and since these bottles need to endure very different temperatures from bottling to refrigerating, beverage labels need to be durable and water resistant.
The type of a beverage label stock will depend on:
- where the drinks will be stored (indoors, outdoors?)
- what they will come in contact with (water? sun rays?)
- how they will be used (rough handling during shipping?)
- how much you can spend on them
Some of the most used beverage label materials (stock) are:
- Polyester film (PET)
Most beverage label materials need to be water resistant, because most bottles are exposed to moisture at some point.
Wine labels are sometimes tested by something called an Ice Bucket Test (emerging the wine in an ice bucked for 12 to 24 hours, to test whether the label will fall apart), and therefore wine labels most certainly need to be water resistant.
Paper is one of the most common type of beverage label materials. It is low costing and can easily be die-cut into your preferred shape, but it has no moisture, chemical, tear and UV resistance. That is why paper should be coated when used for beverage labels, especially for those that will be subjected to wet conditions. High gloss and semi-gloss paper are the two most commonly used label materials. Bright silver foil is a type of paper that is good for elegant and eye-catchy labels (wine, champagne and other “classy” beverages that need a sparkle).
Polyester film (PET)
Polyester, commonly known as PET, is a synthetic material with high resistance to moisture and decay. Along with paper, polyester is most commonly used for wine labels. Polyester is resistant to UV and moisture, abrasion, heat and cold, chemical solvents and is very durable.
Less costly than polyester, polypropylene is a good choice for beverages that require very long lasting labels. It has a good print quality and high durability. It is resistant to most chemical solvents, abrasion, UV and moisture. However, it has a low heat resistance. BOPP is one of the most commonly used polypropylene films for beverage labels. Its water-resistant properties make it a good choice for bottles that will be stored in wet conditions. It is very often used for water bottles. One of the most popular BOPP materials is a clear BOPP which is famous for its “no label” look. For beverages that need to convey that the beverage is fresh and pure (usually fresh juices and water), polypropylene thin film is usually a very good choice.
Vinyl is a very durable material that’s resistant to chemical solvents, moisture, tearing and UV exposure. It can be used for all beverage labels that will be subject to outdoor conditions and rough handling. Vinyl is very flexible, has high tear resistance, facilitates rich colors and performs well for printing and die cutting.
Shrink-sleeve is a type of label stock that can be made of PVC, PET, polypropylene, etc. When heat is applied to this material, it shrinks tightly over whatever it is covering. It offers highly graphic decoration and provides lots of space for information because of its 360-degree coverage. It is the most flexible technology for shaped containers.
Film labels can be made from PET, polyester or polypropylene. Filmic material is very flexible and good for unusual, curved wine bottle shapes. There are different types of film materials, some better for indoor use (for example, Acetate), and some suitable for harsher conditions (Polyester). Clear film or “no label look” film is becoming very popular, especially for beverages that want to emphasize the element of freshness, purity and/or elegance.