Business Excellence!

Business Excellence!

Building and sustaining a thriving business for 92 years is no accident. It takes deliberate effort and intention. Business excellence and systems go hand in hand. Attention to detail is the key, both in the actual production of your labels, and in how we run our business. Here are some things we do very well – all to serve our customers better.

Financial Focus

Each month, we have a complete financial review with an outside CPA. This is considered overkill by some for a business our size, and it is an added expense, but we want certainty about our direction and progress. Having an outside voice to review the financial progress each month is comforting. Our accountants are excellent – check out their website here. What we do for customers is hard, and we always want to know we are going the right direction.

Detailed Monthly Inventory

Each month, we count and measure all 550+ rolls of label stock. With a barcode label on each roll and a unique ID, it is easier than ever to have an almost real-time look at the stock we have on hand. Our vendors are very good and they generally delivery quickly, but having the right inventory buffer is critical to help us respond to customer demand.

Business Excellence and Systems

None of this is very helpful if it is so far after the fact that we can’t remember anything that happened. Today (3rd of the month) we had this full financial review before noon. This is a massive advantage. Being in the moment and having quick feedback helps us keep a finger on the pulse of the business.

Customer Focus

Amazing beer labels require attention to detail

All of this work and attention to detail is designed to delight the customer. Ultimately we want our customer’s customer to be delighted and buy their beer, wine, food product – we want to be an extension of our direct customer’s marketing and branding efforts. We want our labels (their labels!) to stand out on the shelf and help them grow their business. We can only do that effectively if our business is running well. There is more to running a label business than just putting ink on paper. These systems are a big part of that.

Call Us Today – We Can Help

If you want to deal with a family owned, eco-friendly label company in Portland, please call us. We have a thriving business that is growing and profitable. If you produce a high quality product in a bag, box, or bottle, it is very likely that we could help you upgrade your branding with outstanding labels. Our systems and business excellence allow us to help more people each day. Call us!

Labels Matter – Especially with Wine Labels

Labels Matter – Especially with Wine Labels

Powerful wine labels connect. The wine is the ultimate product – and good wine will bring them back. The first sale relies on the label. Labels matter more than ever in the crowded retail market. You only have a brief moment to make a connection, and your label is the primary vehicle to do that.

The recent article by Cyrus Azari – ‘The Power of a Well Crafted Label‘ talks about this in detail. He makes several great points, including this:

You better have a sleek and sexy label design that is visually appealing! Here’s the kicker, it has to be appealing towards who you want to buy that product.

Cyrus Azari, Merchant 23 blog

The key point here is that the label has to be appealing to your target audience. If you don’t know who you are selling to, then any label will work. But if you do (and you better in this competitive category) then you need a label tailored EXACTLY to the consumer you are trying to reach.

  • Young professionals trying to make a good impression
  • Experienced wine lovers that belong to 3 wine clubs
  • Men/Women/African Americans
  • Converts from beer or spirits
  • Chefs that want a wine to compliment a meal

All of these are valid and worthy segments to target, and all of them could potentially need a different label. Defining your ideal customer first is the best way to start your label design – if you can bring this to your graphic designer, it will make the process much more productive.

There really is no perfect label for your wine – there is only the perfect label that connects with the consumer you are targeting. A label is a visual representation of your brand – it is the promise to the consumer about how they will feel while enjoying your product. The wine has to fulfil the promise made by the label, but until you know the actual promise you are making, it is very hard to hit the target.

Think about your target audience and your brand promise – once those are well defined, the label will design itself. In the label design process, we would be happy to collaborate with your designer to discuss paper options, foil and embossing, and special die cut shapes to bring your vision to life.

Call us today. We can help!

Big Winners! – Congrats Great Notion and Bitter Housewife!

Big Winners! – Congrats Great Notion and Bitter Housewife!

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!

we label winners rose city label

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.






Amazing Redesign to Elevate Your Brand – Cascade Brewing

Amazing Redesign to Elevate Your Brand – Cascade Brewing


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

Cascade Brewing Family of Beers

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.

Amazing Redesign Elevate Brand - 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.


How Well Do You Know Your Nutrition Food Labels?

