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One of the best methods for preventing keg loss is to brand your kegs so they are easier to identify by distributors, bars and restaurants. At NDL, one of our favorite types of customization is electric printing, which is where we use custom-made stencils to etch high-detail logos and designs onto the kegs just below the top chime.

Electric printing, also referred to as electro-chemical etching, uses a direct electric current, photosensitive stencil and electrolyte solution to electro-chemically etch a design into metal. With in-house electric printing machines at most of our warehouses, we’re able to provide electric printing customization for stock orders with a fairly short lead time. We’re sharing some tips below to help our customers understand the electric printing process and the size and type of logo that works best for customization.

1. Electric Printing Can Only Be Done In Black

Electric printing is a great option for breweries looking to brand their kegs with a logo or artwork with fine details, though the etching can only produce a black mark. Because of this, the process works best with logos or designs that convert well to black and white and don’t feature transparent or semi-transparent elements. Because the process only produces a single color, it can also be difficult to discern logos or artwork where design elements overlap or weave into each other.

 

2. Wide Artwork Is Better Than Narrow

Because of the distance between the weld of the top chime and the ridges in the middle of U.S. 1/2 BBL kegs, 50-Liter Euro kegs and 50-liter DIN kegs, artwork on the photographic stencils used for electric printing is limited to roughly 3.5” (9 cm) tall. The width can vary depending on the design and dimensions of the logo, though we typically recommend limiting artwork to less than 10″ (or 25 cm) wide or it can become difficult to discern as it wraps around the keg. Ideally, we find that designs or logos with a width-to-height aspect ratio of 1.5:1 or 2:1 typically produce the best results.
half-barrel keg electric printing measurement

3. AI or EPS Files Work Best

Vector files that can scale like .ai or .eps are preferred for setting up your stencil. However, if necessary, we can also accommodate .pdf, .png, and .jpeg files provided they are big enough and at a high enough resolution for printing.

Electric printing is permanent, so brewers need not worry about their logos fading or being removed from the kegs or casks. For larger, factory direct orders, NDL Keg also offers embossing, silk-screening and color-striping along with electric printing to brand your kegs with your brewery’s name or a design.

Wolfs Ridge Half-Barrel Keg with Electric Printing Customization
An example of electric printing customization for Wolf’s Ridge Brewing in Columbus, Ohio.
Ellison Brewing Electric Printed 1/2 and 1/6 BBL Kegs
1/2 and 1/6 BBL kegs customized for Ellison Brewery + Spirits in East Lansing, Michigan.