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The Taste of Whiskey on the (Artificial) Tongue

(Artificial) Tongue LabelsLike most label manufacturers, one of our favorite jobs is making custom beverage labels for various types of drinkables. There's such a wide variety of them, from someone else's tap water (which is what most bottled water is) to sodas, beer, and hard liquor of all types. All such labels require at least an immunity toward frozen and liquid water and handling (except beer bottle labels, which everyone knows you're supposed to peel) but that's pretty much it.

Speaking of labels, we're well aware that there are outlaw label makers out there who are willing, unfortunately, to create counterfeit bottle labels for various products. This has become a huge problem for makers of Scotch whiskey, which to be official has to be made in Scotland, aged for three years and a day in oak barrels, and appropriately labeled. Scotch enthusiasts know very well what Scotch should taste like, right down to the flavors of the various brands. But some less finicky drinkers, used to the taste of Tennessee whisky, Irish whisky, rye, and other types of this potent elixir, may be fooled by counterfeiters who'll bottle any old whisky and label it as Laphroaig, Macallen, or Glenfiddich. 

This practice can cost the manufacturers of quality Scotch millions of dollars annually in sales. That's why scientists at the University in Glasgow have invented a highly effective, reusable electronic "tongue" that can easily taste the difference between various brands of whiskey, to the point of telling its age, brand, and differentiation between batches aged in different barrels. 

We think this is an excellent way to prevent bad guys from putting the wrong beverage labels on their whisky, or just refilling old bottles. But the best thing is, the 500+ aluminum and gold taste buds in these little rectangular "tongues" can also be used on any chemical mixture, so it can detect explosives, poisons, and water pollutants. It can also be used for quality control of anything in liquid form. In time, this will probably prove to be an even more important use of this technology; and when that time comes, we'll be ready to provide custom labels for any use, whether for beer bottles, whiskey bottles, wine bottles, or laboratory equipment.

Cannabis Labels — Not Just for Dimebags Anymore

Cannabis Labels Well, okay, few people ever used custom printed labels for their packaging back when cannabis products were of dubious legality, but what's a little poetic license among friends? The fact is, now that marijuana and other cannabis products are legal in much of the U.S. and Canada for medical and recreational use, cannabis has become just another commodity to be labeled. Now there are many types of packages that do need custom cannabis labels, with taxes to be collected, contents and ingredients to be declared, competition to deal with, and even special protections required for the packaging. Some states even need specific assurances of strength of the CBD or THC in the product. Because of those reasons, you can't just use any old label to ID or seal a package for many of these products; not to mention that cannabis oils can defeat many everyday product and sheet labels. This is true even for freezer labels, though ours are already prepared for this eventuality.

Nowadays, folks in most regions have at least some access to cannabis medications, creams, straight oils (for vape pipes, for example), candy and other confections, and even plain buds and other plant parts for making your own blunts. Many contain some level of oils that can erode not only paper substrates, but defeat the stickiness of adhesives. What you need is special plastic and metallic custom labels with oil-resistant adhesives that will still stick despite the inevitable spills and dribbles. It's a pain to be unable to tell your products apart just because a spillage made some labels slip off. 

At Etiquette Systems, we're fully aware of the needs for cannabis packaging, which we have provided since Nevada (and the rest of the West Coast) legalized recreational cannabis several years ago. We know exactly the kinds of substrates and adhesives you need to get the job done, whether you provide cannabis confections (including delicious baked goods), skin creams, or vape oils. We've also become aware of the need for labels with fold-over tabs to help you protect your products and ensure they remain sealed. Without them, some customers might open a jar for a free sample, which you definitely want to avoid. With these labels, we can help you tell whenever a package has been opened, protecting both you and your customers.

The cannabis label industry is fairly new, but we got in on the ground floor and can provide labels for every sort of product, including preparations for medical treatments. Even if your state has not yet legalized marijuana use at some level, we're poised to provide cannabis labels of all kinds when they do. Keep us in mind when your state finally gives you the option to use cannabis as medication, or for recreational use. We can have custom labels or blank labels for enterprising cannabis product manufacturers ready for you within days, at an excellent price.

