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So my Dad is an avid brewer, and has always re-used old beer bottles that we drank our way through to bottle his home-brew in. However, for Christmas I made a label on photoshop with our families last name on it. It looks pretty rad I do say so myself. So I bought a case of nicer bottles with the pop top on it to put the label on...however...

I am looking for a label that I can paint/stick/adhere to the glass, so that when he wants to wash them and re-bottle, they won't fade/get moldy/wrinkle/etc. Some folks at beer stores told me this was impossible...but I was thinking if I printed a label on some good shiny label paper, and painted over it with polyurithane that it might be impervious to the aging and damaging effects of water.

Any ideas? My other idea would be to try and put some type of stenciled label like the rolling rock beer bottles, where it is almost painted onto the bottle.

Any suggestions are welcome.

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6 Answers 6

If you laser print onto Avery labels (or probably almost any brand of label), it's pretty resilient without a protective coat - I have some labels on bottles that I printed two years ago, that have survived 4 or 5 batches, soaks in StarSan, etc. In fact, the labels I have are harder to get off than almost every commercial label, which is why I stopped labeling.

Given the imperviousness of the naked labels, I would think a quick shot of some aerosol-style polyurethane would do the job of protecting them for quite a few brew cycles. I doubt there's anything that's fully permanent, particularly if you happen to run them through the dishwasher, but this is a pretty good start.

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...anyone else have thoughts? –  Brandon Dec 14 '10 at 22:27
    
I would suggest this sort of treatment and also have your dad be more careful with these bottles, IE rinse them more thoroughly after drinking, to ensure that soaks in StarSan aren't required. –  Nathan Koop Apr 2 '12 at 3:37
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You can find viynl labels here BeerClings.com. They are reusable and work very well. Hope this helps.

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I wonder if you could get your own design professionally printed on those "vinyl" like sheets that stick to windows? Then you can peel them on and off almost indefinitely. Not really and answer, but whatever.

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This was my first thought as well. –  Bill Dec 15 '10 at 4:46
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Have you considered either having the bottles etched (like people do for weddings) or (screen?) printed on with paint?

Etching usually just involes an acid or mild abrasive to take the gloss off the glass--it's permanent and shouldn't compromise the bottles.

Painting should be near-permanent, hot water and possibly cleansers might fade or peel the paint though.

Another option to consider would be sealing your printed labels on. Not sure how it would be done or what types of materials, but the idea would be to put a thin layer of something like plastic over the label to keep all water and grime out. When in doubt, experiment!

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You could probably etch the bottles yourself: urbanthreads.com/pages?id=266 –  jennyfofenny Dec 30 '10 at 22:09
    
@jennyfofenny -- good call; I'm tempted to try this myself on a case of swing-tops –  STW Dec 31 '10 at 0:50
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Check out weatherproof vinyl labels. According to this site, you can print on them with a standard inkjet printer:

The material is weatherproof and the ink from a standard inkjet printer will encapsulate into a specially formulated top-coating upon printing.

They make it sound like as the ink dries it soaks into the vinyl label.

I know that Highland Brewing in North Carolina uses vinyl labels and they're awesome. They don't start peeling off after washing, but if you want to take them off one good pull takes care of it with no gluey mess left behind.

If you want to have the labels printed for you, you might want to check out these guys.

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Two Brothers in Warrenville, IL use labels that are actually difficult to remove and seem to be very water resistant. You might want to check with them to see where they get their labels.

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