Part 3 of 4
by Cassandra Balentine
While the marking and coding arm of the packaging industry isn’t necessarily as alluring as its counterparts, it is undeniably important. This bit of variable data is essential to tell a history of a product, including batch codes, bottled on, and best-by dates.
The food and beverage industry relies on marking and coding systems as part of the packaging and bottling process, no matter the size of the company.
Established in 1996, Wild Onion Brewery is a family-owned craft brewery located just outside of Chicago, IL in Lake Barrington. The craft brewer has transformed from a half-barrel garage operation at its start to a multi-location, 50-barrel system brewer complete with canning capabilities.
Mike Kainz, owner, Wild Onion Brewery, started home brewing after college in his parents’ garage using a small, half-barrel system. Once he felt he had a winning brew, he pitched the idea of opening up a brewery to his father and brothers. They decided to lease a 2,400 square foot warehouse in Lake Barrington, opening the doors in 1997. They were bottling beers the following year.
In 2000, the craft brewery was ready to expand. It took over an old tavern and transformed into a brew pub that was open to the public in 2003. An eight-barrel system was installed at this time, expanding in 2008 to a 17-barrel system, and eventually a 50-barrel system. It also opened another location closer to Chicago.
The brewery is constantly improving its operations. This includes the addition of a BestCode continuous inkjet system from Weber Packaging Solutions to its canning process. The device is used right after the cans leave the filler, a “packaged by” date is added to the bottom edge of the cans.
This is particularly important for brewers to ensure freshness. Brewers know that some beers are shelf-stable for longer periods of time than others and a brewery’s reputation is on the line if a customer samples a beer that is past its prime.
BestCode industrial marking and coding systems print identifying marks and codes on industrial and consumer goods to ensure freshness and product traceability.
The BestCode Next Series 8 is a complete range of small-character printing systems that produce high-speed, reliable marks and codes on a range of substrates including plastic, glass, and paper. The range of continuous inkjet printing systems come in six different models—81, 82, 86, 87, 88, and 88S—and bring features and capabilities to the coding and marking industry, including extended operation times, automated end-of-day routine, true non-contact printing extending the ink throw distance, CleanStart industrial stainless steel printheads ready to use in one minute, and a five year manufacturer’s warranty.
Right on the Mark
For family-owned businesses like Wild Onion Brewery, a product is more than a product—it is a craft. Bottled and best-by dates are used to communicate a beer’s optimal enjoyment window with the consumer.
Read part two of this series, In with the New
Jul2021, Industrial Print Magazine