Integrity Print will be printing labels for a new beer brewed to mark the centenary of the Midsomer Norton print business. The beer will be brewed by one of the 25 or so breweries that are customers of its short run label printing service marketed through the Ready Willing and Label website set up to attract these types of customers.
The aim is to produce micro runs to mid volumes of labels for the rapidly expanding micro brewery movement, reckoned to amount to a brewery opening every couple of days. “These are people with little or no experience of print, so rather than expecting that customer will know how to design a label, we want to help with design and production,” says Integrity sales & marketing director Andrew Law.
It is using web to print technology to reduce internal touch points and to automate the process from approval of a design to print on its Xeikon label press. It has a GMC Inspire solution for its transactional print and this is being used to manage the flow of files for the short run label service, he says.
“It’s about developing a light touch approach to minimise the to and fro between account handler and customer. There is a consultative approach to helping clients to get the best from their labels and designs, this is not an e-commerce service. We have two specialist label designers and access to third-party designers,” he says.
The business has so far grown by word of mouth recommendation around the Somerset area for both breweries and cider makers. It provides the labels for Thatchers’ bottles having grown as that business has expanded from a farm based operation 20 miles from the print factory to the nationwide operation it has become. “We would love to find another Thatchers,” says Law.
Or rather he would like another nascent national name to find the Ready Willing and Label website and begin a relationship through the portal. “We don’t have a sales team that is out knocking on doors, which is why we felt this website was the best route to market. There are reckoned to be 2,500 breweries currently in the UK.”
Orders can be from 2,000 or fewer as the website explains through case studies. As the business expands, Integrity can move the print from the digital press to its UV flexo machines and cope with much higher volumes. “Or we can run a 1,000 labels divided into four designs for a beer that is on the brew and which will be bottled in a week,” he says, adding that the company can put the start up brewers in contact with bottling plants if necessary.
“For us this is a diversion from the high volume labels we generally print. We thought why not use the technology we have and let’s try to make ourselves accessible to these artisanal businesses. The Integrity brand means nothing in this market, so we have the website to appeal to these customers,” Law explains. As well as drinks businesses, the approach covers artisanal cheese and food producers. “It’s about helping them find a great label that fits their great product.”
For Integrity it is about growing volumes for its digital press and expanding this part of its business. Labels accounts for £6 million of sales a year, with digital amounting to £500,000. “We can double that,” he adds.