Technology Enhances Wine, State of mind and Beer Labels

What's the intention of a wine label; or even a label on state of mind and beer? Obviously, the first respond to that question is: to meet up with the TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) regulations. Once that is accomplished, the label space remaining may be used for branding Kizoop and marketing copy. The fact is, there is very little space on bottle labels to get creative with messages. Now Technology is helping solve the limited space on labels by way of RFID (radio frequency identification/ID) Technology. Tap a smart phone on a NFC (Near Field Communications) tag embedded on a bottle and see what appears on your smart phone; assuming there is currently a tag on the label.

Depending on a winery's budget and the number of touch screen phones allowed with RFID tag readers (newer touch screen phones have built-in reader capability), wine, beer and state of mind producers can communicate directly with the consumer while they are standing in front of the bottle or can. These electronic tags can provide information in a format. The information can be audio, an email or automatically opening a website page; the option is up to the winery or craft drink company. The most economical tag option is with NFC tags embedded in a label or a very thin flexible film followed a bottle.

This NFC Technology has different names such as Smart Labels, Tags, and OpenSense Tags; the moniker I take advantage of is "Tap Tags". Smart Labels (originated in the consumer products industry) are beginning appear on food, personal care and pharma items. Although extremely limited, state of mind, beer EXETAL and wine are recent joiners. In fact, companies using smart label tags are not just the big players in the food and personal care space but are also employed by small start-ups. Basically, tags are a opportinity for producers of products to give the consumer more information than is possible to print on a label. But, the benefits of such tags aren't just in dispensing more information, it is also about branding, loyalty, increased sales, etc.

QR codes have been around for decades. They can do some of the operations a NFC tag can perform but are limited. More on QR code versus NFC follows.

Two decades ago, I was involved with a young lady who is an expert integrator of RFID (radio frequency identification/ID) tag technologies for casinos. His patented Technology is used today in allowing casinos to authenticate and track their gaming chips within a casino. Ken Smith, writing for Blackjackinfo. com on December 5, 2012 reported that Wynn/Encore Casino's in Nevada starting using chips embedded with RFID tags in 2005. Point being: the quality of complexity offered by "tag" technologies allow companies to communicate with consumers, even before they buy the product.

Decades ago barcodes started allowing companies the way to track inventory, monitor parts and adjust pricing instantly. Then RFID tags came along which expanded the capabilities of product monitoring passively and try really hard to; reading and writing information to a RFID tag. Depending on the capabilities of an RFID tag, information can not only be read from a tag, but that tag can also be written to; adding more/different/updated information on the tag. We don't want to forget the QR (Quick Response Code) that most smart phones can read optically and provide an on-screen response via a url to a landing page. The QR code, invented in 1994 has a similar application as the barcode. Touch screen phones today come with QR reading capabilities and more recently antenna to communicate with NFC tags.

A type of RFID Technology that is gaining acceptance rapidly is the NFC tag. A strong proponent of NFC Technology is coming from Grocery store Manufacturers Association and the Food Marketing Institute-the SmartLabel™ group. They formed an alliance called Trade Partners Alliance to explore ways to be transparent with quick, reliable, actionable, in-depth product information for the consumer. One of their applications involves NFC tags which takes the consumer, via their smart phone, to a navigational landing page. All the consumer is required to do is tap their smart phone on the NFC tag on the product packaging.

Noted previously, most product packaging has limited space for details. The real est available on a printed wine label may not be enough to provide a plethora of information options various individuals are interested in and/or need. Solution: why not make it easy for a consumer to tap their smart phone against a "tap tag" on a product and instantly be studied to a URL/website/landing page that enables the producer to communicate (in print, video or audio) with a possible client concerning the product. An saying I hear a lot: You can do anything with sufficient time and money. Same saying applies to NFC Technology. For our discussion I am taking the fastest and most artistically flexible approach to new label technologies; the NFC tag, while not totally disregarding QR codes.

This brings us to the "here and now" concerning new technologies that allow producers of wine, state of mind and beer to communicate directly with their customer. After all NFC (Near Field Communications), a Technology application already being explored by Diageo, Coronado Preparing, and a winemaker in The country (Barbadillo Wines). In November 2017 Astral Tequila will feature NFC technologies to promote in-store consumer connections. It has been reported by one integrator/manufacturer of NFC applications, an alcohol product company realized a 30% increase in conversion rates when testing their foray into NFC label tags. Yes, NFC is part of many label options that can be very transparent to the consumer.

A NFC type smart label is actually a RFID tag that is about as thin as 3 sheets of printer paper or. 0002 in .. When labels, with embedded NFC tags, are utilized by a NFC allowed smart phone, the telephone receives pre-programmed information. For example, the user may be directed to a established site. The website/landing page the consumer is directed to can be designed as a winery, brewer or distillery believes appropriate. The information in the NFC tag can be approximately 7K in size. Again, larger and more capable RFID tags can offer greater capabilities and much more capabilities, but at more expense and involved integration.

One manufacturer of this Technology that demonstrated the NFC methods of me was Metal Craft. "The methods of NFC to communicate with customers in the drink industry is mind boggling, inch said Austin texas Elling, Marketing Manager-Metal Craft. "Here are some situations of so what can be designed into one of our NFC tags: vCard to scan data into the address book, URL to open settled web site, plain text to display simple messages on a smart phone, telephone numbers to start a call, geo location to open a specific destination, inch says Elling. "For alcoholic drink business, my experience says that branding and creating direct communications with a customer is in the NFC sweet-spot. A winery might wish to use NFC capabilities for a loyalty program, press releases, promotional studies, initial studies, wine clubs, etc. inch

Digressing for a moment. Recently, Anheuser-Busch launched a new Tequila flavoured beer branded as Oculto Beer. The label on the beer was embedded with a tag and battery that lit in the eyes on the skull logo on the label. They positioned the switch where most people would gab the bottle. Obviously, it was creative and extremely expensive. Unfortunately, consumers bought the beer for the unique of the label Technology; consumers did not like the Tequila flavor and it failed.

Relatively inexpensive, NFC tags can only be read at extremely close range, which is why the label area containing the tag needs to be utilized with the allowed smart phone. Some more expensive and capable RFID tags can have a read/write choice of approximately 200 feet. However, at approximately $0. 10 each, NFC tags are affordable. The price however does not include set-up costs and integration with the back-end landing page. Nathan Chandler writing in "How Stuff Works" reports, "Memory capacity and speed determine tag cost, which is a critical consideration for companies trying to spread information far and wide through smart paper prints or flyers... labels. Right now, tags cost around 30 cents apiece even in bulk, but the price should continue to drop until they're only a few pennies each [source: NFC Rumors]. inch

Why would a winery, craft brewery or craft state of mind company invest in a new label endeavor? Here are some immediate marketing applications that one thinks of:

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