Happy Bjórdagurinn!

iceland beerIn 1920, the United States, in a fit of prudishness, voted in a total prohibition on the production and sale of alcoholic beverages. This was repealed in 1933, to the relief of taxpayers and tax-collectors alike. It happened that in voting for Prohibition, America was following a trend: right about that time, other countries had also voted for Prohibition, after a strong push by teetotalers who blamed alcohol for most social sins.

One such country was Iceland. For the hardy Northerners, Prohibition began in 1915… and lasted until 1989, at least for beer. The horror! Icelanders still celebrate the end of beer prohibition and the beginning of a new demand for beer labels as Bjórdagurinn, or National Beer Day. But in a nation where one in seven residents is a teetotaler even today, annual beer consumption per capita is a modest 9.1 liters… about a tenth of the U.S. total of 28 gallons. (Wait. Who’s drinking all my beer? I never drink that much!)

Icelandic Prohibition was a curious thing, because it began to be dismantled early on… for everything except beer. Wines went down in 1921 when Spain refused to trade for salted cod if Iceland didn’t buy their wines. Spirits followed afterward, since people were ordering them for legitimate commercial purposes in larger quantities than normal, so they could drink the excess. Other alcohol could be had for the price of a doctor’s visit, as it was prescribed for various ailments. But teetotalers drew the line at beer, which they felt was responsible for most of the country’s moral decay. Who knew a little spoiled barley could lead a country to turpitude?

Luckily, beer label makers still had work in Iceland, since something similar to beer was still legal: a 2.25% alcohol near-beer that gave you some of the flavor and little of the effect. It’s still the only kind of “beer” you can buy in Icelandic markets (but we’ll get to that later). It was also the main ingredient of bjórlíki (“beerlike”), a mix of the near-beer and spirits formulated to raise the alcohol level to 5%. This provided the effect of beer, though the flavor was wanting.

Meanwhile, there was some beer available in the country. But mostly, it was either homebrewed (a real your-mileage-may-vary endeavor), or you had to buy it at an international airport duty-free shop, which was a serious pain in the neck. Ironically, the airport beer was made in Iceland, but not for Icelanders!

And, of course, the occasional knowledgeable individual knew about “jacking.” This could be accomplished by putting near-beer in their freezer (or at least outside on a cold night!) to freeze out some of the water and up the alcohol content. Of course, a traditional bottle is insufficient here, since water expands when it freezes. Because that makes bottles explode, you’d need something like a Tupperware container to make the ice easier to remove, and the right freezer labels to mark your jacked beer.

Finally, in 1989, public sentiment forced the legality of beer. March 1, 1989 became the very first National Beer Day, when people countrywide enjoyed big, frosty mugs of pure beer in public for the first time in almost 75 years. Many celebrations were televised, and lasted well into the wee hours.

Even today, 30 years later after the end of Prohibition, there are still some limitations on beer. You can’t just run by the 7-11 or Circle K to grab a six-pack. True beer is sold only in government-run liquor stores called Vínbúðins. But that’s way better than nothing!

We’ll happily help you out with beer labels for your latest Icelandic craft brew, and freezer labels for your jacking process if you can’t get to the Vínbúðin —or any other kind of freezer labels, for that matter. Contact us for a quote!

I Love the Smell of Wort in the Morning

Craft Beer

 

Let’s talk craft beer.

We assume that if you’re too particular to drink the sex-in-a-canoe brew that Big Beer has flooded the market with, you’re a thoughtful beer drinker more interested in taste than tipsy. Given the palates of most Americans, that puts you in the ranks of the fortunate few. Let’s face it: you’re a beer snob. But at least you’re not a wine snob. What is it with hipsters and spoiled grape juice, anyway?

Snob or not, we figured you might be interested in the process of how brewers make these beers. There are some intricacies involved with some of them that complicate the issue, so we’ll just do a high-level overview.

