Labeling Innovations from Weber

Craft Beverage Soda Nostalgia

Posted by Chris Erbach

Dec 3, 2020 10:10:34 AM


Route 66 with soda-words

Back in 1926, when the automobile was starting to become commonplace in the United States, there was a problem. Cars like the Ford Model T and the Dodge Series 116 were going faster and farther, but the roads they traveled were mostly still unconnected dirt ribbons.

Two entrepreneurs, Cyrus Avery of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and John Woodruff of Springfield, Missouri, decided they wanted to try to connect the country with a paved road to enhance auto travel. They lobbied the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) for the creation of a route across the country near the center. What eventually evolved over the years was Route 66, which connected Chicago in the East to Santa Monica in the West.  The road grew by connecting smaller local roads into one unified paved US Highway. It opened up the country to commerce and travelers, especially helping the migration to the West during the Dust Bowl years of the 1930’s.

Neon Motel Route 66While many changes occurred over the century, including the endpoints, Route 66 has remained a special magical highway romanticizing auto travel in the 40’s-60’s.

The scenic by-ways, small town diners, museums and tourist attractions still bring travelers looking to relive those special times when traveling by car was more than just speeding down a crowded concrete multi-lane raceway. When you mention Route 66 to those that know, it conjures up images of large un-air-conditioned beasts full of families traveling down long stretches of two-lane asphalt.


Larry Tarantolo was lucky enough to grow up in Cicero, IL, right along where Route 66 (Ogden Rd.) passed by on its way to the endpoint at Lake Michigan. He was enamored with the legend of that highway, often traveling it with his family. He learned the history and lived the magic of the famed first road across America.

As a beverage marketing entrepreneur, Larry worked in the industry for years, creating multiple products and working with many experts in the bottling and distribution arena. One of the professionals that Larry befriended was Ron Filbert, a fourth-generation bottler of custom root beers and sodas. Filbert’s Old Time Root Beer is a well-kept Chicago secret that is a hard-to-find Southside treasure. Ron’s plant is located in a brick building on South Ashland in Chicago and it turns out custom hand-made sodas daily. The equipment is old but well-maintained, as you would expect from a seasoned craftsman.

Mother Road Sodas

About twenty-five years ago, Larry met Ron and they have developed a great working relationship over the years. And one of the special things tying Larry to Ron’s company is that Filberts and Route 66 were both opened in 1926.

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Topics: Label Applicators, craft beer can labels, pack leader PL-501, craft beverage labels, craft soda labeling, Mother Road Soda

Craft Beer Labeling on the PL-501

Posted by Chris Erbach

Apr 14, 2020 3:17:15 PM

The Craft Brewers Conference was cancelled for 2020, but we want to show you what Weber was planning to demonstrate in their booth. 

Every year we look forward to the craft brewing innovations, camaraderie and outstanding good time at the Craft Brewers Conference. Unfortunately, this year the show was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We hope everyone was able to stay home and practice smart social behaviors that allowed everyone to stay healthy in this difficult environment.

But we really wanted to show you some of the things we had planned for our new booth at the CBC show. So Neal Oechsle, our Labeling Products Manager, would like to show you a few things that can improve your craft beer labeling.


Weber can help you improve your craft beer brand by helping you get high-quality labels and economic prices. Craft beer labels need to look unique, setting you apart from the crowd in the busy beverage aisle. And the labels need to be durable, water-resistant and smudge-proof. Weber can print your labels on their digital presses, so small label runs are very economical. We can use a variety of label stocks for special effects and can add foil and embossing to really make your label come alive. 

And our e-commerce site,, is now offering a selection of custom digitally printed craft beer labels for your brand. We can take your artwork and print beautiful labels on a variety of label materials and protective coatings. These labels come in convenient rolls of 500 labels on 3" cores (also available in larger sizes - call for details).

Our custom-printed labels are perfect for limited runs and special times when you need between 500-5000 labels for your latest project. While Go-Label can supply much larger quantities if needed, that should be handled by one of our labeling experts available at 1.800.843.4242.

For more information on the PL-501, check out our web site.

Craft Beer starter kit

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Topics: craft beer labels, craft beer can labels, craft beer brewers, pack leader PL-501, craft beer labeling system

5 Questions To Better Pressure-Sensitive Bottle Labeling

Posted by Linda Roser

Jan 8, 2018 10:41:20 AM

With the success of craft beer, cold-pressed juices, kombuchas and other beverages these days, it's easy to see that a wide range of labeling systems are required to meet the demands of these very different manufacturers.  Bottles for these beverages include regular round 12 ounce and 16 ounce versions, square-sided bottles in glass or plastic, and sometimes irregular shapes like ovals and octagons. 

How can you be sure that you are buying the best labeling system for your application? 

Well, let's take the craft beer industry for example.  Companies range from start-ups of 2-3 people putting out a few barrels a week to huge corporations with multiple locations supplying thousand of barrels a week or more. Each has a specific need for their bottle labeling.  And whatever the solution, it has to work reliably and fit into their production seamlessly. 

So here are a few questions on what to ask when choosing a bottle labeling system for your beverage company. 

1) How many bottles do you need to label per hour?

