Whetstone Beer Co. innovates eco-friendly can label wrap with peel off stickerNov 13, 2022 02:10PM ● By Janani Varatharajan
BRATTLEBORO, VT - A common love of beer, travel, art, and the great outdoors brought together three partners – Tim Brady, Amy Brady, and David Hiler - who conceived Whetstone Station in Brattleboro in 2012. When doors opened and brewing began, the spirit of exploration and discovery through rail travel underpinned the concept behind the Station. Now, a decade later, the trio has rebranded to Whetstone Beer Co. and reimagined their packaging to celebrate their love of adventure and respect for the environment with fully recyclable cans and labels with a surprise inside: a keepsake peel-off sticker on every can.
The custom labels, imagined by Whetstone Beer Co. co-owner Tim Brady, were developed over a year-long process with a USA label manufacturer. They are the first ever to incorporate a built-in, removable sticker within a fully recyclable beer can label.
“We spend a lot on printing custom can labels, which nearly always just end up in a recycle bin,” said Brady. “I thought, there has got to be a way to make the label useful beyond simply showcasing the beer on the shelf. Now when you purchase any of our Whetstone Beer Co. cans, you get a unique sticker for free.”
Whetstone Beer Co. packaging got a slick new look for the company’s 10th anniversary, thanks to a local Vermont artist. On shelves at retail locations, bars, and restaurants around New England, the new merchandising and packaging showcase a take on the iconic “travel by rail” posters popular during the early 1900’s golden age of train travel. A miniature “travel poster” sticker adorns every beer can. Meanwhile, the wrap portion of the labels include hidden elements with characters and scenes telling stories that harken back to owners’ adventures.
The peel-off sticker concept leans into long-held sticker culture in the brewery world where beer and brewery stickers are collected, traded, and often used as artwork on a “sticker wall” at stores, restaurants, breweries, ski chalets, and construction shops, to name a few. On a personal level, beer stickers cover coolers, water bottles, laptops, man caves, and she-sheds to represent favorites and themes.
“People reach out all the time requesting stickers,” said Whetstone brewer Derek Hall. “We send ours, and they send some of their favorites in return.” Collecting brewery stickers is so popular, that a Facebook group called “Brewery Stickers and Beer Stickers Collectors & Traders” has over 1,100 members swapping and trading stickers across the country. Stickers are also hotly sought at well-attended “breweriana” events and conventions.
The stickers have an added benefit for Whetstone Beer sales to restaurants and retailers, reminding them to order Whetstone. According to Whetstone Beer Co. Director of Sales, Brayton Brown, “When I brought a sample to a new customer near Mount Snow, the manager peeled off the sticker and pasted in the middle of his beer cooler and said, ‘It’s official. I need to order something from you now.’”
Brattleboro, VT 05301