As you probably know, it all starts with malt. But do you even know what malt is? (If you were wondering: it is, in fact, the same ingredient that turns your shake into the semi-frozen confection affectionally called the “malt,” short for “malted milk.” It’s also used in Whoppers candy and other malted milk balls). Malt is a grain, usually barley but sometimes wheat, that the brewer has allowed to sprout. Ideally, it should sprout until the new plant is twice the length of the barleycorn.

At that point, the grain is roasted and ground. As with coffee, the darker the roast, the darker the beer. The brewer boils and mashes the malt in water to produce the wort (pronounced “wert”) that eventually becomes beer. In the old days, the different types of beer were distinctive because of the quality of the local water. This is less of an issue now that we can easily filter or distill the water.

Speaking of distilling, some heathens add yeast to the mash, let it ferment, and then distill it to produce various types of whiskey. But true connoisseurs boil the wort with hops, introducing a bitterness that offsets its natural sweetness. (Beer without hops is ale, though even brewers rarely use that term accurately.)The boiling process requires at least an hour for the hops and malt to chemically react enough to produce fine beer. After the wort cools to room temperature, the brewer adds sugar to give it an extra alcoholic boost as it ferments. Then it’s put into a fermenting container along with a bit of yeast. Fermenters include a one-way airlock that lets most of the carbon dioxide produced by the yeast escape. When the bubbling stops, the beer is ready for bottling and aging(at least a week) before drinking. The carbonation comes from residual fermentation after a little more sugar is added.

One final note: wort ferments because all those yeast beasts multiply like mad and eat the starchy molecules of the malt and the sugar, converting it into CO2 and the longer-chain hydrocarbons we call “alcohol.” The more fuel for the yeast, the longer fermentation lasts, and the stronger the final product. When the fuel is gone, the yeast spores up and falls to the bottom of the container, clarifying the beer.

Just wanted to make it clear that that the ambrosia we all love basically consists of yeast poop and farts.

I’m sure you’ll agree, though, when we say, “Ehhhh, so what?”

Isn’t It About Time You Got Some Real Freezer Sheet Labels?

freezer-sheet-labelsThere are plenty of substandard freezer sheet labels out there. You know the ones: they get mushy when moisture invades your freezer, so you can’t read what’s on your write on freezer labels, or the so-called “freezer labels” have adhesives that deaden when wet or cold, meaning they fall off in your freezer. Isn’t it lovely to have to peel open packages because all the freezer meal labels have fallen off, and you have no idea what the heck is in them? How do you like having to re close the packages after you figure out your latest try is that ancient slice of wedding cake instead of your chicken Parmesan from last week?

Bet you wish your cheapy self adhesive freezer labels were really the waterproof frozen stickers they claimed to be, huh? By now, you may be so frustrated that you’re asking yourself, “Where can I buy freezer labels that actually do what they’re supposed to?!” We hear from people who’ve been fooled by poor quality freezer adhesive labels everyday, and we have to show them that there really is a place to buy freezer labels that do the job right. The proof, they say, is in the pudding; and once they’ve experienced our freezer sheet labels, they know they’ve found the best place to buy freezer labels, period.

We can provide blank write on freezer labels, other freezer sheet labels to be printed using frozen label templates, or custom printed labels for large batches of commercial products. The blank sheet labels go out quickest, but even the ones we print for you will be done quickly and shipped to you by overnight mail.

Isn’t it about time you got some real freezer sheet labels? Why put it off any longer? We eagerly await your request for a quote, and you can be sure we’ll reply ASAP.

Vegans and Violence?

Vegans and ViolenceThough we sympathize with vegans and understand their stance, we also believe in freedom of choice when it comes to whether one eats meat. In fact, Freezer-Labels.com makes some of the best meat labels in the business. It’s just part of our commitment to provide quality freezer labels to the whole food-processing industry.

Vegans are vegetarians who believe in using no animal products at all, from wool for sweaters to leather and meat products, and we salute their dedication to their cause. Their entire philosophy is based on avoiding cruelty and violence to animals. That’s why we were so shocked recently when international news from France reported that some small French butchers have recently been the target of militant vegans who have broken windows and vandalized their shops.

