Author:Katz, Steve

Often in this space I refer to the many travels and adventures I embark on in the name of labels and narrow web printing. Spring has become our busiest time of year, as there are multiple events back-to-back-to-back. It seems our Associate Editor Greg Hrinya or myself are on the road every week, at least one of us, sometimes both.

A few weeks ago I was in Nashville for the Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America. I know, poor me.

I like beer; that's no secret. But this trip to Music City was merited due to the strong presence that labels and packaging play in what has become a booming yet hyper-competitive market. With about 13,000 attendees and more than 700 exhibitors, it was a huge, dynamic show. As a first-time attendee, I was thoroughly impressed. Every single aspect of the craft beer supply chain was represented, and there were dozens of exhibitors showcasing PS labels, shrink sleeves, label printing and application equipment, as well as pressure sensitive promotional products. The show floor was packed, not to mention the conference sessions related to labels and packaging. Craft brewers were eager to learn about how they can set their brand apart. If you're a converter serving this market, I recommend looking into exhibiting at the 2019 event in Denver.

One of the show takeaways for me was a theme of "independence." With the biggest players in the beer industry--AB InBev, Heineken, Calrsberg--swallowing up smaller but up-and-coming breweries, the stalwarts that refuse to sell out are differentiating themselves by moving away from describing themselves as craft beers, but independent beers. After all, the aforementioned...

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