Home Video Waterloo Container: More Than Just Bottles – Focusing on the Box

Waterloo Container: More Than Just Bottles – Focusing on the Box


Your outer packaging says something about the wine

Look around your winery and see what your customers see. Are there undecorated cardboard cases of wine sitting in plain sight of your visitors? The corrugated boxes your wine bottles are packaged in are almost as important as the primary bottles you fill. Master cartons are prime marketing space that can be artfully paired with your product, your message, and your brand. As Waterloo Container’s Director of Marketing, Bobbi Stebbins points out, “It’s time to think outside the bottle and think about the box.”

Waterloo Container offers many ways to enhance this critical outer packaging.

Secondary packaging should be part of the plan

The packaging used to ship products is referred to as secondary packaging. The main goals of secondary packaging are to protect products and provide brand messaging during shipping. Secondary packaging is also used for artful, eye-catching displays in storefronts and tasting room venues.

Similar to glass bottles, corrugated packaging has been negatively affected by supply chain issues during the pandemic. It’s important for wineries and other producers to implement forecasting processes that include their corrugated products along with bottle supplies. Basic corrugated packaging is taking as long as 20 business days for standard orders, while custom printed boxes can take up to six weeks. Boxes need to be sized correctly to fit bottles safely, ensuring both stack ability and shipping stability. Partitions should fit snugly and provide support for the filled bottles. It’s critical to strike a balance between the levels of packaging to keep products safe, looking great, and properly protected while also reinforcing the desired branding message you want to send.

Waterloo Container offers specialized expertise to meet your packaging and branding needs.

Box form and function are everything

Before customizing your outer packaging, it’s important to consider these key questions:

  • Will you be shipping filled or empty product in your boxes?
  • Will you be stacking your cased goods in your warehouse?
  • Can your box withstand the weight of a filled product stacked on top of it?
  • Is your box for display (perforated) or strictly for storage?

When making design decisions, it’s imperative to consider the sturdiness of the packaging. Boxes are constructed with layers in the walls and may contain single or double layers of corrugated material.

The “S” shaped arched of corrugated board help determine its strength and are referred to as flutes. Larger flutes, like A&B provide more strength, while D&E provide better printability and fold-ability. Box strength should be discussed with your corrugated team to determine the best combination of flute and construction to fit your project.

Certification stamps indicating box strength and ratings can often be found on the base flaps. Edge Crush Test (ECT) indications are included in the certification stamps and reference the maximum load the box can tolerate. Mail carriers and shipping services have specific design and strength requirements for all boxes that must be met.

Waterloo Container provides comprehensive master carton consultation to assist with this critical process.

Plain white, kraft or printed? The choice is yours

Corrugated boxes, referred to as content boxes, may be covered in plain white paper, or basic brown “kraft” paper. Otherwise, the box is a marketing canvas just waiting for your creative touch.

Custom print methods are available – and we can help

Ink Jet Print
  • Industrial Ink Jet Box Print   

With our industrial ink jet print services, we create basic imagery and text related to marketing or sales. Barcodes, dates, and product information can be printed while the box is moving through the line during repack or added after packing prior to palletization. Logos and basic graphics can be achieved within a defined printable space to create a more customized look.

If you’re looking to enhance your outer box in a cost-effective way, consider our ink jet print design. Waterloo Container offers this money and time saving service with or without re-pack. Industrial ink jet printed boxes can show off your brand logo or simple one-color designs to create a more custom look without the time and cost often associated with full color print or litho boxes. Box jet print services typically cost less than 50 cents per box (added to case or repack cost), yet create a custom look that is definitely shelf and floor worthy.

  • Direct Print

Direct Print, used for most outer case projects to achieve additional colors or complex graphics, must be printed on a press or inks added through screen cutouts. Custom tooling is required for these processes. Colors are screen printed or layered with custom dyes on a press and may require multiple passes of the corrugated material. Because these techniques require the creation of plates or screens and careful attention to image registration, they are more costly than basic print processes. It’s important to note that customizing your boxes this way can add as much as 2-3$ per box with repack into the printed box.

Custom Boxes can also be achieved using Digital print methods, which lay down ink and images directly onto the box. This is best suited to short runs.

Single Color Direct Print (Left) Multi-Color Direct Print (Right)
  • Litho Print

Litho Print processes create imagery on top sheets, which are then laminated on the box. This technique offers more color options and often results in a high-end appearance, but the multi-step process adds substantially to cost.

Cost for standard box print customization is typically based on:

  • Quantity of boxes ordered
  • Number of colors in the design
  • Amount of ink coverage on the box
  • Tooling requirements
  • Complexity of the artwork
  • Over the score ink lay down
  • Cost of corrugated material at the time of the print

Outer Box Innovations

The world of packaging constantly changes with advances in materials and technology, and outer boxes are no exception. With increases in direct-to-consumer shipping and mail order living, boxes need to be utilized to make a statement every step of the way. New techniques include printing inside of the box to preserve a clean look during shipping and elevation boxes, which push the product up toward the customer upon opening. The “un-boxing” experience has become part of more marketing plans and is a new, exciting consumer expectation.

Waterloo Container is here to help expand your box branding innovation.

  • Planning is Key

There are multiple variables affecting the overall cost of the outer package. Determining how you want your brand to be seen in the tasting room, on the sales floor, or at your customer’s door is a key step in evaluating the value of an outer package upgrade.

 “Nothing makes me more proud than walking into a liquor/grocery store and seeing my customer’s printed master carton project on an end cap displayed for customers to enjoy their liquid hard work,” notes Waterloo Container Sales Manager George Hall. “An eye catching master carton instantly generates interest in what’s in the bottle. After that, it’s up to the talents of the winemaker.”

Check out Waterloo Container’s industrial ink jet box printing and our entire array of package enhancing services at https://www.waterloocontainer.com/videos. To explore other custom box possibilities, contact the Waterloo Container team at 315-539-3922.


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