Let’s face it: hard seltzer is here to stay. And why not? These boozy beverages are refreshing, versatile, and low-calorie, making them a staple in most coolers and fridges across the country, plus they’re a blessing to those who are gluten-free. Hard seltzers are becoming so popular that even mainstream beer brands are adding them to their offerings. Whether you currently own a brewery or are just starting in the beverage industry, including a line of hard seltzers in your business wouldn’t be a bad move. In this post, we’ll go over everything you’ll need to know about hard seltzer labels, as well as design tips and more.
Requirements for Hard Seltzer Labels
Hard seltzer is made in one of two ways: from a brewed malt base or a brewed sugar base. Depending on the production method, the requirements for hard seltzer labels differ. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) does regulate both products, so consulting them first is key.
The TTB has a complete and detailed guide on labeling malt-based seltzers, but we’ve broken it down to the basics below. Malt-based seltzers also require a Certificate of Label Approval (COLA) as well. Sugar-based hard seltzers are not considered malt beverages, but their guidelines must still follow TTB regulations as well as FDA regulations. Additionally, they can be labeled as gluten-free.
1. Brand or Business Name
The brand name should be displayed on the front panel of the label prominently and more conspicuously than any other description information on the label. The color should also contrast with the background so as to stand out. The minimum font size is around 5 pt, but the larger the better for the business or brand name.
2. Fanciful Name
Though not actually a requirement, most hard seltzers are differentiated by their flavors. Therefore, a fanciful name indicating flavor is quite helpful for potential customers looking for new and interesting flavors of hard seltzer.
3. Class or Type Designation
The class or type your malt beverage falls under, which would be ‘hard seltzer’ in this case, should also be displayed on the front of the container in at least 5 pt font.
4. Net Contents
The amount of hard seltzer included in the can must be displayed. If the contents are less than or more than an exact pint, simply denote the net contents in fluid ounces or fractions of a pint. If the contents are exactly a pint, your net contents can state as such.
5. Alcohol Content
Federal label requirements deem the inclusion of alcohol content on the label as optional, though certain states may either require or prohibit it. If you choose to or are required to include the alcohol content on your hard seltzer label, the amount must be expressed in percent by volume.
6. Government Warning
This inclusion is very straightforward. Required for all alcoholic beverages, the words “Government Warning” should be displayed in capital letters and bold type. The rest of the statement must follow in a continuous paragraph but does not need to be in bold type.
GOVERNMENT WARNING: (1) According to the Surgeon General, women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects. (2) Consumption of alcoholic beverages impairs your ability to drive a car or operate machinery, and may cause health problems.
7. Nutrition Facts Panel and Ingredients List
A nutrition facts panel only applies to sugar-based hard seltzers since they fall under the jurisdiction of the FDA. If your hard seltzer is made from sugar, you’ll need to include nutrition facts and an ingredient list. You can include this information on malt-based hard seltzer labels as well, though it is not mandatory. The nutrition facts and ingredients list should appear on a side panel to the right of the front panel.
8. Manufacturer Name and Address
Include the business name and address of the company that brewed and bottled your hard seltzer. For craft breweries, this usually means including the same business name you are marketing your hard seltzer under. If your hard seltzer is manufactured by a copacker, you’ll need to include their business name and address. This information should be displayed on the same panel as the nutrition facts panel, underneath the ingredients list.
Design Tips for Hard Seltzer Labels
TTB and FDA compliant hard seltzer labels don’t have to be bland. You can still create fun, eye-catching label designs while meeting legal requirements.
1. Bold Colors
If you visit your local craft brewery or wander the beer aisle of the nearest grocery store, you’ll see a wide array of brightly colored cans. Consuming hard seltzer is an enjoyable experience, so your labels should communicate the same energy. Don’t shy away from using pastels, neons, or even metallic colors on your hard seltzer labels.
2. Custom Artwork
Many brewers have started partnering with local artists to create stunning and unique works of art on their labels. Hard seltzer labels should get the same treatment. Establish a theme for your line of hard seltzers and commission custom illustrations that work within that theme, or request entirely unique artwork for each product.
3. Add Personality
In addition to the required information, you can also include information about your company that conveys your brand personality and history. Modern consumers want to connect to the brands they support on a regular basis; including a few blurbs and quips about your business will help consumers feel closer to your brand.
Common Sizes for Hard Seltzer Labels
Hard seltzer is usually packaged in aluminum cans, the most common sizes being 12 ounces and 16 ounces. Because the shape and size of seltzer cans vary, you’ll likely need different label sizes for each. Having a label that fits your container is very important as it presents a cohesive, well-thought-out packaging strategy. We’ve compiled a list of common hard seltzer label sizes for 12 ounce and 16 ounce cans to make this step easy! Click the size you’re interested in to download the template.
Pro tip! If you offer multiple sizes of different products, such as 16 oz lagers and 12 oz seltzers, try choosing the same label size for both products. You’ll be able to group them together in the same label order and net several hundred dollars in savings.
12 ounce slim can label sizes
16 ounce can label sizes
Best Materials for Hard Seltzer Labels
When choosing a material for your hard seltzer labels, there are three things to consider. First, you’ll want to choose a waterproof material so the label does not wrinkle or peel off when in a fridge or cooler. Second, you’ll want the label material to be removed cleanly when it comes time for your customers to recycle the can. Third, choose a material that best suits your design. With these considerations in mind, we’ve got some materials that will work perfectly for hard seltzer labels.
- White Plastic (BOPP) is an opaque white label material that is far and wide the most popular choice in the beverage industry. White Plastic is highly economical, easy to apply by hand or by machine, is waterproof, and is easily removed once the cans need to be recycled.
- Metallic Plastic takes all the features of White Plastic and adds the ability to make your hard seltzer labels metallic. Keep it simple with a silver or gold foil look, or elevate your label design by creating a metallic red, blue, green, or any other color you can think of.
- Clear Plastic is the perfect material for the minimalist and the ambitious creative. Clear materials can offer the illusion of a unique die-cut without the high price point.
Cheers to Perfect Hard Seltzer Labels
Creating hard seltzer labels that are well designed and made of high-quality materials can make a big impact on the success of your product. Adding hard seltzers to your product offerings will be a strong and successful addition to your business.
Our team serves beverage brands of all types, helping them to create packaging labels that make them stand out on the shelf. We’re ready to answer your questions about product labels and help you choose the right type of label for your hard seltzer.
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