A while back, I was at a microbrewery with some friends when I noticed the labels on our independent (or craft, depending on who you ask) beers were actually mini works of art and kind of amazing. In fact, the images were interesting enough that I started researching the beer label design market and discovered beer art is a whole thing: there are articles calling out the top ten best designs, entire blogs devoted to the topic, and a book for sale on Amazon with over 200 color illustrations. Heck, even the Brewers Association is now getting involved in censoring the industry to make it more diversified.
It’s no wonder, really, when you think about it: with how popular the craft beer industry has become it makes sense that brewers need to find a way to compete with one another, and what better way to do that than through the first thing potential drinkers see?
I started to create my own list of “best beer label art,” but soon realized it would be near impossible for me to cut it down to a specific number. With that in mind, below you’ll find a list (in no particular order) of breweries that produce some of my favorite labels and a few of the artists they collaborate with to create them. Cheers to staying thirsty, y’all!
- Grimm Brothers Brewhouse: Loveland, Colorado
- Beachwood Brewing: Long Beach/Huntington Beach/Seal Beach, California
- Bottle Logic Brewing: Anaheim, California
- Dogfish Head Craft Brewery: Milford, Delaware
- Barley Forge Brewing Company: Costa Mesa, California
- Clown Shoes Beer: Ipswich, Massachusetts
- La Cumbre Brewing Company: Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Indeed Brewing: Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Smog City Brewing: Torrance, California
- Surly Brewing Company: Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Toppling Goliath Brewing Company: Decorah, Iowa
- Josh and Katie Emrich (Bottle Logic labels)
- Chuck U (Indeed labels)
- Ryan Cochran (Smog City labels)
- Tara McPherson (Fort and Chateau Jiahu labels)
- Jon Langford (Dogfish Head labels)
- Brandon Gallagher Watson
- Lamar Sorrento
Natasha Ganes is the co-founding editor of TreeHouse Arts. She is a graduate of Chapman University in Southern California, where she received her MFA in Creative Writing and MA in English Literature. She received her BA in English/Journalism from Madonna University in Michigan. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in Muddy River Poetry Review, Pyrokinection, quarter after, Elephant Tree, Poetry Pacific, No Strings Attached, and Every Writer’s Resource. Her nonfiction has appeared all over the place. Follow her IG (TMuffet) or visit her website: http://natashaganes.com