To be clear, these aren’t meat-packers or slaughterhouses we’re talking about. We oppose those places of misery on principal ourselves. Nor are they striking large supermarkets where most people buy their meats. No, these protestors are hitting small family-owned butchers with no real capacity to either defend themselves or strike back. Ironically, it’s these neighborhood shops, with their close-knit clientele and hardworking owners, who obtain meat from dedicated farmers and rangers who slaughter their animals in small numbers, as humanely as possible. In many cases, these markets know exactly when the animals were born, how they were raised, what they were fed, and when they were slaughtered. One butcher featured in a National Public Radio story displayed a fresh, well-inspected side of beef covered with meat labels and stickers proving the meat’s origin. There was even a picture of the cow while alive displayed.

Now, people like this gentleman, who’s been building his business for almost 20 years, are fearful for their livelihoods… and their lives.”Militant vegan” seems a painful oxymoron to those of us with sympathies for the cause. It’s one injury or death away from “terrorist.” Local vegan organizations have condemned the attacks, but of course they can’t control all vegans, nor do they speak for them all.

Within very broad limits, no one has the right to dictate what another person eats. Nature made humans omnivores, able to eat anything. It’s up to individuals to overcome their willingness to eat meat. Gentle persuasion is fine; damaging the livelihoods of small business people and their families is not. In fact, the tactic is likely to backfire.

It may take time to win most people over to veganism, but let’s remember, it’s their choice. We’re happy to keep making meat labels, but if people decide they don’t want them anymore, we can shift to other products easily enough.

But we’ll only do so when people make that choice on their own, not when fear forces them into it. We’ll be adding our voice to the general condemnation of these militant vegans—while hoping no one in America is foolish enough to emulate them.

The Importance of Meat Labels

freezer-meatMeat labels are a relatively recent addition to human civilization, a tool that most people use regularly whenever purchasing food. It should go without saying that in order for food labeling to work, we have to trust it implicitly. In order to gain that trust, most jurisdictions rigorously regulate food products, especially meat and meat labels. But sometimes things go wrong, as demonstrated by a recent case in Bengal Province, India.

In May 2018, police in the city of Kolkata raided a number of meat providers and discovered that they were passing off rotten meat to their customers that had, in many cases, literally been dug out of the garbage! One provider had 20,000 kg (44,000 lbs) worth of rotting carcasses in its freezers, which it was processing and packaging for sale to local restaurants and food stores. In some cases, the processor was using packages with labels from legitimate, well-trusted processors so that those who bought it wouldn’t question its quality. They legitimate processors were not associated with those meat packers in any way. It isn’t clear how the rest of the meat was packages, but obviously the meat labels were falsified—if they had any.

Kolkata restaurants soon reported that sales of meat-based dishes had dropped by up to 60% or more. For a while, people avoided all meat except chicken; then it came to light that some providers were selling rotten chicken too, and the sales of chicken plunged as well. Vegetarian dishes became popular. Two months later, the sales of meat dishes still haven’t risen to normal levels. Meat sales in butcher shops and food stores have also dropped sharply.

Sadly, reporters later learned that food safety in Bengal has been compromised for years, and that the government agency tasked with overseeing food quality, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, was quite aware of this. In 2014-2015, tests of 120 food samples showed that over half of the samples had been adulterated in some way. What the FSSAI had done about the issue, if anything, is still unclear.

The emphasize how bad the situation was, the perpetrators were literally picking up carcasses of dead animals from garbage dumps after they were dropped off. At one landfill, they even had a person on the inside who let them know when someone dumped an animal carcasses. So far, at least ten people have been arrested, and one is missing. Apparently, he fled to neighboring Bangladesh.

Local restaurants and stores have made a concerted effort to check their meats to make sure they bought none from the providers implicated in the scandal. Some have gone so far as to publish the sources of their meats in public forums. However, the tainted meat was definitely sold throughout Kolkata and elsewhere in India, and even abroad; so some of the restaurants and grocers have in fact been feeding it to customers, however unwittingly. How long it will take for the local populace to regain their trust in local restaurants and stores remains to be seen.

