The Art and Science of Beverage and Beer Label Materials

In today’s thriving craft beverage scene, the label on your drink is more than just a mark of identification; it’s a canvas for storytelling and can be a window into the unique world of the brewery, distillery, or winery. Amongst a sea of competitors on store shelves, these labels are the first impression it makes, and they have to work hard to grab your attention. But beyond design, the choice of beverage and beer label materials can make or break the label’s impact. Let’s dive into the world of beverage label substrates, exploring the advantages and disadvantages of each material choice.

Paper Beverage Labels

Paper labels are a versatile and cost-effective choice for beverage packaging. An uncoated paper label can offer a classic and elegant aesthetic – prefect for wine bottles or vintage style beer labels. Coated options than can be laminated in a matte or glossy finish, giving the appearance of a polyester substrate for a fraction of the price. If you do go to paper route, it’s important to select the proper paper material – one specifically intended for beverage/food products. Standard paper labels not intended for beverage application can be more prone to tearing and are less resistant to liquid exposure.

Specialty Paper Beverage Labels

Metallic paper labels add a touch of glamour to beverage packaging. They can be over-printed on with white ink, creating a blockout effect leaving the illusion of a spot metallic finish. Typically made from materials like foil or metallized paper, they catch the eye and convey a premium feel.


Textured paper labels add a tactile dimension to the label, creating a sensory experience for consumers. Labels with embossing or specialty coatings can enhance the branding and make the product stand out on the shelf. These labels are often used for craft beverages, adding a unique touch to artisanal creations.

Foil stamping is used on labels to create a decorative metallic foil effect. This can be used to enhance the label’s visual appeal, adding a touch of luxury, and makes specific design elements or text stand out. It is often used for high-end or premium product packaging to create an eye-catching and elegant appearance.

Film Beverage Labels

Film labels, often made of polypropylene (BOPP) or polyester (Poly), are known for their durability and moisture resistance. These labels are a popular choice for beer, cider, hard seltzers, and functional beverages. They maintain their integrity even when exposed to cold temperatures and moisture, making them an ideal choice for products that require refrigeration or encounter condensation.

Poly or BOPP: What’s the Difference?

Polyester/Poly (PET) labels

  1. Durability: PET labels are known for their high durability. They are resistant to moisture, making them suitable for products that may come into contact with condensation or need to be stored in refrigerated conditions.
  2. Clarity and Gloss: PET labels offer excellent clarity and gloss, which can make the label design and product information stand out effectively. This is particularly important for beverages that want to showcase their branding.
  3. Tear Resistance: PET labels are tear-resistant, which means they maintain their integrity even when exposed to rough handling during transportation and storage.
  4. Recyclability: PET is a recyclable material, and many consumers and companies value its eco-friendliness.

BOPP (Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene) labels

  1. Cost-Effective: BOPP labels are often more cost-effective compared to PET labels, making them a suitable choice for budget-conscious projects.
  2. Clarity: BOPP labels offer good clarity and are capable of producing vibrant colors, making them a great choice for labels with intricate designs.
  3. Versatility: BOPP labels can be used for a variety of beverages, including water bottles, soft drinks, and craft beers.
  4. Resistance to Oil and Chemicals: BOPP labels have good resistance to oil and chemicals, which can be important for certain beverage products.

Holographic / Rainbow Foil and Metallic Finish Film Labels

Film labels such as BOPP and polyester can achieve the same effect we discussed with the metallic paper labels.

Holographic Rainbow Foil Beer Label. Image Source:

Heat-Shrink Labels

Heat-shrink labels, typically made from PVC or PETG, provide 360-degree coverage on bottles. They are an excellent choice for products that require tamper-evident seals, like energy drinks, dairy products, and alcoholic beverages. The ability to conform to the bottle’s shape and provide a full canvas for branding makes them a popular choice.

Sustainable Labels

As environmental consciousness grows, so does the demand for sustainable label materials. These labels are typically made from recycled paper or other eco-friendly materials. They cater to the eco-conscious consumer and reflect a brand’s commitment to sustainability. Sustainable labels are increasingly used in organic and health-oriented beverage products.


Selecting the right beverage label material is a pivotal decision for any brand. It impacts the product’s aesthetics, functionality, and sustainability. Each type of label material brings its unique attributes to the table, and the choice depends on the brand’s identity, the product’s requirements, and its target audience. As the beverage industry continues to evolve, understanding these label materials can help brands make informed decisions and craft labels that leave a lasting impression on consumers.

Beverage Label Gallery


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