By Olivia Cahoon
Part 1 of 2
A variety of industries including food and beverage use digitally printed signage for customized marketing. Brewery signage includes menu boards, window graphics, floor graphics, and tacker signs. One print service provider (PSP), Tap Room Tackers, dedicates its print services to creating signage and products exclusively for breweries.
Established in October 2016, Tap Room Tackers started with six people in East Glastonbury, CT. The PSP offered four-color process tacker signs printed on a variety of materials and served CT and the surrounding area.
Today, Tap Room Tackers has nine production employees and creates signage for breweries in CA, CO, TX, Canada, and along the East coast. The PSP also works with beer-related companies for koozies and brewing equipment. It operates from a 35,000 square foot factory.
“The equipment changes and improves but the space has been the same for years,” says Hunter Ralston, customer liaison, Tap Room Tackers.
The company primarily produces tacker signs—custom-shaped signs used indoors and outdoors for beer promotion. Tacker signs are printed on metal or wood and are available in beer can or growler shapes. The PSP also offers custom bottle openers, coasters, and business cards.
According to Ralston, tacker signs are a popular form of signage for breweries. “More people know what a tacker sign is and want them to decorate their man cave, garage, or show off to their friends,” he explains.
Before Tap Room Tackers started, owner and creator, Barry Ralston, collected tacker signs from breweries he visited. He noticed not every brewery offers tacker signs and created Tap Room Tackers.
“Breweries request signs that they can sell as swag to their customers and/or give to their distributors,” says Hunter Ralston. The most popular signs the company prints are 16-inch round, custom shaped, and embossed signs made of 0.020 white coated aluminum. Tap Room Tackers also offers black coated and clear anodized aluminum.
98 percent of the PSP’s work is brewery tacker signs. Acquired five years ago, the company uses a HP, Inc. HP Scitex FB700 printer for tacker sign production. It features a maximum print speed of 861 square feet per hour and handles rigid materials up to 48×98.4 inches. According to Ralston, the company chose the printer for its durable HP-branded UV ink.
“One aspect that might be different than other companies is that we use white ink to produce a better product for our customers,” she shares. For instance, the company prints white behind colors on metal or wood for a clearer and brighter print.
Tap Room Tackers uses Adobe Systems Incorporated Illustrator for front end design and vector graphics creation and Caldera RIP software. For shaping and sizing tacker signs, the PSP uses a Gerber Technology Sabre 408 router.
Black Hog Brewing
In 2017, new customer Black Hog Brewing approached Tap Room Tackers for a brewery signage order. For months the client and PSP collaborated on several sample signs.
The client requested its logo and tacker signs feature a white washed appearance. According to Ralston, the PSP worked hard to create white washed elements and settled on wood to meet the customer’s expectations. Black Hog Brewing also ordered signs with three of their different beer can logos.
The job took five weeks to complete due to the holidays and production demand. “We usually shoot for a two to four week maximum turnaround period depending on the quantity, custom shapes, and embossing,” says Ralston.
Black Hog Brewing sent Tap Room Tackers its logos as PDF files. The PSP formatted the artwork into tacker signs using Adobe Illustrator. The files included full bleed and a white ink flood.
“Since these signs were wood and not aluminum, we used our Gerber Sabre 408 router to cut the tacker signs to size and shape,” explains Ralston. The router is suited for dimensional sign making, woodworking, and parts fabrication applications. It features a 53.5×101-inch cutting area and handles 600 inches per minute.
Tap Room Tackers printed 50 13×18-inch signs with four different logos on the HP Scitex FB700. The ¼-inch plywood signs were each drilled with four hanging holes.
According to Ralston, the Black Hog Brewing job is unique because the client ordered three of its beer logos. “Most breweries order the main logo, but Black Hog Brewing chose to showcase three of its most popular beers. They also have artwork that stands out, which attracts a lot of attention from customers,” she continues.
Black Hog Brewing received the tacker signs on time. Ralston says the client is very impressed with the sign quality and immediately placed the signs in the taproom for sale. “They plan to sell most of the tacker signs in the taproom, the rest they send to bars in the area that carry the beer,” she offers.
Brewed to Perfection
Breweries demand custom printed signage like tacker signs for beer promotion in tasting rooms as well as other establishments that offer their products. With the HP Scitex FB700, Tap Room Tackers focuses on the brewery industry and custom beer logo marketing.
Mar2018, Digital Output