No More Peanuts and Crackerjack

baseballpeanutsYou can still take yourself out to the ballgame, but anything with peanuts is now off the menu—at least in Dunkin' Donuts Park in Hartford, Connecticut. In a move some would call proactive precaution while others would label it protectiveness pushed too far, the park, home of Colorado Rockies AA team the Yard Goats, has banned all peanut products in a move to safeguard the health of people who, for literal fear of dying, have never set foot in a ballpark.

Peanut allergies are no laughing matter: just a little peanut dust, a small fragment of peanut, or a dab of peanut butter can cause an allergic individual to go into severe anaphylactic shock. The sufferer's own immune system attacks them, inflaming airways and closing them off in a matter of minutes, threatening suffocation. It's especially bad in young children, and while one can take precautions, a single Epipen—or even several—may not be enough to reverse the effect. It often takes hospitalization to save someone with an out-of-control peanut allergy reaction.

While I'm a big fan of peanuts and peanut butter, I understand the concern. Generally, allergy suffers are safe from most peanut products nearby (even in the next seat), as long as they don't ingest some of it—but dust from peanut shells can drift significant distances in an outdoor arena. That dust can be deadly.

For years, manufacturers have been required to create non-perishable food labels and freezer stickers warning consumers that products either contain peanuts, or were processed in a facility that also processed peanuts or tree nuts. While freezer labels rarely need the warning, it's common for baked goods, candies, and the like. 

While some minor and major league stadiums have peanut-free sections or peanut-free games (with thorough cleanings in between), Dunkin' Donuts Park is the first to outright ban peanut products. Some people think that going overboard, since the frequency of people with peanut allergies is somewhere about 1 in 100. But that works out to at least three million people in the U.S. alone —and the ban seems much more justifiable when it allows children to enjoy the great American pastime without risking their lives. 

Your Impossible Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It

burger freezer labelsJust when we were getting used to the idea of lab-grown meat that doesn't involve animal slaughter, someone comes up with completely vegetarian "hamburger meat" that looks, smells, and tastes just like the real thing, and includes all its protein, fat, and nutrients. What's a vegetarian who still craves the occasional slab of meat to do?

Impossible Burgers, manufactured by a company called Impossible Foods, use something called "heme" to mimic real meat's characteristics. It's the same natural compound that gives meat its flavor and smell as it cooks, though their heme is completely plant-based. It comes something called "leghemoglobin" found in soybean plant roots. If this all sounds familiar, it's because you may have heard of hemoglobin, a molecule in red blood cells. Hemoglobin latches onto oxygen and carries it to all the cells of your body, to help burn glucose, your body's primary fuel.

Looks like it may be time for us to start developing some kind of veggie label-meat label hybrid for frozen Impossibles before they hit the general market (our freezer labels are the best, after all). Of course, that may depend on how the FDA and other government agencies label the Impossible products themselves.

Impossible Burgers have been hailed as a safe alternative for vegans and vegetarians craving meat, and that's probably how it will be marketed. But PETA has already denounced Impossible Foods for their animal testing while developing the burgers. So while there may be no animal products involved, animal suffering occurred during the development, which would place it in the "non-edible" category for vegans. Some vegetarians, however, may be willing to try it. There really is no meat in these burgers.

Burger King is currently test marketing Impossible Whoppers in dozens of its St. Louis, MO outlets. The response has been positive among both meat-eaters and vegetarians who have tasted the Impossible Whopper, with most claiming they can't tell any difference at all between it and the meat version. So the good news is, it tastes great—it really does taste like real meat! That bodes well for home sales of Impossible products, as long as they're provided with durable freezer labels that make it clear that while they look, taste, and smell like meat, they're not.

Burger King has admitted that they use the same food production line for meat and Impossible Whoppers, so some contact with products containing meat will be inevitable. That contact may be minimal, but it's sure to turn off the few vegans who don't follow PETA's lead and who've been hoping for a good vegan fast-food burger. Some vegetarians may also be turned off, but given the minimal contact with real meat, most will probably be OK with it. We're eager to see how the testing turns out. 

As long as it's labeled properly, we suspect the Impossible Burger will be a hit at vegetarian restaurants, or other restaurants willing to use a separate processing/cooking line for vegetarian/vegan products. So we're ready when they and their inevitable competitors come calling, looking for great labels for their new products!

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