Packaging Trends in the Craft Beer Industry

In 1873, there were 4,131 breweries registered in the United States. This number began to dwindle and eventually reached zero during the prohibition age. A slow rebirth throughout history and the introduction of craft breweries helped this number regrow to 1,813 by 2010. In the last five years, a strong demand for locally made beer from small and independent breweries has led to a new record high of 5,301 breweries being operated across the country. It's estimated that 75% of adults aged 21 or older live within 10 miles of a brewery!

We’re all about challenging the status quo and there’s no industry that has done it better than the craft beer industry. Brewers continue to introduce innovative styles and a seemingly endless amount of flavors. ( Peanut Butter Ale anyone?) With so many new beers being released, how does one stand out from the crowded shelves? To answer this question and explain the importance packaging has on beer, we’d like to introduce our client manager and beer connoisseur, Ryan Hall.

Meet Ryan...

First off, what is your favorite beer?

My favorite beer is a free craft brewed beer! As far as beer style is concerned, Imperial stouts, Doppelbocks and Tripels are a three way tie.

Ryan and his crew out brewing beer

What sparked your interest in craft beer?

My interest in craft beer started in 2004 when I was invited to participate in an event called a “Big Brew”. The owners (Marc and Katina Buttera) of Point Brew Supply invited friends and homebrew club members to their house to brew beer. I took home some wort and yeast and I was officially a homebrewer! I still like to attend any “Big Brew” in the area, however I typically volunteer to be on the food committee.

What brought you to Rocket Industrial?

What brought me to Rocket was the unique opportunity to join an organization that not only takes pride in being a great place to work, but has all the right tools in place for an individual to grow in their career. Rocket Industrial is on the cutting edge of many technological fronts which makes it an exciting time to work here.

What are the main trends right now in craft beer packaging?

As craft breweries grow, they appear to start out by kegging. The next step for many craft breweries appears to be bottling, whether it is the typical 12 ounce returnable style bottle or the 22 ounce “Bombers”. Another direction a few craft breweries have gone is to can their beer, either 16 or 12 ounces at a time. Obviously this requires more sophisticated equipment. Regarding the labels and print on variety packs, shelf appeal and for some companies to make it is as interesting and unique as possible seem to be a direction some gravitate to.

Craft Beer Purchase Decision

According to the Brewer’s Association, two new breweries open for the first time every day. Do you see saturation in the craft beer market becoming a problem?

Not at this time, and certainly not in Wisconsin. As drinking and driving laws become stricter, there appears to be an undercurrent of “if I am only going to have one beer, it needs to be a really good one." Beer drinkers preferences have been evolving, with more and more people enjoying craft beer.

What advice do you have for breweries looking to differentiate their product?

Local tie-ins are what draws me in to visit a craft brewery and exited to know more about them. When most if not all the ingredients are locally sourced and partnerships are made with other area businesses, it is win-win all around. Having the Certified Independent Craft Brewers Association seal appears to be a must to properly qualify the beer as a craft beer.

Brewing up refreshing packaging solutions.

Want to optimize the way your beer is packaged? We can help find packaging solutions to fit each brewery's unique challenges.