Private-label water business pours in

Packaging Digest Staff

February 1, 2014

3 Min Read
Private-label water business pours in


"I'm really selling the label, not the water," says Scott Singler, president of American Beverage Co. in Destin, FL. For Singler, that isn't a cynical take on package-branding theory, but a well-grounded business model. American Beverage is a full-service distributor, providing Southeastern customers with private-label bottled water. Lowering risk is Singler's formula for success–both for his customers and for his own business.

"Even though we provide custom labeled water, my clients only have to buy what they need when they need it," explains Singler. "For me, it's a low risk because I can work with multiple bottlers while using the same labels."

One key to this flexibility is American Beverage's use of pressure-sensitive materials that can be applied by multiple bottlers using standard labeling equipment. Printed by Color Craft Label, the full-color labels are produced on flexo equipment that the converter says also minimizes the risk for American Beverage by allowing for short runs, due to the press's low-cost, quick-change technology.

Water as a marketing tool
Established in November, '01, American Beverage positioned itself in the vacation-getaway community of Destin to serve the city's 25,000 to 30,000 condominium and hotel room industry. "We saw that there was a niche in the bottled water industry, and that was in private-label," says Singler. "The bottled water industry is so competitive and the margins have shrunk so much, that if you try to start your own brand and compete with the thousands of others out there, it's really tough to get started. With private-label, we can charge a little bit more of a premium for our product, and we give the customer their own label."

For American Beverage's customers, which include resorts, restaurants, golf courses and other attractions along the Gulf Coast, as well as in Alabama, it's not the water brand that makes the sale, it's the label. "People love the private-label aspect," says Singler.

Adds David Seuss, vp of sales for Color Craft Label, "Scott always tells us that his customers do not view their private-label water as a novelty item. Any product that bears their name, especially something as basic and essential as water, makes an important statement about that organization."

Customers can select spring water in a full range of bottle sizes–8- and 12-oz and 0.5, 1- and 1.5-L–from a number of bottlers. Because water is expensive to ship, Singler says he uses bottlers located close to the point of distribution.

Press provides flexibility
Designed in-house by American Beverage and the private-label customer, custom labels take advantage of the eight-color printing capabilities of Color Craft Label. The converter uses a 10-in.-wide Nilpeter FA-2500 flexo press to print six- to seven-color graphics on the wraparound labels. An 80-ga clear polypropylene laminate enhances the graphics and provides durability. "The laminate protects the label so that you can have the bottle in a cooler or ice, and the label won't fall apart," says Singler. Label stock, supplied by Fasson, Raflatac and MACtac, is a 60# white gloss p-s material.

According to Seuss, the flexo press "allows for smaller quantities to be printed, and the setup cost is lower."

Affirms Singler: "Color Craft will do combined runs for us, so we can benefit from the volume discount from 100,000 labels, when we're really having them manufacture ten different labels for ten different customers."

More information is available:

Label converter: Color Craft Label Co., 800/876-2656. Circle No. 244.

Flexo press: Nilpeter, Inc., 954/385-8835. Circle No. 245.

Label stock: Avery Dennison-Fasson Roll North America, 800/944-8511. Circle No. 246.

Label stock: Raflatac North America, 800/992-3882. Circle No. 247.

Label stock: MACtac, a Bemis co., 866/262-2822. Circle No. 248.

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