Crafting Beer Labels
We all know the cliché, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” In theory, that advice can be applied to beer as well but yet, we all ignore that saying. In reality, the cover (or in the beer industry, the label) is what sells the first can or bottle, while the contents sell the following case and create loyalty. It would be foolish to think the package doesn’t matter. The design wrapped around the liquid tells the story of the product and the company.
Stories are the foundation of human experience and connection and Portland, ME based artist Heidi Geist has quite the story. She is in the midst of a cross-country endeavor to explore and experience the American craft beer culture through label art. I had a great conversation with her about the 48 Beer Project, how it got started, what she is experiencing and the works she creates.
The saddest day of my entire beer-loving life arrived last spring when I opened the door of my old college dorm room beer fridge, and out came my only remaining bottle of 4 Hands Brewing Absence Of Light ’17. In slow motion, the bottle teetered out of the fridge, falling to its death just six inches below. I moved as fast as possible, but I could not catch the neck from slamming into the concrete floor, causing the glass to shatter, ejecting the brown, frothy goodness directly into laundry drain. The scent of Peanut Butter Stout wafted into the air as I stared down at the brown liquid disappearing into the abyss. It was a sad day. Needless to say, I replaced that fridge. But, I was afraid I could never replace that beer — until now.
In just over four years of operation, Broomfield’s 4 Noses Brewing has grown to become one of Colorado’s fastest rising young breweries, and last year announced full distribution throughout the state through distributor Elite Brands. The family-run brewery has already undergone a series of more subtle branding updates, but are now embarking on their most significant brand refresh to-date. We caught up with Marketing Manager Stacey McMahan to discuss what went into the updated can label designs.
Fred and Mira Lee had been married less than two weeks when they made what Mira refers to as “an unholy vow” to open a brewery in Columbus, Ohio. “I think there was a literal spit handshake,” jokes Mira as she reflects back on the challenge the couple set for themselves a little over five years ago. The pair were already accomplished homebrewers by that time, and had assembled a pilot brewing system nicknamed Amelia Beerhart in their garage, complete with a “surprisingly legit” analysis lab. In fact, when they decided to go pro, they started out doing yeast propagation and lab services for other breweries before brewing themselves. Actual Brewing began production in 2013, but they still offer lab services under the side business Hoax Labs.
When it came time for Yellow Springs Brewery in western Ohio to redesign their logo and cans, they wanted designs that would express both the experimental freedom of the brewery and the intricate, complex precision with which master brewer Jeffrey McElfresh crafts their excellent range of beers.
It’s the age old question – “which came first the beer or the label?”
The mystery that is this question takes a turn when it comes to Schlafly’s newest twist on its popular Hefeweizen. This week I got a first taste …