We Label The Winners
Two of our favorite customers were recently honored in their respective industries for the best product in the nation! In national food competitions and blind beer tasting, Great Notion and The Bitter Housewife both came out on top. We are proud to call these companies great customers, but also friends of Rose City Label. We label the winners!
Great Notion Ripe IPA
Great Notion has been very, very popular recently. They have won numerous national and international awards. Their small batch beer releases sell out quickly when shared on social media. This award is further proof of their success. Paste Magazine recently spent 17 days doing blind tasting on the best 324 IPAs in the country – 17 days of beer tasting! The results are summarized here, but the punchline is that out Great Notion was voted #1 out of all these beers! Among other things, the reviewers said:
it’s the beer that everyone can agree on. It’s the beer that everyone wants to drink more of. And in these 324, that was Great Notion’s Ripe, hands down. … Ripe is simply everything that you want in a NE-IPA. Loaded up with Citra, it presents a hugely tropical hop nose, with notes of mango, papaya, pineapple and more musky, exotic fruit notes that are difficult to put your finger on.
Way to go Great Notion – we are proud to have you as part of the Rose City Label family. Cheers!
The Bitter Housewife Cardamom Bitters
The next big winners were Genevieve and Dan Brazelton founders of Improper Goods – The Bitter Housewife. Their Cardamom Bitters not only won their individual category in the Specialty Foods Association national competition, they were actually picked as PRODUCT OF THE YEAR in all categories! Read the full story by clicking here. This is a huge accomplishment for a relatively small company that is competing with all types and sizes of business around the United States. Way to go!
Call Us Today
Do you want to be labelled by the company that labels big winners like this? We label winners and we want to label you, too. Call us today for a free consultation to see how we can help your product stand out in a crowded market.
Extra Mile Service – Whatever it takes!
When we determined that a critical shipment wasn’t going to make it for an important trade show, we reran the order and boarded a plane. We flew the labels (in suitcases) to the venue in Chicago so the customer could have them for the show. The customer loved the labels. The stickers were a big hit at the event. Whatever it takes, we are here to provide extra mile service. Here’s the full story:
At about 10pm Friday night, we figured out that this shipment would be delivered Monday, not Saturday as requested. We contacted UPS and tracked the packages, but with no luck. The packages were stuck in Louisville, KY and nobody would get to them in time.
Saturday at Noon
By noon saturday we had an emergency crew in the shop to re-run the job. While the job was running, we explored DHL, FedEx Freight, and continued to look for ways to retrieve the job from the UPS facility in KY. The customer was willing to drive from Chicago (297 miles) to pick up if this would be an option. Unfortunately, the only viable option was to buy an airline ticket and fill suitcases with labels. Saturday afternoon we were out buying suitcases to make this happen.
Saturday Night at PDX
The gate agent checked the overweight bags onto the United Airlines direct flight to Chicago. The staff was very cordial and helpful – it isn’t very often that a person only checks their bags one way! The passenger was just there to escort the bags, but it was faster and less expensive to have a human getting a free ride to Chicago.
Sunday 5am in Chicago
After a nice relaxing night on the airplane, I was in Chicago by 5am and ready to hand off the bags to my customer contact. Labels aren’t always sexy or exciting, but this handoff seemed like a monumental achievement to keep the free world safe. Very exciting to see the labels in the proper hands.
Later, we got notice from the trade show that the labels were a big hit. Finally, by the end of the day the trade show staff gave away the entire 200 lbs. (4 suitcases) of hand delivered labels. Success!
Sunday 10am – back in Portland
About 95 minutes after the big handoff, I was back through security and eating breakfast at the airport. Sadly, I didn’t see any of Chicago on this trip! The flight back was easy, and with the time change, I was back before lunch time. In less than 12 hours I covered 3,500 miles and made a huge impact on an important customer.
Extra Mile Service – Anything for Labels!
This is, admittedly, the craziest delivery story that I can recall in the last 24 years, but it’s really just an extension of our daily way of doing business. Customers come to us with crazy problems all the time and we go out of our way to fix them. Extra mile service – that’s what we are all about. Call us today!
