I’ve been hearing of these guys for a while, but had always been a bit hesitant to check it out. I mean, it sounds too good to be true, right? Custom-designed beer and wine bottle labels that you can easily reuse over and over. No scrubbing labels off of your bottles and dealing with falling apart paper labels and that leftover goo that never comes off the bottle. Simply peel it off when you’re done with it, and then clean and sanitize your bottles as you normally would, then re-apply with the next batch.
Well, I finally decided to bite the bullet. and give them a shot. I placed an order with GrogTag and ordered a set of standard, basic labels. I dropped in the NC Homebrewing logo, of course, but otherwise got a generic label so that when I re-used it, it would work for any of the various beers that we make.
According to GrogTag, these labels are great because you can write on them (they recommend Crayola washable crayons), so I can just jot down what beer it is, the ABV%, and a few notes, and my beers will stay organized. No more guessing if that “BW” on the cap of the bottle stands for Barley Wine or Berliner Weisse!
Another reason I ordered from GrogTag was because they have started offering labels for kegs or carboys. While these are not of the reusable sort – meaning, they cannot be pulled off of one carboy and then stuck on another – they are still able to be written on, washed off, and written on again and again. This is great for me, because I can’t ever get all of the info I need on the single piece of Duct Tape I was slapping on each keg and carboy!
The labels all arrived yesterday and I took them for a test drive. I also picked up some of the Crayola washable crayons from Target (they’re less than $2 for an 8-pack) to test out the ability to write on the labels, erase, and write on them again.
And what did I think?
When the labels arrived, they looked great. My logo was crisp and looked as it did in the preview online. From a printing perspective, they did a fine job. Do note, however, that I did not order any graphic-heavy labels, just simple templates with a logo. Additionally, I ordered 32 beer bottle labels and received 40, and I ordered 5 keg/carboy labels and received 9, however, 2 of the 9 keg/carboy labels did not have the NC Homebrewing logo on them, but instead had the generic GrogTag logo. Fine by me – they were free extras, so I’m not going to complain about it!
Next, I wanted to see how they held up to being written on, erased, and written on again. This was a bit of a challenge. The crayola washable crayons are…well…crayons, so you still get that kindergarten look to everything you write. You have to write in very large font, and the crayon wax occasionally clumps together.
So, after a lot if fine-tuning, I was finally happy with how the text looked on the labels. I did notice that the beer bottle labels were MUCH easier to write on than the keg/carboy labels. They are a slightly different material and the keg/carboy labels seem more slick, so the crayon wax really did not want to stick to them.
After writing on the labels, I then wanted to apply them to my fermentors and kegs. On carboys with smooth outer walls, and on cornie kegs, these labels worked great. They seem to stick well and they look awesome.
But…on my better bottles or kegs with textured outer walls, there was not a place smooth enough for the label to be applied. And the labels do NOT apply well if you try to just stick them over the textured parts. Here are a few things I tried – as you can see, it did not work so well.
What did work well, however, was simply using the beer bottle labels on these carboys and better bottles. The beer bottle labels are smaller, so they fit between the textured areas of the fermentor. While they can’t hold as much info, such as OG, FG, dates, etc, they do serve the purpose of labeling what beer is in the carboy…though, my duct tape did that just fine as well. But I do have to admit that this looks much better than duct tape.
- I love the beer bottle labels. They are easy to use, look great, and serve their purpose well. Definitely as advertised.
- For smooth carboys and kegs, the keg/carboy labels work great, hold all of the information you need, and look awesome.
- The GrogTag website is easy to use, fun to browse, displays the product very well
- Ordering and shipping was quick and easy
- Writing with Crayola washable crayons looks amateur at best, but it’s not worth the cost to buy new designed labels for every batch – plus that ruins the purpose of them being reusable.
- The keg/carboy labels are way too big for better bottles or carboys with textured walls. There just isn’t a good place to put them.
- I wish the keg/carboy labels were also reusable so that you could just move the same label from the carboy to the keg on kegging day, instead of having to write everything over again on the keg.
If you are interested in checking out these labels, I would encourage you to head over to GrogTag. In fact, we decided to partner with them. You’ll see some new GrogTag ads around the blog, and if you click on those ads or if you use the coupon code NCBREW, you can save 10% off your entire order.
If you give it a shot and design your own labels, I would love to see how they turn out, so post some pics in the comments and let us know what you think! Cheers!