Line ’em up

Honey sold via a third party needs to carry a label with all sorts of information on it 1. A well-labelled jar of honey looks good on the shelves and undoubtedly helps sales.

However, an attractive label does not need to be fancy, printed in colour or expensive to produce. I firmly believe that the contrast between a simple black and white label and the rich golden colour of the honey enhances the appearance of the end product. This helps sales.

Honey

Honey

If you are selling via a shop they are often have more than one type of honey on display. Your honey might well be next to a row of brightly labelled, mass produced (Product of EU and non-EU countries … and we all know what that means), factory packed jars … all looking uniformly – though perhaps blandly – identical.

In contrast you’re selling a top-quality, artisan product that is probably being sold at a premium price.

And if it’s not, it should be.

Artisans and amateurs

Remember that artisan does not mean amateur. It means traditionally produced, high quality and handmade by a skilled tradesman.

Therefore, your honey should not look amateur. If the jar contents look attractive, with no antennae or obvious wax crumbs, and the label is good then the individual jar should be very appealing.

But how do they look half a dozen at a time? All lined up in a row?

If the labels are all higgledy piggledy 2, neither being level on the individual jar or level with its neighbours, then you might not be conveying the impression you want.

Or if you are, you might be able to convey a better impression 😉

Line ’em up

With a steady hand, good lighting and a convenient ‘guide’ it is easy to reproducibly label jar after jar after jar after jar after jar 3 of honey.

I use offcuts of wood laminate flooring as the guide 4. These are available in a range of thicknesses from about 8 to 15mm. For the sizes of jars I use these represent a suitable distance to place place the label from the bottom of the jar.

I ‘offer up’ the label just touching the wood ‘guide’, check that it’s level and centred on the jar, then press it into place with my thumbs.

Labelling honey jars

Labelling honey jars

Four things that help in getting a reproducible finished effect:

  1. Easy peel labels that can be removed and reattached if you get it wrong
  2. Working at a reasonably high table to help with the lateral alignment
  3. Using square rather than round jars
  4. Practice

The square jars really help. More specifically it’s the guide butting up against the side of the jar that helps. If I routinely used round jars I’d cut a semi-circular hole in the edge of the guide – in a choice of sizes reflecting the diameter of the jar – to help align the label.

Once the front label is in place it’s a simple (but repetitive) task to turn the jar around and add the anti-tamper label, unless you’re the type who prefers to ‘trap’ it under the front label … in which case it obviously has to go on first.

Alternative approaches

There was a prize awarded recently at one of the large conventions (perhaps the National Honey Show?) for a lovely handcrafted wooden ‘cradle’ that held the jar and aligned the label. The principle was identical to that described above … just implemented much more elegantly. I thought this was made by Thomas Bickerdike who also produces lovely handcrafted wooden spoons. However, my Google-foo has failed to find it, so if you remember seeing it please post a link below.

Or, for a few hundred pounds, you could buy a labelling machine …


Colophon

Nice to see you ...

Nice to see you …

Line ’em up was a game from US version of the eternally popular game show The Price is Right. Amazingly (have you ever seen it?) this was recently voted the fifth best gameshow of all time.

Extraordinary … but not in a good way.

Footnotes

  1. Batch numbers, a means of identifying the producer, a reserved name, a best before date etc. The honey labelling regulations make a fascinating read … and should be read if you want to avoid the attention of trading standards.
  2. What a great term. It dates back to the 16th Century and means – usually contemptuously – Without any order of position or direction; in huddled or jumbled confusion and disorder; with heads and tails in any or every direction.
  3. It can get a bit repetitive.
  4. Because you can get samples free and we seem to be forever re-flooring rooms.

12 thoughts on “Line ’em up

  1. Sara Ward

    Thanks for this,

    Yes, it was my good friend Thomas who entered the label jig into the National Honey Show a few years ago, I confess to labelling by hand, but love your suggestions in the post which should work well with my 8oz Hex jars 🙂

    Sara

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      Thanks Sara
      I seem to remember the ‘label jig’ was beautifully made, but that the jar was held at an angle. The only advantage of the method I describe – other than the absence of the need for any woodworking skills – is that the jar is kept level and so the honey doesn’t get onto the underside of the lid.
      Cheers
      David

      Reply
    1. David Post author

      Thanks Emily … you could also ask him if there are images still available online I could link to. I searched in vain.
      Cheers
      David

      Reply
  2. Meriel Bottle

    Yes I am sure you are right it was Thomas Bickerdike. He wrote something about it on his blog after being pressed for details, by me among others, about his invention. Sadly his blog site (beekeepingafloat.com) seems to no longer exist. However I noticed yesterday at the national Honey Show that Thomas was among the prize winners for his honey.

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      Thanks Meriel … a least a few of my neurones appear to still be firing satisfactorily. I searched the web, but didn’t think to look up his old website. His new one just features spoons. Very nice spoons.
      Cheers
      David

      Reply
    1. David Post author

      Many thanks Reto
      The page formatting from the “‘Wayback machine’ was butchered because of my ad blocker so I’ve extracted the relevant image and reproduced it here …

      Honey label jib by Thomas Bickerdike - lovely!

      Cheers
      David

      Reply
  3. Karen

    Thanks for your post. I have just bought a thermal printer and redesigned my labels in black and white.
    They look very sophisticated and so easy to print and stick. My machine also cuts the label to the right size. I’ve just seen your response to someone’s post about not getting the inside of the lid covered in honey (which I have done so and was alarmed by this) so will need to practise keeping it upright and find a wooden guide as you suggest. Thanks for passing on your ideas.

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      Hi Karen
      It’s not the end of the world if you get honey on the inside of the lid (unless the jars are for showing). I just think it’s good practice to avoid it if you can so the jar looks as good as it possibly can when the customer opens it.
      A happy customer is a repeat customer 😉
      Cheers
      David

      Reply

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