Rose City Label Customers Win Big!
We are proud to be partners with some of the best brewers in Oregon and beyond. Making great beer is the most fundamental thing that will help these people grow their business, and they really are making great beer. From all different styles and different sized breweries, the Oregon brewers took home many, many awards this year.
World Beer Cup – National Competition
This event isn’t for shy people – the competition is fierce and nobody likes to lose. But winners like these don’t back down – they want to know how good they really are, so they enter competition to find out.
Seventeen Oregon Breweries won awards this year – click here to see the Oregon List
More than half of these are current and former Rose City Label customers – way to go!
The full list of all award winners can be found on the World Beer cup website by clicking here.
Great Beer Needs Great Packaging
Having great beer is the foundation, but in order to really build your brand, you need great packaging. Labels matter too! Click here to learn more about Beer Label Design. We are proud to help these great brewers tell their authentic brand story. Great beer is the key, but to win over the long term, you need the total package – great beer, fun on-premise experience, and excellent packaging in the bottle shop. We can help make sure the beer in the bottle or can looks as good as it tastes.
Customers have choices – we are very thankful for all the brewers that choose us for their label needs. Beer remains a very solid part of our business, but we would love to talk to new breweries too. Call us today if you want to kick up the quality on your beer labels. Cheers!
Always Do Your Best for Customers
Serving customers is a privilege that must be earned daily. This privilege is granted on the condition that you, the service provider, will always do your best. Always. In most cases, there are no guarantees or long term commitments in business – you have to earn your business every day by doing your best.
Take Adversity With Grace – See the Silver Lining
We recently had a very significant customer come to us looking for massive cost reductions. The organization we serve is part of a larger national company and there was huge pressure from above to cut costs. The entire organization put all their label and packaging business out to open bid – everything was on the line. Relationships, service, history, special arrangements – none of this had a cell in the spreadsheet. It is all about the bottom line dollar. We were initially concerned and even a bit offended, but as we went through the process, we realized that we had to play ball or be left behind. Digging in our heels and relying on charisma wasn’t going to retain this business. We had to do our best for the customer – again.
Rise to the Occasion
After some hand wringing, we realized that this is an opportunity to become a better, more competitive supplier – for this customer and for all our customers. The work we do and the efficiency we realize by this exercise will benefit all of our current and future customers. We will force ourselves to get better – fast! A small crisis motivates people.
Spread the Work
We will run the press faster, with less waste, and fewer errors. We will hold each other accountable to be on our ‘A’ game every time we print for this customer. But we also pushed some of the pain down to our suppliers – they have to help us find these cost savings. Guess what – they have risen to the occasion too. With creative problem solving, more aggressive price, and reviewing options we hadn’t considered before, our suppliers provided most of the savings we were looking for. Together, we worked hard to always do our best for the customer.
Always Move Forward
The final bid award isn’t out yet. We don’t actually know if our bids will allow us to retain the business, but we do know that our business will survive and thrive regardless of the outcome. Each day we work hard to serve the customer. We always want to win, but sometimes you learn and grow the most from the ones you don’t win. Time will tell – we will be ready and we will move forward.
Graphic Design Wizards
The people that come up with the eye catching label designs we print truly are wizards – graphic design wizards. They make magic happen by combining color, shape and texture to tell your authentic brand story. Creativity isn’t easy to quantify, but we all generally know it when we see it. Education and training will improve skill, but a certain amount is just baked into the DNA of the talented designers we work with daily.
Creativity is Everywhere
Small details matter! Being a graphic design wizard is a mind set and a calling – it isn’t a part time thing for the truly talented people we work with. Creative thought is infused into their label design, their work spaces, their fashion, and every aspect of their lives. When they are in, they really are ‘All In’.
Talk, Walk, Stalk
The image above is a screenshot from the email signature of one of our talented designers. Yes, the traditional email signature has all the required elements – like this one – but it is presented in a fun, creative way.
