Wet Label Application is exactly what it sounds like – the process of adhering labels to wet surfaces. This process is different than traditional label application in that the labels themselves need to be durable in wet conditions, and the adhesive needs to stick (and stay put).

Here at Alpine, we use wet label application to adhere pressure sensitive labels to a wet container or packaging surface. While we generally use this method of application for bottles and cans, it can also be applied to meat packaging and other temperature-sensitive containers.


How Do I Know If I Need Wet Label Application?

While no one specifically chooses wet label application per se, it is good to be aware of the process and understand when you may expect your products to be labeled while wet. Here at Alpine, we see the need for wet label application most often in the craft brewing industry. If your product may get wet or produce condensation during any time in the packaging process, you should expect for labels to be applied using a wet label application.


How Wet Label Application Works in the Craft Beer Industry

In smaller bottling and canning operations, the containers are filled with beer that is approximately 33 to 34 degrees Fahrenheit. Condensation begins to form immediately and beer often spills or overflows over the top. The can or bottle is then sprayed with cold water to wash off any remaining beer or product. As little as 10 seconds later, these cans and bottles pass through an automatic labeler and a pressure sensitive label is applied.

Usually, wet application requires the label to be a film material (often bi-axially oriented polypropylene, also known as BOPP) as opposed to a paper stock. In addition, a top lamination or varnish may be used to protect the inks and maintain the label’s colors and designs. Additionally, the material features a special durable adhesive designed specifically for wet applications.

Label application machines that rotate the bottle through two pressure rollers often work best for wet label application, as the pressure aids in “pushing” some of the water out that may be between the container and label. Alternatively, wet labels can also be applied using a brush, but in many cases this may require some machine adjustments.


Challenges Associated with Wet Label Application

The overall challenge with wet label application is simply getting the label to adhere to the wet surface. Some packaging companies may dry the packaging before labelling using “air knives” or blowers, allowing for easier labelling and a wider choice of stocks, including papers.

If you’re looking for labels that maintain their integrity and stick to a wet container during the packaging process, simply fill out our Contact Form.