Those who bottle their home-brewed beer may also want to embellish it with labels. But before you can let your creativity run free, you have to familiarize yourself with the specifications for a beer label. Because some things have to be written on it, others not. In the following, we would like to give you an overview of what needs to be considered.
Once the mandatory part has been completed, you can start designing the labels. And although it depends here naturally, as with beer brewing also, on the personal taste, there are nevertheless a few technical tips for a good design.
By the way: the use of these tips is also allowed for beers, which were not brewed with the Braumeister. We won't tell anyone either, these people are punished enough anyway ...
What must it say on my label? In the following we have compiled a simplified list, which is intended primarily as an orientation and not as a step-by-step guide. And even if we try to give you the best possible assistance, we cannot guarantee legal certainty.
The following information is without guarantee, the legal requirements may vary from country to country. These recommendations refer to german laws and regulations.
- Sales description
For example, the sales description can simply be »beer« or you can use the variety description such as Pils, Export, Dunkel, Hell, Lager, Märzen, Bock, Alt, Kölsch, Weizenbier (Weiße, Weizen), Weizenbock, non-alcoholic beer.
- Nominal filling quantity
The net quantity must be indicated in litres, centilitres or millilitres and may be abbreviated accordingly (l, cl, ml). The information here is given in the metric system, for obvious reasons.
- Best-before date
The expiry date must be indicated as day, month and year and must be titled »best before«. The day can be omitted if the title is »best before end of ...«
- the year may be displayed with the two final digits (i.e. only 19 instead of 2019)
- the abbreviation of the month is allowed (e.g. Jan instead of January)
- the specification can also be made using a notched calendar bar
- Alcoholic strength
For beverages with more than 1.2 percent vol. alcohol, the alcohol content must be stated. The indication should not have more than one decimal place. The indication is followed by the symbol »vol«. The word »alcohol«, »alk.« or »alc.« may be added.
Up to an indication of 5.5 per cent, the deviation may be 0.5 per cent. The beer may have thus with indication of 5,5 per cent actually between 5 and 6 per cent.
If 5.5 percent is specified, the actual alcohol content may deviate by up to 1 percent! I.e. the beer may actually have 4.6 - 6.6 percent with a specification of 5.6 percent.
- Manufacturer information
This refers to the full postal address of the brewer or brewery.
Since water makes up the largest part of beer, it is to be mentioned in the first place. Instead of »water«, »brewing water« can also be written.
The type of malt must be specified. The exclusive umbrella term »malt« is no longer sufficient due to allergen labelling. It can be used if it is barley malt, but then the note »contains gluten« must be added.
The term »hops« is sufficient for natural hops, hop pellets and hop powder. Hop extract must be labelled as »hop aroma« or »hop extract«.
There is an obligation to indicate »yeast« only if the yeast is still present in the finished beer.
Carbon dioxide produced during the brewing process does not have to be labelled.
- Batch number
In Germany there is a decree for labelling any food product with a batch number. The so called Lot Identification Ordinance (LKV) prescribes the identification using a unique batch number and is used to trace sales units that have been manufactured under the same conditions. The marking of the sales unit can be omitted in the case of complete shelf life with day/month/year.
- Nutrition labelling
In Germany the nutrition labelling only applies to beverages with an alcohol content of less than 1.2 per cent.
You finally made it. You have gathered the necessary information and now you can start designing the labels.
You can see an example of what we think a successful label looks like here on the right in the slideshow. The labels were designed by the brewery Sudwerkstatt from Germany. Here are some tips for designing your labels.
A matter of taste
Everything is possible, nothing is necessary: the advice you find here is only intended as a rough guide. After all, the design of a label is of course always a matter of taste and it is important that you like it..
Less is more
Try not to use too many items on a label. This will quickly make the label unclear and you will not be able to quickly capture the essential or important information.
Leave a little space
Have the courage to leave something empty, for example white. Not every space must or should be used. In this way you give your design elements room to come alive.
Do not use too many different fonts
Ideally you should limit yourself to 1-2 different fonts. This ensures a calm and easy to read appearance. The fonts used should not be too similar so that they can be clearly distinguished from each other..
Even if you brew different beers, it should always be recognizable that this one beer is made by you. The bottles should all be similar and have a certain similarity.
Differentiation by color coding
Once you have defined a uniform design for your beers, you can distinguish between the different types of beer using color coding. For example, a Pils could be green, a Bock beer red and a Weizenbier yellow. Of course, you can not only add color distinctions, but also let your imagination run wild. Just make sure that not every bottle looks completely different.
Make important information big
Make important things bigger than information that isn't so important.