Since I started writing about beer I've covered hop farming and hotels, restaurants, and style revivals. I've interviewed brewmasters and I've reviewed beer books. Well, as of this year, I'm proud to say that label art can also be added to the list of topics. In the current issue of Northwest Travel magazine I contributed a short piece entitled "The Art of Jubelale," a so-called "festive winter ale" that Deschutes Brewery of Bend, Oregon has made for the last 25 years. The story isn't about the beer though, it's about the packaging.
I wish I'd been given a longer word count, but editors decide these things, not hungry freelancers like me. I do however touch on the origins of the brewery's annual tradition and note the unique supplies used by this year's artist, Kaycee Anseth Townsend. Named "Revelers and Troubadours," it's bound to end up in the Jubel Hall of Fame at some point in 2013. Researching the story, I wondered how many other painters, illustrators, and cartoonists have found work in the beer industry. Plenty of other craft brewers rely on artists to convey something about the hoppy liquid inside their bottles, hoping a humorous, unusual, or arresting image will entice shoppers to part with hard earned cash. Some breweries even create the art themselves (here's looking at you, Pretty Things).
So which label art, holiday-themed or otherwise, stands out from the rest in your opinion? What about the design jumped off the shelf to you, and did you end up buying the beer? List your favorites in the comments section.