The Kolkata scandal emphasizes the importance of high-quality meat labels that follow government standards—and why you should never buy meat products that lack such labels. As annoying as some government labeling requirements may be, the reasons for their existence is clear when something like this happens. We depend on meat packers to be up-front and honest about the quality and freshness of their meats, and to tell us the use-by date. When that trust is violated, it’s hard to know what to think… and all meat becomes suspect.

If it could happen in a cosmopolitan city like Kolkata, it could happen anywhere. So be sure to stick with a top-notch label provider for your top-quality meats, because if your market loses faith in your products, you may never get it back.

The many uses of cryogenic labels

As proud as we are of all our freezer labels, we know that some of them aren’t sufficient for truly deep levels of cold, like those found in cryogenic medical or scientific laboratories. That’s why we also offer a line of cryogenic labels, both blank and printed to your specifications.

These specialty freezer labels are almost as interesting as what they label, being as far beyond our regular frozen vegetables and ice cream labels as those freezer labels are beyond everyday normal-temperature labels. Cryogenics labels must be extremely durable, with cold-fighting materials including a very high-tack adhesive that the cold won’t touch—one that can, in fact, be applied in very low-level temperatures. Ours at Freezer-Labels.com can easily handle temperatures down to -112° F (the freezing point of dry ice, a.k.a. solid carbon dioxide) without slippage or breaking, and can be applied to almost any standard surface at temperatures down to -20° F.

That’s pretty impressive… but what’s really cool is what they’re used for. Scientific equipment, from freezers to test equipment, are common targets; so are the test tubes that go in those freezers. Often, these contain biological materials, like tissue samples and genetic samples. All biological activity ceases at -136˚ C (-213˚ F), and it slows way down prior to that; some samples can be revived, but others are preserved for further study.

Some hopeful people have even elected to be frozen after death, just in case they can be revived and cured of whatever killed them at some time in the future. The oldest known cryogenically frozen person passed away of cancer that had metastasized to his lungs in 1967. At the time, that wasn’t treatable. While it is now, there’s still no guarantee that he could beat it, and in any case we’re not quite sure how to thaw someone out and bring them back to life quite yet. The “antifreeze” this gentleman was injected with at the time was crude, and many of his cells have no doubt ruptured due to ice crystal formation. That said, he’s remained frozen solid for over 50 years. Maybe someday, nanotechnology may help revive him. One thing we do know is that, having been moved several times during his death, he probably has a nice collection of cryogenic labels by now.

Sperm, eggs, and even embryos are also stored in fertility clinics by people who want to have children and have trouble doing so the normal way. Animal samples of the same materials are also frequently frozen for experimental or reproductive reasons. Such samples also need dependable cryogenic labels. As you can imagine, any slippage or loss of tack of such cryogenic labels would be nothing less than catastrophic. These particular freezer labels also need to be able to adhere to all sorts of materials, including steel, aluminum, cold-resistant plastics, glass, and whatever other materials scientists use or may yet invent for cryogenics use.

Very cold temperatures are also effective for studying some electrical reactions in metals. At extremely low temperatures, some materials become electric superconductors, which are crucial to supercomputers and other electronic devices. Until we can reliably produce room-temperature superconductors, the equipment these scientist use will need dependable cryogenic labels.

The History of Meat Labels

Meat labels as they currently exist don’t have much of a history, really, not even compared to other food labels. After all, commercial freezers and fridges didn’t come onto the scene until about a hundred years ago, so there was no need for freezer labels and refrigerator labels at all. Until then, people reserved most meat products in other ways.

Back in the ancient days, a “meat label” was basically its appearance and smell. You could pretty much tell all you needed to know from that, including the meat’s freshness. Sometimes there were a few color changes involved, but hey, you can’t let that slight green color put you off! All it takes is a few minutes in a fire to sear that away, and it adds to the flavor. Never assume that our ancestors were too proud to eat whatever they found lying around if it didn’t eat them first, or to wait patiently in the bushes for hours, until the lions or wolves finished up. before gathering the leftovers.

