Printing the labels for our Irish Craft Beer

With our labels ready to go, the next step was getting them to the printers.  When it came to selecting a printer, the choice was pretty simple.  We went with the multi-award winning Label Factory based in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary.  We began the process by contacting Susan to discuss our options.  She sent us out a vast array of samples showcasing their work in order to get an idea of the options available to us.

We discussed the final finish we were hoping to achieve with our graphic designer and went back to Susan with a more detailed description of what we required.  Susan then provided us with the catalogue from two label manufacturers filled to the brim with paper samples but this only managed to confuse us further.

So on a sunny June day, we headed off to Clonmel to meet Susan and her team to see if we could get any closer to printing our labels.

The Label Factory is based in the Gurtnafleur business park on the outskirts of Clonmel.  Their office proudly displays their many awards together with the various labels they have produced ranging from whiskey producers to artisanal jam producers. If you got locked into this office, not only would you not starve, you’d be hoping that the key was not found too quickly!!

Susan and I sat down to go through the mountain of options available to us.  We quickly decided on the label stock (the paper in layman terms!) that would best suit the design.  Next we had to decide on the finish.  Did we want to apply a high gloss finish to part of the label or emboss any of the elements?  Or we could do both!!  They could also apply a metallic foil to one of the elements to really make that particular element stand out.  Obviously each finish would have a financial cost but given the number of labels we required, the cost per label was miniscule.  We went through the vast array of examples which showcased each finish and decided that a high gloss finish on the colour element of our design would be very effective in making our labels stand out.

To be honest, I was amazed at what Susan could do with a simple label.  Susan, sensing my enthusiasm for the subject of label printing brought me through to their printing room to show me how the whole thing worked.  The production room was a series of machines linked together so that the label fed through from the back as a roll of paper right through each of the machines until the final finished product appeared out the last machine in the line.  Each machine could be programmed to apply a particular colour, be fitted with an embossing plate or high gloss finish with the final machine in the line cutting the label to the required size.  Seeing the whole thing in operation only fuelled my enthusiasm for the process further.  I will never look at a label again without appreciating the work them.  Instead I’ll be looking at the stock, the gloss finish or for any signs of embossing!!

I left Clonmel laden down with even more label samples to consider but with a complete understanding of the finish applied to each and how these finishes could enhance our own labels to really make them really pop on the shelf.  Now we just need to decide whether to emboss, use gloss or a winning combination of both.  Watch this space to see the final labels and hopefully appreciate the time and effort that went into the finish!!