The Berres family’s tradition of providing quality coffee began in 1970. Marvin Berres founded Coffee Host Inc., a coffee, soda, and snack vending business serving companies within a 60 mile radius of Watertown, Wisconsin.
The company expanded when the family began roasting its own coffee in 1992 and officially launched as Berres Brothers Coffee. Today, Peter Berres is the sole owner and under his leadership, the company has grown into a national coffee brand.
How Packaging Helped Grow the Brand
Prior to working with ePac, Berres Brothers was using traditional coffee bags with a tin tie at the top for reclose. During production, each bag was filled and sealed automatically, but then had to be rolled down by hand. Not only was this a time-consuming process, but the package itself also had its drawbacks. The company was receiving complaint after complaint that the bags were hard to open and oftentimes consumers had to use scissors to cut them open, which then rendered the reclose tie useless.
Also, at that time, each type of coffee packaging looked the same, no matter the difference in flavor. Each coffee packaging bag featured the same signature Berres Brothers burgundy stripes and coffee pot design and could only be differentiated by the hand-applied sticker labels with flavor and description information.
“All of the varieties were very uniform. It was hard to see one flavor from the next since they all looked the same,” says Michelle Hake, Vice President of Berres Brothers Coffee.
Berres then ordered a small inventory of updated flexible packaging from a conventional printer. As Hake describes, the bags were more modern but still not drawing attention the way Berres had hoped. Plus, the new bags were still using a sticker label to showcase each variety. Owner Pete Berres knew that the packaging for their roasted coffee needed a design overhaul.
In January 2019, ePac presented a way to help Berres Brothers showcase its many flavors and varieties. With digital printing, Berres learned that there was a different way of affordably ordering packaging that allowed for a broad range of designs.
“ePac came on the scene at the right time and talked to us all about digital printing. At that time, we asked them, ‘If we want to print 100,000 units, each a different design, can we do that?’ And they said yes. That changed the game for us. ePac made it so much easier to understand what we can do,” says Hake.
Hake quickly discovered that with digital printing, there are no plates and no set-up fees. With ePac, Berres Brothers could enjoy a quick turnaround and low minimum orders, which would allow the brand to print small quantities for each SKU in their line-up. Once Berres Brothers got the new bags, they were up and running in only a matter of weeks, even with 60 different kinds of coffee.
“The first thing that Pete was excited about was the ability to do short runs and have a fast turnaround. Because we do so many bags, a short lead time is huge for us. Before, it was 12-14 weeks lead time for the bags we were ordering overseas,” says Hake.
The company now sells its different varieties in fully branded, custom 1.5-ounce lay-flat pouches, as well as in 10-ounce and 2-pound stand-up pouches, all from ePac. The fully branded pouches have saved the company time as well as money since the bags are filled and sealed, eliminating the additional labor to roll and close the tin tie. Plus, the new pouches keep the coffee fresher due to the ability to be completely closed, keeping oxygen out.
The Proof Is in The Pouch
Today, Berres Brothers orders over 60 different coffee bags that include over 40 different pieces of artwork. The artwork (some of which is commissioned by an illustrator) is a big differentiator for the brand that now has designs that range from whimsical to masculine, all to draw consumers in and reach a range of demographics.
“For coffee, packaging becomes a pretty big distinguisher. When you see brands today, a lot of them have a very similar feel. I’m a big believer that packaging sells it for a customer; it’s something they can connect with, it draws them in,” says Hake.
And customers have connected with the custom, digitally printed stand-up pouches from ePac. But it isn’t just consumer compliments that show the difference; the proof is in the sales. Hake noticed a large contrast in sales between stores that have the newly designed bags to the stores that hadn’t received them yet. One flavor, especially, experienced enormous growth, selling out in stores much sooner than anticipated.
“What’s really great is the growth we’ve seen. For example, our flavor, Banana Nut was previously packaged in a plain bag with sticker label, and now it’s in a bright yellow bag with happy designs. Sales went up 400% from August to September. It’s been incredible to see one flavor grow so much,” says Hake.
With the new coffee bean packaging, the brand was able to relaunch six varieties as part of a family of flavors joined with the Highlander Grogg, the company’s #1 best selling flavor. The new Grogg family is complete with unique coffee bag designs for each variety that nicely coordinates with the rest of the family. Since the rebranding effort, the new Grogg flavors are experiencing some big growth.
“It’s exciting to see those flavors start to perform really well. Now, these are some of the top flavors we sell. It’s great to see that our marketing efforts are working from the new packaging,” says Hake.
With digital printing, brands like Berres Brothers are able to create unique designs for each SKU in the line-up. Plus, the technology is great for short runs, seasonal packaging, and personalized campaigns.
“It gives us the ability to be super creative, and change the look over and over again,” says Hake.
Looking for freedom to create various designs across your packaging line? Call ePac today to learn more about how digital printing can decrease your lead time and increase your sales.