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label making

Chas at Tahoe

Master Brewer
Aug 9, 2009
Reaction score
Reno, Nevada
I've been looking around and testing various products and think that a nice beer label might be made with free software.  I looked at Gimp, a source forge open source graphics editor, and sarif se, a nice free for personal use, desktop publisher.  The only cost would be paper, ink and glue. 

Has anyone come up with a free/cheap label making program?

I've attached a jpeg of a tinkered label on a bottle label template.


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For a very simple label; I started using the stick-on label sheets used for shipping.  For bottles; I use the 2" x 4" labels.  Each label size has an associated template available with MS Word .... but you may already know all this.  The amount of "customization" with the Word templates was getting in my way so I created my own templates on Excel.  Both the Word and Excel solutions allow one to print a sheet full of labels at the same time.  That's what I do. 
Avery 8156 I think is a 3.33" x 4" label.  2x3 per sheet.  Just enough for a six pack.
I paroused some label websites and came up with a label I think I'm going to like.  I mostly want to print my home brew house name on the label.  haha!  Cold Garage Brew Haus, Lake Tahoe, Nevada.  Has a nice sound to it, hugh?  Especially true this winter.

I really wanted free too.  Serif desktop publisher has a free version and I dumped gimp, to hard to use, and picked up Paint.net, much easier and reliable.  When I get one done, that's all my own, I'll post it.

It's interesting that you are trying to make labels for your beer. My BEST brew got a label that I simply created quick and easy in MSPaint and taped it around my bottles. It would look A LOT better if you got the adhesive paper for your labels. But, tape works well too! Here is my label below!


It's kind of goofy, but I made it a few years ago when I was in college!

I used the free desktop publisher from Serif.  It's downloadable and has most of the features needed.  I also tried Gimp as a graphical editor but it just didn't work out for me.  Paint.net is also a free graphics editor and it was so much easier I wonder why I fussed with Gimp.

I have been messing around a little more and have made a label that is a little more interesting.  The hard part is finding clip art that is appropriate.  I searched for hours for a lepricuan for my Irish Red but just couldn't find one that fit.

I think you're right.  3.33x4 is more of a wine label size.  I should have started with a 2x4.  The labels from Avery are cheaper too.

My project is on hold for now.  The economy has gotten to me and I'm going to have to move off the Lake.  Can't start any new projects until the move is completed.

Thanks for the reply!
Like the fellow a few replies above, we use the Avery/Staples 3 1/3 by 4 in. shipping lables. There are two varieties. We now use the "Removeable" stock so the bottles are easy to clean. Our first attempt, we used the standard, but boy what a pain in the A$$ to get off the bottle!!

Go to the Avery website and download Label Pro 5.4. It's free. It works alot like Print Shop. Very easy to add pictures, do art and fonts.

So... buy cheap REMOVEABLE lables 2x3 on 8 1/2 by 11 sheets at Staples and use Avery Label Pro software free!!

Only thing better is home made beer!!
I had a specific look I wanted for my label. I was looking for a line drawing of a monastery on a mountain and I wanted fairly small labels. I found a picture on the internet that was close to the look I wanted. using paint, I airbrushed a bit off the top for room for my text.

Being cheap, I use openoffice instead of MS Office. I selected an Avery label template (I don't know which, it's 8 per page) and print on standard paper with my laser printer. Ink jets are generally not waterproof, so be careful there. I rip the labels on the edges of a table for a rough, fuzzy edge and glue them on with a water soluble glue stick. Dip them in warm water and the labels pop right off. Not the best if you are using an ice chest, but I rarely do that with mixed batches. A magic marker on the cap fixes that issue, though.

It works for now. I have a friend that is a graphics artist. She's agreed to redo the label art for a batch of vanilla porter.


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Cheap is good.  I like your labels.  I do think the 3.3x4 label is more like a wine bottle label myself.  2x3 or 2x4 seems better.  Unfortunately the economy has hit me hard and I'm having to move to a less expensive location.  I won't be making labels or  brew for some time.  arg!

I did figure out how to make a sparkling Apple cider for my wife, who doesn't like beer.  It's so easy I don't know why I haven't done it before.  Wonder what a label would look like...