and recycled by consumers. There are also labels printed on
stone paper, a type of bio-plastic material that is both strong
Another green initiative the company has undertaken is to
review ways that it can reduce the waste sometimes associated
with the printing industry. One of the innovations to come out of
that is a program that uses leftover labels to create artwork that
the company plans to auction off to benefit community groups.
“Green initiatives are very important to us and a big part of
what we are doing with things like stone paper and recyclable
labels,” Sabatino said.
Even though it produces millions of labels per year, Altro
still considers itself something of a small player compared to
much more established companies in the label market. That said,
the company has enjoyed steady growth since it was founded
in 2019. Sabatino chalks that up in part to an effective digital
marketing strategy, knowledgeable account managers and the
word-of-mouth advertising it has received from a number of
Being associated with a number of award-winning craft
breweries hasn’t hurt either, he admits.
“We get recommended a lot,” Sabatino said, laughing. “Even
though (craft brewing) is a fairly large community, it’s still rela-tively
small in some ways. You get a reputation pretty quick.”
Altro is poised to get a significant bump in business in the
coming months. It is undergoing qualification as a preferred
supplier position for one of the largest packaging operations in
“It’s big for us, very big,” Sabatino said. “Some of the compa-nies
that are on that list have been around for 50 or 60 years. To
get qualified and be playing on the same field as them is a big
thing for a one-year-old company. It’s pretty nice to be able to sit
at the big kid table.”
Sabatino points out part of what has helped Altro to grow
its operation is the kind of relationships it has tried to cultivate
with its customers, especially those in the craft beer industry. It
has tried to foster a partnership with clients rather than simply
serving as an “order taker,” he says.
“Our team’s passion for our clients’ label technology, brand-ing
and graphic design is surpassed only by our love for their beer
and success. The breweries see that quickly and they trust us
because of it. We listen to their needs and the process is all about
teamwork and fulfillment. Our job is to maximize the success of
their product goals,” he said.
“In some cases they come to us and we don’t need to do much.
Our press operators just go to load it up and get it done quick.
Then there’s companies that come to us and say, ‘We want to
change our whole approach.’ We’ll hammer out ideas with them
and brainstorm and get a vibe for what they dig, learn everything
about them, and then our creative team gets started and we go
from there. At the moment we’re re-branding a vodka kombucha
and starting a wine series from scratch, it’s exciting.”
Altro Labels is a family-run business. It was co-founded by
Ata Naemi, who serves as the company’s managing partner, and
his sister Mahna, Altro’s sales director. Their uncle, Sam, who
worked in the printing industry in Europe for more than two
decades before emigrating to Canada, serves as the director
The company currently employs 18 full-time staff at its
14,000 square foot facility in North Vancouver, and is looking to
grow that number. It’s located in the Shipyards Brewery District,
home to several craft breweries including clients Beere Brewing
Company, House of Funk and North Point Brewing Co., making it
an ideal location for the fledgling label maker.
“It’s a community of great breweries and great food,”
Although craft beer is a huge part of Altro’s client base, it also
works with a number of wine makers and craft distillers as well
as cosmetics, food and beverage and pharmaceutical companies.
It also recently partnered with a flexible packaging company that
produces food products such as granola.
One of the company’s guiding principles is to support the
community it is part of. As part of its efforts to give back to the
community, it teamed up with a group of partners this past sum-mer
to produce Class Act, a craft beer released by the BC Beer
Awards. Altro sponsored the project and donated all of the labels
required for the one-time release. All proceeds from the project
went towards supporting people who have been marginalized by
systemic racism, sexism and homophobia.
“It coincided with a lot of the stuff going on in the U.S. at the
time. It felt very powerful and there was a huge response to that
beer online just because of what it stood for,” Sabatino said.
Altro also partnered with Bomber Brewing in 2020, as part
of a fundraiser to benefit Eastside Boxing. The business provided
all of the labels for a special limited run beer that was brewed by
the folks at Bomber. Proceeds from the project were used to help
the non-profit gym in downtown Vancouver provide exercise
programs to at-risk youth, individuals in recovery and women
who have experienced violence.
32 § POURED CANADA § www.poured.ca