Bottle-Matic-wine-bottle-2.jpgWrap-Around Label Applications come in many styles and sizes, all depending on the speed of the production line.  Are you labeling 100 bottles an hour or 100 per minute?  A small craft brewery or juice company might be doing a special seasonal run of a particular style and may only need to hand label 1,000 bottles for a specific run.  For this application, an automated hand-labeling system would work well.

These hand-fed labelers are economical and fairly simple to use.  A couple of different manufacturers make these, such as Dispensa-Matic's Bottle-Matic hand-fed labelers that can label 500-1,000 bottles per hour with average dexterity.

With this labeler, a bottle is placed on the machine and the operator presses a button to dispense the label.  The label is then applied as the bottle spins on the rollers - simple.  The labels are applied straight every time unlike hand-labeling.  And the systems are usually less than $1,500.

If your company uses a front and back label combination for your products, the dual-label version will apply equally-spaced front/back labels fast and straight.  Operators just need to be sure to order the labels with the labels alternating correctly.

PackLeader ELF-50.jpgFor medium-sized companies, these might need to add a system into their automated production line, such as the PackLeader Elf 50 bottle wrap system.  A self-contained platform, the machine can be placed in a production line where bottles are fed onto its conveyor.  As the bottle moves down the conveyor belt, the bottle is spun and the label is wrapped around the bottle before it is sent to the next production station.  

These systems are obviously more expensive but are fully adjustable for different size bottles.  They are also hands-free so once set-up, production can be completely automated.  Some systems are mobile and can be rolled into place when labeling is needed, then rolled away when space is required for another operation.  This is handy for start-ups where space is at a premium. 

For a large company looking for high-speed labeling, there are label applicators that can apply hundreds of labels per minute.  These are available from many different manufacturers including Weber, PackLeader, Tronics, Krones and more.  Usually these machines are custom designed to fit existing production lines and timed to precisely match the speed of the production line.  

A high-speed system is expensive but necessary if you are trying to ramp up your company's growing manufacturing and sales.  These labelers have optical sensors, PLCs and on-board electronics that allow all the machines in the production line to talk to each other and time their label application.  Sensors trigger label application and can even detect missing/faulty labels.  These are complex systems that require planning and are most times custom-designed to blend into a production line. 

2) Are you using a wrap-around label or front and back labels?

Tronics Series 3 Close 2.jpgNot everyone uses wrap-around labels.  Many manufacturers like to have nice-looking brand label on the front and an ingredients/nutrition label on the back. 

Many labeling systems can be set up to do front/back labeling, but check and be sure before buying a system.  You should be able to adjust the spacing so the labels are centered directly across the bottle from each other. 

Again, you also have to make sure that the front and back labels on the rolls are alternated so they will distribute correctly in the applicator. 

3) Are your bottles round, square or something more exotic?

Noble-Tangerine-Juice-Label.jpgSome new juice companies are using square bottles to set themselves apart from their competition on the store shelf.  Labeling these bottles often requires special systems with a label applicator on either side of the production line.  To date, there are solutions that allow labels to be applied to both sides of a bottle at the same time, or others that have high-speed versions that can also handle horizontally-tapered bottles for two-sided labeling. 

The size and shape of your label can also determine what type of system you need.  Large oversize beverage labels for five-gallon pails and drums need very specialized labeling equipment.  Most labeling systems can handle average size labels but always ask for a test.  Make sure you check that the label applicator is adjustable for height of the bottle in case you are running different sized products or change your label design in the future.

4) How much floor space do you have for your labeler?

PL-501-wrap-system.pngA big issue when shopping for a labeling system is how and where will it fit into the production parade.  Some companies have lots of room so they are just designing/building their new lines. But other companies are replacing old equipment or have limited space into which they have to insert the new label applicator.

After you determine what type of label applicator you need and how fast you need to go, the next step is to check the machine's footprint.  Does it have the ability to match your conveyor system's height and handle the product safely and accurately?  Can the sensors talk to your system to ensure accuracy and speed of the labeling?  Do you need to remove the labeler when it is not being used?

Other questions might include checking if your product would require being put at temperatures other than the room temperature.  Does it contain a heated or frozen product that might not accept regular label material?  There are specific label materials that work well with cold, wet or heated products.  Check with your label manufacturer to be sure.  It is always best to investigate these details and see which manufacturers can meet your requirements.

5) What is your budget? 

And finally, how much do you have budgeted for your beverage labeling project?  This is always a tough but necessary question.  You do not want your production line to suffer poor performance or breakdown due to a bargain brand not performing.  Do your homework here and try to match your requirements and future growth to the best product for your application.  Look at the number of hours that this label applicator will be working over the next few years and you can see what the likely ROI (return on investment) will be.  Most times a well-built labeling system will last 10-20 years with regular maintenance and a little tender loving care. 

Be sure to look at the manufacturer's track record for reliability and service. See if the system is modular and can grow along with your business.  Read up on product reviews and talk to others in your industry to see who can deliver a label applicator that will last. Annual trade shows are specifically designed for customers to physically witness packaging equipment working live.  They are a perfect place to shop for a system and get all your questions answered by sales engineers and marketing staff who know the equipment best. 


 Bottle Labeling Systems from Weber








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Topics: bottle labeling, labels for bottles, wrap-around bottle labelers, bottle labeling systems, pack leader PL-501, Pack Leader ELF-50

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