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  • Writer's pictureDr. Ari Smith Cordtz and David. H. Cordz

The Six Biggest Mistakes Start Up Beverage Companies Make - Pt. 4 Packaging & Commercial Formulation

Updated: Nov 1, 2023


Drink Development Packaging

Mistake # 4 - They select their packaging (can, glass, plastic etc.) and design their labels before they have their commercial beverage formulation created.


As we mentioned in Mistake # 2. Don't put the horse before the cart. Hey—we get it! Designing labels and selecting packaging is some of the most fun, creative things to do in starting a beverage brand. Unfortunately, we have seen many start- up companies having to pay to have those things done a second time.


If you don’t have your commercial formula, you don’t know what processing will be required by the copacker to make your beverage shelf stable. When it’s time to go into production of your brand, you will have to find a copacker/custom packaging company that has the capability of that/those processes. For example:

  • Is your brand organic? If so, you’ll have to find a copacker that is organically certified.

  • Does it contain alcohol? You must have a copacker that is licensed for that.

  • Does it need to be pasteurized?

We always jokingly say “all copackers are not created equally”. What we mean by that is some only pack in bottles and usually certain types/sizes of bottles. Some only pack in cans—again, usually certain sizes of cans. Some will do both. Some are organically certified, some are not.


Once you have your beverage development completed, you can then find a copacker based on the processes that are needed to get your brand shelf stable – tunnel pasteurized? Hot fill? Etc. Then, you can make sure they are able to run the bottle/can you have selected, or you may have to adjust your choice of packaging accordingly.


It’s the same with the closure on your bottle if you have chosen to pack in glass. You may have wanted an ROPP (roll on pilfer proof) closure but, the copacker only does crown cap (like a beer bottle) or vice versa. You’ll have to adjust your label/bottle/cap according to what your copacker can provide. So, it’s best to not be married to a label/bottle/cap until you find the copacker that is capable of running it for you AND has the ability to handle your needs for making it shelf stable.


Also, we have had many more than 1 or 2 clients come to us with their label designed before getting their beverage formulation completed. Their friend/sister-in-law/cousin etc. designed a label and they love the artwork. However, that person wasn’t aware of the information requirements and did not plan for it in the design. We always recommend that you have your label designed by someone who specializes in beverage label design. The law requires certain information on the label. Experienced label designers create the space for that information. You may end up having to pay for label design a second time if you don’t use a seasoned beverage professional in that area.

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