How Well Do You Know Your Nutrition Food Labels?

Eating right is difficult – you need to read Nutrition Food Labels. Reading food labels should be a great way to learn about what you are eating, right?  Yes and No – you need to read the labels, but you need the ‘food label decoder’ to make sure you are getting the straight scoop.


This article from the New York Times has a great quiz to test your food knowledge – click here to view the full article. The article is based on an excellent new book – click here to learn more about Devour.

What are they looking for?

There are several great tips in this article – here is one of the best – What are your consumers looking for on Food Labels?  Consumers are looking for foods with these attributes, according to the Food Marketing Institute.

  • 41 percent of respondents sought foods labeled “low sodium.”
  • 37 percent looked for “no artificial ingredients”
  • 29 percent sought “no/low fat”
  • 20 percent sought “certified organic.”

What about Sodium?

This is in line with recent research indicating that while Americans are generally improving their overall dietary quality, sodium is a big area where we fall short.  And, an estimated 80% of sodium consumed is actually added to the food by food manufacturers and restaurants.  Read the full article in JAMA Internal Medicine here.

How does this Affect Your Products?

We never advocate our food customers to chase the latest trends. You need to produce your core products – the items that align with your mission and core values.  If ‘low sodium’ isn’t a part of your current offerings,  consider them in future product design.  Don’t throw out your current recipes and start over.  Pay attention to the research as you evolve, but don’t try to be something you aren’t – that is a ‘recipe’ for watered down, passion-free products.  Yuck!

What is a Brand Owner to Do?

Follow these tips and you will be able to communicate your value directly to your consumers. Give them clear, compelling reasons to pick you when they are selecting a product in your category:

  • Stay true to Your Authentic Brand – never vary
  • Learn the intricate details of Nutrition Food Labels terminology
  • Create new products with consumer research findings in mind
  • Design and print labels to highlight your best attributes
  • Keep your products mix and your label design fresh and clean

Need Help?

If you need help with label design and printing on your Nutrition Food Labels, call us today.  Keep reading this series of posts to learn more, and tap our many years of expertise to help you along the way.

Marketing Your Craft Beer

Marketing Your Craft Beer

When looking to market a craft beer, it’s assumed your beer’s going to be great. You need a different edge.

Working out what that edge is of course, can be a trick. You have to figure out what combination of factors will get people to buy and try your beer.

If you’re anything like me, you’re a sucker for championing the underdog, so some against all odds start up story, or unique background to your passion for great beer-making might be your edge.

For others, it might be a cause. Perhaps you brew to support a favorite charity, or to champion local schools, or give back to society. Or maybe you are a hub of local small businesses, and look to develop more a “local niche”.

Whatever it is, when thinking on these things, you’re trying to find an emotional connection between your beer and your beer customers.

If you don’t think your story is unique enough to hold an entire brand together… you’re right. Today’s market is flooded with micro-breweries, and I’m willing to bet at least 50% of these have a truly remarkable start-up story, or do good with societal impact. So, what else?


Brewing a good beer and telling a compelling brand story is the entry cost of a competitive market. However, the experience of your beer is what will keep people coming back, and sharing how great your beer is with others.

So with all the focus on marketing, paying attention to the experience people trying your beer will share with you. This is more controllable if you have a location you sell out of, such as a Brewery, but even if you don’t, pick your distribution partners carefully, and educate them on the experience you want your brand to portray.


If you don’t think your story is unique enough to hold an entire brand together… you’re right. Today’s market is flooded with micro-breweries, and I’m willing to bet at least 50% of these have a truly remarkable start-up story, or do good with societal impact. So, what else?

Distinctive, attractive branding is a great way to distinguish a brewery. Good branding understands how a brand will connect with the audience most likely to buy. It draws people in to pick up your bottle, read your story, and allows you the time to make the connection you have been working for above.

Branding determines how people feel about your company. Everything from your brand name, the colors used, the language chosen to articulate your story, everything builds this brand. Having unique packaging, a great label (goes without saying that we would bring this up), delivery trucks and a great website can work wonders in convincing people to buy your beer.

In 2017, we’ll be discussion one micro-brewery brand from Oregon in depth each month. You won’t want to miss our insights!