13 Aug

Leveraging labelling: New federal regulations offer brewers opportunity

It looks like the Canadian beer industry is the latest to be tapped for new federal regulations. Designed to bring market standards up-to-date and fuel innovation in an already flourishing sector, the new rules would also require labelling changes of Canadian brewers. The proposal is leaving some with a sour taste in their mouths, but at Lorpon Labels we see it differently. The perfect product deserves the perfect packaging and with our digital printing process, we can help you make any change a change for the better.

An exploding industry

Beer is about as Canadian as maple syrup and moose (not at the same time, please) but the Canuck love for a pint—particular of the craft variety—has bloomed over the past three decades. In 1990, there were 62 Canadian breweries; today, there are more than 800, most located in Ontario and Quebec, producing over 7,000 brands. Yet despite the clear disruption in the sector, the Canadian Beer Standard has not been substantially overhauled in 30 years.

Changes are brewing

Most of the proposed updates involve expanding the definition of beer to include newer styles and types of brew. No longer would the drink need to fall strictly within traditional types like ale, stout, or porter, and the regulations would allow for the use of fruits, herbs, or spices in the production. Think Flying Monkeys’ Paranormal Imperial Pumpkin Ale or Beau’s lavender, rosemary, and thyme-infused St. Luke’s Verse.

This all sounds great, but one proposed change is giving brewers pause. In an effort to best serve Canadian drinkers with food allergies or sensitivities, the exemption for beer from the mandatory labelling of food allergens, sulphites, and gluten would be repealed. Indeed, brewers would be required to list every ingredient in their product, and the thought of reworking the packaging for every product line is making some uneasy.

A modernization opportunity

In 2014 we invested in an HP Indigo WS6800 Digital Press. We noticed that we were getting orders for smaller runs with quicker lead times, and this machine had the absolute highest quality. Although we still print flexographically for large volumes, by moving into the world of digital we’ve been able to offer our clients a superb solution for those smaller jobs, and for jobs where flexibility is required. With digital, a change to the design can be done on-the-fly, with a much tighter turn-around time.

All of this is to say that it’s true—new label requirements will mean changes. But we have the technology! And even better, by using pressure sensitive (PS) labels, we can help you take the opportunity to strengthen your brand.

Pressure sensitive labels can be run in batches as small as 1,000 minimum units—ideal for customization, small batches, or special events designs. Why not take advantage of the upcoming changes to experiment with your packaging?

Changes to Canada’s Beer Standard hold a lot of promise for an already burgeoning homegrown industry. We’ll help you turn that into a packaging opportunity.