How to Remove Bottle Labels

CardNoter’s Tasting and Experience Journals have poly pocket pages intended to hold labels removed from beer bottles/cans, wine bottles, whiskey bottles, and cannabis jars. Since revealing our new products, you might wonder about removing the labels – How do you get them off? Will they tear? Should you soak them off?

The biggest factor in what makes a label difficult to remove intact is the adhesive used to attach it and the material that the label is attached to.

Paper labels with an adhesive that is added after label production are the only labels you will need tools to remove – and even then, with a little bit of patience, it’s possible to remove them by hand. Paper labels attached to textured surfaces are harder to remove than those attached to smooth ones.

Self-adhesive labels that are applied directly to the containers are simple and easy to remove, especially on smooth containers like aluminum cans. With textured surfaces, it gets trickier and gentler handling is required.

This guide will explore the different types of beer, whiskey, wine, and cannabis labels out there and which ones are the easiest to remove. It will also walk you through step-by-step methods of how to remove labels to insert into your CardNoter, 100% intact and undamaged.

How to Remove Labels from Wine, Whiskey, and Beer Glass Bottles

Glass bottle labels differ in design from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some glass bottles will have thin, paper labels with a spotty adhesive that can tear if peeled recklessly. Others have durable, tough plastic labels that are difficult to damage and come off clean with ease.

Finding out which type of labels the brewery, dispensary, winery, or distillery uses will help you decide which method is right for cleanly removing the labels intact.

Glass Bottles with Thin, Paper Labels

There are three methods you can use to remove thin, papery labels. These are more often found on glass beer bottles than wine and whiskey bottles or marijuana packaging. Common examples of these labels are those on Samuel Adams, Stella Artois, and Budweiser.

Method One: Patiently Peel

Step One:
Begin slowly peeling at one corner of the label until it begins to leave behind the paper on the bottle.

Step Two:
Move to another corner and repeat step one until all corners are separated from the bottle.

Step Three:
Work, peeling at the edges of the label.

Step Four:
Grip a side of the label and peel, alternating sides, until the label separates entirely.

At a brewery tour or tasting event where the customer is drinking from a glass bottle, the best advice you can give them to remove the label is to start peeling – gently and slowly – at the corner of the label. When it begins to leave behind residue, move to another corner and repeat. Once all corners and edges are separated from the glass, you can get a better grip on the label to remove it fully and intact.

In the context of using a CardNoter Tasting and Experience Journal, this is the best method because it doesn’t require any tools and can be done in between sipping the drink. It does require gentleness and patience, but if you are having a relaxing time at a beer or wine event, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Method Two: Soaking

Step One:
Fill a bucket or sink with hot water. It should be hot to the touch.

Step Two (optional):
Add soap like OxyClean or Dawn to help the adhesive separate from the glass. This step isn’t necessary but can speed things up, especially if you have multiple labels to remove at once.

Step Three:
Place your bottles inside the water and wait five to ten minutes for the heat to melt the adhesive.

Step Four:
Use a razor or utility knife to peel off the label. Insert the blade under a corner of the label and work slowly, being careful not to damage the damp paper.

Bottles with thin paper labels can be submerged in hot water for the labels to come off intact. The heat causes the adhesive to melt, making it much easier to separate the label from the glass with a lower risk of tearing the label.

Method Three: Label-Removing Stickers

Step One:
Use a razor or your fingers to remove the first centimeter of the vertical side of the label.

Step Two:
Remove the backing of the label-removing sticker.

Step Three:
Place the sticker over the label and completely cover it. You may need 2 overlapping stickers for larger labels.

Step Four:
Peel up the label-removing sticker and watch as your label comes off with it.

Likely the easiest, quickest, and safest way to remove labels and ensure they are not damaged is by using label-removing stickers.

These stickers are specifically designed to remove wine labels but will work for other similar labels. They are clear stickers of which you peel off the backing, place them on top of your label, rub it down, peel it up, and the label comes off with it.

The clear sticker also transforms your label into a protected, laminated label that will fit nicely and securely in your CardNoter. You can purchase them from Oenophilia or EPIC on Amazon.

How to Remove Sticker-Style Labels

These types of synthetic labels have a matte finish, are smooth to the touch, and are self-adhesive. They are the type of labels you would find on a canned beer from Land Grant Brewing Company.

Sticker-style labels can be peeled off quickly with your hands, no tools required. Sticker labels attached to aluminum will come off easier than those attached to glass or textured surfaces. Removing them with patience is a plus to avoid accidentally attaching the sticker to itself, but other than that, these labels have a low risk of tearing or damaging when peeled.

Once the label is removed, it’s helpful to stick the label to something fibrous, like your jeans or pants, to wear down the adhesive, as it’s semi-permanent and meant to form a strong adhesion. Or, you can mount the label on a napkin or piece of paper to ensure it doesn’t stick while inserting it inside the CardNoter. If your label is on the longer side, you can fold the label over as well.

How to Remove Cannabis Product Labels

Unlike beer, wine, and whiskey, cannabis products come in many different variations and containers. Some common containers found in dispensaries are glass jars, glass tincture bottles, cardboard packaging, plastic Rx-style bottles, and mylar ziplock bags, to name a few.

Luckily, the vast majority of cannabis labels are self-adhesive sticker style, meaning they are easy and simple to remove.  If you do come across a difficult label to remove, try any of the methods mentioned previously.

If the label is attached to a textured surface like paper, the safest route would be to simply cut out the label with a pair of scissors, keeping it attached. It will still fit snugly inside your CardNoter Cannabis Tasting and Experience Journal.

If at First, You Don’t Succeed…

It’s true that practice makes perfect. After you get your first handful of labels off, you’ll only get better at making a clean removal.

Hopefully, this article clears up some concerns and offered up some helpful information on how to get the best use out of your CardNoter. 

Removing and collecting labels is a fun and relaxing activity, and gives the taster an experience they’ll remember – not to mention, makes returning to the business to purchase more of a product quicker and easier.

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