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Achieving Success in the Craft Market with Diverse Packaging Options


In the bustling world of craft beer and spirits, standing out is key, and innovative packaging is becoming the secret to success for many producers. This insight comes from the PMMI Business Intelligence report titled “2024 Craft Beer and Spirits: Success Through Packaging.” In a competitive market, craft brands are diversifying their packaging tactics to grab attention and cultivate a devoted fan base.


The saturation and growth of the craft market are prompting these brands to carve out distinct and memorable identities. This strategy aims to foster a base of loyal, returning customers, rather than merely adapting to the latest trends in taste and style. For craft brands, the focus is on embracing their unique character and strengths, aligning them with their branding objectives.


Packaging is turning out to be a crucial element for these producers in showcasing their identity. By emphasizing premium and eco-friendly packaging options, they can differentiate their products on store shelves, directly addressing consumer preferences. Offering an array of packaging shapes and sizes also plays into the consumer demand for convenience and lifestyle compatibility.


Exploring Diversity in the Craft Beverage Landscape


The craft market is a treasure trove of diversity, offering an abundance of choices for enthusiasts. Today, craft aficionados are spoiled for choice, with a wide range of options at their fingertips.


This abundance has led to consumers developing a taste for variety, not just in the products themselves but also in how they are packaged. Whether it's a single can or a curated collection of 12, shoppers expect to find their preferred beverages in the exact packaging they desire.


For craft producers, incorporating a range of packaging options, from different sizes to various formats, is essential in establishing a strong brand presence.


To align with consumer expectations and solidify their brand, craft producers are advised to concentrate on three key strategies: offering a variety of primary packaging sizes, creating multipacks, and launching specialty products. These tactics are fundamental in responding to consumer preferences and enhancing brand visibility.


Diverse Primary Packaging Size Options


The demand for convenience and adaptability in consumers' active lives has remained strong, even beyond the COVID era, and this trend extends into the realm of craft beer and spirits.


Craft brands recognize that their customers are seeking a broader selection of sizes and packaging types to integrate their products more easily into everyday activities. To meet these needs, it's crucial for craft producers to think about offering a diverse range of primary packaging options, tailored to each of their products.


On the production side, this shift demands machinery that can accommodate a variety of packaging formats. While it's not feasible to expect a machine designed for bottling to switch to canning operations seamlessly, manufacturers and suppliers are encouraged to explore the limits of their equipment's flexibility within a given format.


Multipacks and variety packs


Variety and mixed multipacks have stood out as favorite choices among craft consumers for the past ten years, reflecting the industry's evolution.


These options are celebrated for offering new experiences and a wide array of choices, aligning perfectly with consumer desires. However, integrating these formats into production can be quite complex for craft producers, often leading to logistical challenges.


To support craft brands in navigating these waters, equipment manufacturers and suppliers can leverage their extensive experience with multipack formats. They're in a prime position to provide valuable advice to those considering the introduction of mixed-pack options.


It's crucial for these manufacturers and suppliers to maintain transparency throughout the advisory process, particularly if they believe adopting multipack or variety pack strategies might not be the best route for a producer. Not every craft brand has the capacity or the setup to efficiently implement such formats, and recognizing this limitation early on can save time and resources.


Specialty or one-off releases


Incorporating specialty and limited-edition releases into their portfolios has become a hallmark for craft brands. These unique offerings, ranging from rare batches and seasonal specials to collaborative projects and themed series, play a key role in engaging customers and enhancing brand identity.


However, these special releases bring their own set of manufacturing challenges. They often require distinct labeling, may vary in package size or shape, and sometimes include additional elements like ornamental secondary packaging, complicating the production process.


To minimize the impact of these challenges, particularly the potential for increased downtime during specialty production runs, equipment manufacturers and suppliers can offer significant support. By enhancing the automation capabilities of their machines or guiding craft producers on modifying or augmenting their equipment for better automation, they can help streamline these complex production demands.




Why is sustainability important in craft packaging?


Sustainable packaging resonates with consumer values, making it a crucial aspect of packaging that can attract environmentally conscious customers and differentiate products on the shelf.


What challenges do craft producers face with multipacks and specialty releases?


Craft producers may encounter operational challenges, such as adapting production lines for multipacks or special releases, which require careful planning and potentially, investment in adaptable equipment.


How can craft producers navigate the complexity of packaging variety?


By leveraging insights from industry reports and consulting with OEMs and suppliers, craft producers can find ways to efficiently incorporate packaging variety into their offerings, balancing consumer desires with operational feasibility.

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