Beer Labels: Reach for a Cool One

As craft beer booms, label design is the liveliest blend of folk art, graphic design, and local subcultures in the American food scene.

Full Steam Summer Basil

Full Steam Summer Basil

A Bit of Restraint 

Breweries are often small, overworked, and cash-strapped. Labels with fewer colors cost less but can look terrific. Durham, North Carolina’s Fullsteam Brewery works in a clean, hip, retro-with-a-twist lithograph style. Who’s that guy? He’s a “semi-fictitious steampunk plantation owner,” of course.

Artist: Kurt Lightner

 

Ipswich IPA

Photo: Randy Mayor

Ipswich IPA

Old-Timey

If there’s one industry that has earned its right to historical allusions, it’s this one. Beer is part of our founding history. Brewers like Ben Franklin and Sam Adams took time between draughts to make a nation. Massachusetts-based Ipswich evokes the state’s deep coastal heritage with elegant drawings of sailing ships on its line of ales.

Terrapin Rye Pale Ale

Photo: Randy Mayor

Terrapin Rye Pale Ale

Critters 

Animals sell everything in America (airlines, trucks, investment advice), so why not beer? There are several genres, including sport fishing (beauties from Ballast Point Brewing Company). But no critters are more adorable than the turtles that play banjo, kayak, and chop hops on the labels of Athens, Georgia’s Terrapin Brewing Company.

Artist: Richard Biffle

 

Fegley’s Amber Lager

Photo: Randy Mayor

Fegley’s Amber Lager

Labor Rights

There’s a reason the term “artisanal beer” never caught on: Beer remains a blue-collar drink of the people, crafted with industrial tools over big hot fires. Labels often celebrate the heroic worker in art that nods to WPA themes or even Eastern Bloc Solidarity posters.

Artist: Alex Clare

 

 

Ska True Blonde Dubbel

Photo: Randy Mayor

Ska True Blonde Dubbel

Comic Labels

Brewing is cool, but most brewers are giant nerds; one of the greatest honorifics in craft beer is “beer geek.” For label design they look to tattoo artists, sci-fi and fantasy illustrators, and comic artists—comic art having made its way all the way to the top of our culture by now.

Artist: Matt Rousseau

 

 

 

Printed from:
http://www.cookinglight.com/entertaining/wine/craft-beer-labels-00412000078356/