In time, we discovered meat preservation techniques like drying, smoking, and salting—coincidentally about the same time our lifespans suddenly increased. Even then, meat labels amounted to, at most, the different colors of bags you put your pemmican, summer sausage, and jerky into. Still, it was better than nothing.

About two hundred years ago, at the beginning of the Industrial Era, true meat labels finally showed up. Manufacturers needed these paper-and-glue inventions to tell people what was (supposedly) in the cans, tines, jars, and wrappers they were selling. Later, as governments caught on, they made the packers put more detailed meat labels on their packages, including all the ingredients, the origins of the meat, and eventually even its nutritional value. After 1913, when people could buy their own refrigerators, label scientists had to wrack their brains to invent new freezer stickers and refrigerator labels that remained stuck to the containers as temperatures plunged and moisture attacked the paper and glue.

The result is the glorious freezer label of today. In addition to classy meat labels, we have all the other necessities as well: popsicle labels, ice cream labels, pizza labels, sausage labels, and even frozen vegetable labels. Modern meat labels include not only the regulatory verbiage inherited from their ancestors, but also items included to make the product appeal to more customers. Aside from instantly recognizable logos, this can include images of varying scrumptiousness, notices that the meat comes from a sustainable population (for seafood labels), warnings about allergies (usually seafood labels again), and whether the meat is Halal (meets Islamic dietary laws) or Kosher (meets Jewish dietary law).

The future looks bright for meat labels, as long as there’s enough room to keep adding new gimmicks and info to draw people in. Got more questions? Ask us at Freezer-Labels.com!

Colorful, Dependable Freezer Stickers

Ever since humans have been humans, preserving food for the long term has been a problem. Oh, it was easy when you lived in the Arctic Circle, especially in the winter. You could just put it outside. Even in the fall and spring, it was cold enough to preserve your seal and caribou meat for days. And unless you could get up the courage to hunt a polar bear, and lived to tell the tale, that’s pretty much all you’d have to eat. There was a way you could “preserve” vegetables, but it was kind of secondhand. Since people were no good at finding vegetation, it involved letting caribou do it for you, then hunting the caribou and removing it from their stomachs during, er, processing. Then you could preserve it in the cold. Or eat it. No kidding: Eskimos used to love to eat the stomach contents of caribou, because they never got and vegetable foods.This may sound gross and wrong, it’s been 100% proven by anthropologists. After all, wouldn’t you get pretty tired of eating five or ten pounds of meat a day just to get your recommended daily allowance of essential vitamins and minerals, especially Vitamin C?Who says you can’t learn anything useful by reading food blogs, eh?

Refrigeration was actually invented in the late 1800s, but it required a huge building for all the equipment necessary. At Fort Sill in Oklahoma (another fun fact), there’s a historic building about the size of a football field that was built back in the 1880s to make ice for the troops. It took all that space to make enough ice for a few glasses of ice tea each. Like computers, refrigerators and icemakers have seen an amazing amount of miniaturization over the years. And because freezers and refrigerators have become much smaller and in much more common use, so have freezer stickers and refrigerator labels for products as diverse as carrot sticks, ice cream, and pate de fois gras.

Freezer label scientists have spent a long time learning the best ways to make decent freezer stickers that will live up to both parts of their name. Freezer stickers with labels that deaden in the cold were weeded out pretty quickly, as were freezer labels made of papers or plastics that couldn’t handle the cold or inevitable moisture. Now freezer stickers worthy of the name (ours) can handle temperatures down to sixty degrees below zero, which you should never have to worry about exceeding, and they shrug off moisture with a sneer. Well, they would sneer if they weren’t inanimate glue, paper, and ink. But you get the idea.

Beware: you can still get so-called freezer stickers that really aren’t, and will likely fall off before you can say “Jack Frost.” To avoid that, contact us at Freezer-Labels.com. We’ll get you the solid, dependable freezer stickers you need for a great price—and very quickly, too.

