Build Your Brand With Digitally Printed Cans

Build Your Brand With Digitally Printed Cans

Why are craft beverage businesses switching in droves from shrink sleeves to digitally printed cans? The point-blank benefits of digital can printing begin to clarify: Short lead times; low minimum order quantities; unlimited artwork flexibility; and digitally printed cans eliminate single-use plastics, promoting enhanced recyclability and overall sustainability.

Millcraft Account Manager Dan Sullivan says, “In the beverage world, there were labels for cans that evolved into the use of can sleeves, or shrink sleeves, which were very popular. But now, we have direct-to-can, digitally printed cans and they are all the rage. With technology advancing so quickly, digitally printed canning gets more and more price competitive, it’s a more eco-friendly option, no obvious wrap. Seamless 360° printing with no slit or overlap…professional quality for a comparable investment.”

Millcraft guarantees your printed cans within six weeks of design approval. We print and ship directly from U.S. facilities, offering the lowest possible shipping rates and avoiding potential delays that can occur with overseas shipments.

Digitally printed canning levels the playing field between smaller beverage businesses and the behemoths—you can have the same visual can-quality as the big brands and in quantities right-sized to suit your specific needs all while removing the need for costly shrink sleeves or labels materials. 

Sullivan says beverage businesses are generally at one of two points when reaching out to Millcraft about digitally printed cans: You’re either looking to begin canning and interested in your best starting point, or your business is currently canning with labels or shrink sleeves but you keep hearing about digitally printed cans… 

Cans On the Rise With Reason

If your beverage business is looking to get started canning, you’ll join historic levels of growth. According to Crowncork.com, approximately 75% of new beverage launches in North America now appear in cans—more than double the rate of just five years ago. 

Cans are on the rise because metal packaging is convenient, lightweight, and easy to carry, serve from, and enjoy. Portable, virtually unbreakable, and requiring no openers, aluminum cans are eco-friendly, highly recyclable, and represent sustainability—and green is the new black. Companies’ green efforts and policies toward sustainability are known to sway consumer purchases, and Forbes states 88% of buyers now want businesses to help them make a difference with their purchase.

Whether your craft beverage business is well established or opening soon, when you’re looking to grow beyond taproom services, growlers will only go so far and glass containers aren’t convenient at parks, camping, or all the other places that your customers want to drink their beer, coffee, kombucha, and craft sodas. If you want to expand your business beyond your taproom, canning is a great option to begin distribution—digitally printed canning, that is. Read more. 

Digitally Printed Cans vs Shrink Sleeves

If your beverage business is trying to decide between can sleeves and digitally printed cans, digitally printed cans offer significant advantages in both upfront flexibility and pricing and long game sustainability. Rather than printing on plastic film and heating to shrink sleeves tightly over cans, digitally printed cans result from ink sprayed directly onto the can in high-quality finishes such as matte, gloss, and spot varnish—with no limitations when it comes to color and no shrinking or warping of the artwork. 

This technology allows for full design and color versatility without additional costs, and actually removes the need for costly shrink sleeves or labels materials. Digitally printed cans also enable craft beverage companies to embrace more sustainable packaging options. The process is eco-friendly, eliminating the need for plastic sleeves or sticker labels, and supports infinite recyclability. 

3 Additional Benefits of Digitally Printed Cans 

1. Reduced Lead Time and Lower Minimum Orders

“The big brands,” Sullivan says, “print cans using plates,” where a blanket transfers ink from plates to the cans as they roll over it. “Minimum orders may be a full truck, and smaller businesses don’t often have the budget or the space for this kind of printing.” For example, a pallet for 12oz standard cans has 21 layers of 389 cans for 7,780 cans per pallet—typical trucks pack 25 pallets for 204,225 cans per truckload.

Unlike printing methods that require large order quantities and include large lead times, digital can printing allows for quick turnaround times and smaller minimum orders. “With digital printing, businesses can do faster, smaller runs and with minimum orders as low as only one pallet,” Sullivan says. This agility is particularly beneficial for smaller businesses or for testing new products, making it easier to respond to market trends and customer preferences quickly​. 

2. Enhanced Recyclability

Cans are made from aluminum, one of the most sustainable packaging materials available, being infinitely recyclable—but plastic shrink sleeves impede recyclability. Eliminating the need for single-use plastics on aluminum cans, digitally printed cans have the massive benefit of offering the capability to be melted down without issues. In fact, according to Canworksprinting.com, digitally printed cans have the capacity to be recycled, remanufactured, and back to the market in just 60 days. 

Digitally printed cans align with growing consumer demand for sustainable packaging solutions. This aspect not only appeals to environmentally conscious consumers but (green is the new black) also supports your brand's sustainability goals​ and eco-friendly perception. 

3. Versatility in Design and Color 

Digital printing on cans eliminates any limitations on color usage, allowing for bright, vibrant designs without the constraint of choosing specific Pantone colors associated with sleeves. With digital printing on cans, there is virtually no limit to the number of colors or size of the request. This flexibility enables more creative and complex artwork, enhancing brand visibility and overall product results. 

Digitally Printed Cans in Droves

When you want cans that will make your competitors jealous, digitally printed cans present a compelling option. Point-blank benefits include: short lead times; low minimum order quantities; unlimited artwork flexibility; and digitally printed cans eliminate single-use plastics, promoting enhanced recyclability and overall sustainability.

The question to ask yourself isn’t why are beverage brands switching in droves from shrink sleeves to digitally printed cans. The question is: When will you be joining them? 

By: Jen W. O’Deay 

To discuss digitally printed cans for your beverage business, Millcraft’s team of experts is here to advise and inform your best decisions, Just Ask. Millcraft guarantees your prints within six weeks of design approval. We print and ship directly from U.S. facilities, offering the lowest possible shipping rates and avoiding potential delays that can occur with overseas shipments.

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