The Perfect Fit: Driven by the craft beer market, shrink sleeves are all the rage when it comes to small runs and 360-degree graphics.

January 15, 2019 - Antonia Aurelio, Spirited Magazine

With so many small producers in the wine, beer, spirits, and cider markets, standing out from the crowd is top of mind. One way to do so is with shrink sleeve technology, which offers virtually unlimited creativity regarding graphics, look and feel. The biggest market for this has been craft beer, but other types of producers are discovering and employing it due to its suitability for small runs. Easiest for canned beverages, shrink sleeves are also suitable for glass bottles of any shape and size.

What is a shrink sleeve?

Shrink sleeves are a type of label that are printed onto flat film, cut to size, then placed into a heat tunnel that shrinks them onto containers. They offer 360-degree, high-resolution graphic capabilities as well as unlimited color combinations and texture styles including foils, matte or spot varnish and beyond. Within the alcohol beverage industry, they’re applied to empty cans or bottles, as heat would adversely affect the product in most cases. They’re especially attractive to those producing seasonal offerings or specialty, small-run items, as order minimums are much lower due to digital technology.

Creating a shrink sleeve label

The first step toward a successful shrink sleeve product is selecting a printer who understands its end use (container shape, type, application, contents) and who can guide you through graphic preparation to create a design best suited for your product. “[Sleeves] offer a versatile packaging option, as they can fit almost any container shape,” says Kristen Waite, marketing director for Hamilton, Ohio-based Innovative Labeling Solutions (ILS). “They’re common for craft breweries, but they’re also growing in popularity for wineries, distilleries, and household product markets."

Read the full article at Spirited Magazine. 

Digitally Printed Shrink Sleeves by ILS