Saturday, April 7, 2012

Label your wares!

I am a homebrewer! I make beer and wine and mead. I put a ton of time and effort into making the best products that I can. Recipe development, equipment and personal skills all come into play and contribute to the final product.

Many of you can relate to these statements. I figure about half of you are homebrewers of one kind or another. And for those of you that don’t actually make beer and wine, there is a portion of you that make liqueurs from vodka or whatever and plenty of you that make simple syrup of many varieties.

The one thing we all have in common is the mass of bottles with no labels on them.

Another thing that you may be able to relate to is the mountain of bottles that eventually accumulate. First, they are full, and you need to know what is in them, then they are empty and you need to be able to get that damn label off without spending an hour doing it!

Today, I’m going to show you how I label a bottle. It’s fast, cost effective, and gives you a great looking product that isn’t going to plague you in the future. That is to say, the labels stick fast, but are easily removed when it’s time for the next batch!

I wish I could take credit as the brainchild behind this idea, but it's another great tip that I picked up a few years ago, at

I use this method exclusively, and the only downside is that you can’t dunk your bottles in a cooler full of ice and expect to have any labels left when you pull them out.

The first thing I do is create a label on the computer. I use Illustrator most of the time, but before I owned a publishing company, I used Microsoft word, Print shop or whatever other  program I could find.

I print the labels on regular typing paper with a regular inkjet printer, and I cut them out with regular old scissors!

Then I stick them on the bottles with regular old milk!

That’s right, MILK. After all, it does a body good!

It’s simple as it gets.

You just pour some milk on a plate, dredge the label and stick it to the bottle.

No need for glue sticks, and honestly, no need for paintbrushes and the countless other things people use to complicate the process.

These labels look good, even with my extremely limited design skills and imagination. There is just something about a batch of bottles with fresh labels that makes my heart melt. It completes the process of homebrewing, and gives me the ultimate feeling of satisfaction and pride in my products.

Carefully slide the label across the surface of the milk.

Shake off the excess and apply to the bottle. Be careful, the edges curl a bit!

Using whatever dry fingers you have, smooth the edges.

Even when it's not perfect, the finished product always brings a smile to my face!
I don’t label everything I make, in fact lots just get marked up with a sharpie. But the ones that make the label, are the ones I like best!

When you’re finished, let the bottles dry for an hour or so, then box them up, stick them on the rack in the cellar, or on the shelf in the fridge!

If you get the chance to share them with someone, you can hand them a bottle that, even with the least bit of care and effort, will look like a million bucks!

If you happen to be part of the... Say... 25% of my readers that don’t brew or mix, now is the time to get to it!

If you have questions about getting started, I’m here for you! There is nothing to fear, and nothing I can’t talk you through for your first batch! (You’ll probably be a better brewer than me after your second or third.... Then you’ll need more help!)

Hope I’ve either helped or inspired you!


1 comment:

Dave Butler said...

I think that's awesome that you go to all that trouble of making up a nice label for your homebrew. It's a nice professional touch. If I ever get to brewing up a lot of batches a year then I'll be sure to start doing that.

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