Ice Cream Labels as Wonderful as Your Products

Wonderful is as wonderful does, and while ice cream labels must be wonderful in order to do their job, they’re not wonderful in quite the same ways as ice cream. They shouldn’t be vulnerable to a spoon, for example. They can’t exactly melt in someone’s mouth (glue and paper don’t have a tendency to do that anyway). They probably won’t be sweet, although we could add flavorings to the adhesives and make you lick them. But then they wouldn’t be peel-and-stick, and that would defeat the purpose of freezer sheet labels. They won’t even help cool someone off, so matter how cool they look.
So let’s take tongue out of cheek. What makes an ice cream label wonderful? Ruggedness. Durability. The ability to stay stuck on your product packages at temperatures way below freezing. The ability to hang on despite repeated coverings and removal of frost as people check the label and keep opening the freezer. All these are markers of any decent freezer labels, but they may be even more important for ice cream labels. After all, this is a high-demand product here, much more so than frozen broccoli or brussels sprouts. Those kinds of frozen food labels are important too, of course, otherwise Moms all over the country wouldn’t know what to buy to torture their children with. Ice cream labels, however, will also charm the money out of the pockets of those kids, who need something sweet to get the flavor of cruciferous vegetables out of their mouths.Helpful hint: despite the recent popularity of experimental ice cream flavors, we do not recommend marketing brussels sprout or broccoli ice cream wholesale. While recipes for broccoli ice cream do exist (despite the kid’s song that declares it Yucky), and so do recipes for brussels sprouts ice cream, that’s only because with the Internet and 7 billion people in the world, everything does.

We’d have to think long and hard before we filled an order for broccoli ice cream labels, but we have to admit we’d probably do it anyway. That’s because everybody knows Freezer-Labels.com is the place to go when you ask yourself, Where can I buy freezer labels?” And where would you go for the world’s best printed freezer labels and write on freezer labels if we turned you away?

Never let anyone say we we’re not willing to take one for the team.

Only the Best Frozen Yogurt and Smoothie Labels

Making frozen yogurt and smoothie labels may seem like a niche market to you, and in fact it is. But it’s not as super-specialized as you may think, so there are plenty of sales opportunities for these specialized freezer labels.The truth is, frozen yogurt and smoothie labelsoffer some special challenges that make them more difficult to produce than some other frozen food labels. You can’t just use any old sheet label from the office supply store, and even some actual freezer food labels won’t do.The bestrefrigerator labels and freezer stickers are made with materials that can handle not just the cold, which is the top issue for all freezer labels, but also moisture and frost build-up, which can kill adhesive tack and, in some cases, simply ruin the materials the labels are printed on. Customer service and response time is also important when it comes to frozen yogurt and smoothie labels.

We make our labels in-house, on our own high-tech, dependable press, so we can deliver them quickly, and since we specialize in freezer labels, you can count on us to know them inside and out: every requirement, every quirk, every weird effect cold and moisture can have on otherwise dependable materials.

Even more than most freezer labels, frozen yogurt and smoothie labelsare susceptible to moisture, which can turn poorly-made paper labels to mush, or cause labels with low tack to slough off. Frozen yogurt is typically sold like ice cream, in other open coolers or glass-doored refrigerators. Both tend to draw in outside air, with the moisture in it condensing into either water or, more likely, frost.

Again, low-tack “freezer labels” can’t handle this. Smoothies may have it worse. When they’re made and poured into cups with labels slapped on,condensation immediately begins as the ambient moisture collects on the cup and starts pouring down it in little streams. This can render the label unreadable, damage its structural integrity, or cause it to slide off if it’s poorly made.

The solution is clear: no matter how good the deal, check the specifications before you buy your frozen yogurt and smoothie labels — or any other freezer stickers, for that matter. If the provider can’t or won’t provide the paper and adhesive specs immediately, go elsewhere. That’s not something you’ll have to worry about with Etiquette Systems. We have nothing to hide or be ashamed of, so you’ll have your specs right away. We’ll even tell you if you don’t ask!

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