- If you want to TALK – there is the phone number
- If you want to WALK (into the office) – here is the physical address
- If you want to STALK (online – in a non-creepy way) – here is the web address
Nothing is really revolutionary about an email signature or providing contact information – but HOW you provide it is an opportunity to show your creativity. Every email I get from this group makes me smile because of this creative email signature.
Work with Talented Partners
Our job as printers is much easier when we have talented designer partners. Designing to push the boundaries of equipment capability is fine, but respecting the process and maximizing impact within the physical limitations of the media are also important. For most of our business customers, they need to build a team beyond a graphic designer.
Build Your Team
Growing product companies that we work with need a very talented team. Getting your team in place before crunch time is critical – surround yourself with stars! Top talent is expensive, but if you are creative you will be able to have a solid team in place to help your business grow. Graphic design and branding, legal, financial, insurance, accounting, IT – successful business is built by building a talented team. These vendor partners are the platform to launch your business to the next level.
We are blessed to have excellent partners. Our team is solid and most vendor partners have been with us for years. If you need advice or introductions to take your business to the next level, please contact us. Ultimately, our job is to help your business grow and prosper. Mostly, we do that through delivering top quality printing at a fair price. Beyond label printing, we are happy to share our resources and experiences to help you. Call us today!
Cascade Brewing has engaged with Murmur Creative to update their brand in 2017. A full label redesign was part of that process and now the branding quality matches the amazing beers. This is a case study on how to elevate your brand.
Rose City Label has a very long history with Art Larrance – one of the true Oregon craft beer pioneers. Portland Brewing was founded in 1986 by Art and his high school friend and fellow craft beer legend, Fred Bowman. Read the full story here. Way back in the days of Portland Brewing, we were lucky enough to supply sheetfed, glue applied labels for many of their early beers. We still have a bottle of this Thunderhead Cream Stout in our office; these were truly the beginnings of craft beer in Oregon.
Rebirth as Cascade Brewing
By 1998, Art and his trusted friend Ron Gansberg were pioneering again, starting a small brewery in the basement of the Racoon Lodge on SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway. Their reputation grew for top quality barrel aged sour beers, and again Rose City Label was lucky enough to print labels for the beers they bottled.
Engaging with Murmur Creative
Art’s son Tim Larrance returned to the family business after a successful career with national and international beverage brands. As VP of Sales and Marketing, part of his job was to bring the packaging and branding up the level of the beers. They needed to elevate their brand to keep up with the growing Cascade reputation. This was not an easy process – it is always a balancing act to keep the link to the heritage while moving forward to attract new customers. Luckily, Cascade engaged with Andrew Bolton and the talented team at Murmur Creative. The Murmur team listened and helped Cascade articulate their message and bring the updated brand to life. Thankfully, they were also very good to work with on the printing side. They knew the process and its limitations and maximized every aspect of the label design.
Three Tiers – separate but aligned
Among the many good things Murmur did with the new designs, they built an integrated system to include different beer styles and price points into one cohesive family. The labels are distinct (see below) but with the Cascade branding front and center, it is easy to see that they are all part of one product group.
Maximizing the Medium – Size, Paper, Foil Stamping
The team at Murmur did the research to really understand our printing process and capabilities. This allowed Cascade to get the most impactful label at the most affordable price. The label size was optimized to run most efficiently on our printing press while still providing the desired look on the bottle. The three tiers were separated to ensure the top level products have the special embellishments to set them apart:
- Tier 1 – High Quality Paper, Full Color Printing
- Tier 2 – Premium Paper, Full Color Printing
- Tier 3 – Premium Paper, Full Color Printing, Foil Stamping
By considering the available features early in the design process, Murmur was able to execute Cascade’s vision with no surprises on press. This preparation is what makes Murmur (and Cascade) such a good partner for Rose City Label.
Thank You Cascade and Murmur!
We are privileged to work with many great brands, but few have the total package – great products, great design, and wonderful people making it happen every day. If your product could benefit from a branding facelift in 2018, please call us today. Together with partners like Murmur, we can help you elevate your brand and get your product to pop off the shelf.