You know how you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover – or choose a wine based on how appealing the label is? While we can all tell ourselves that it’s what on the inside that counts, I know I’m pretty interested in how things look on the outside, too. Maybe that’s just because I’m obsessed with Instagram. Either way, packaging unique beers in even more unique packaging is a great way for under-the-radar brewers to catch a customer’s eye. Here’s five that caught mine.
Marketing themselves as a “modernist” brewer of Bavarian craft beer, the cans really do match And Union’s aesthetic. They have an incredibly simple, minimalist design, holding an unfiltered lager, Bavarian weiss and pale ale. Featuring solid colors and clean, modern text, these cans prove that less really is more. And Union began in 2007, and currently works with four brewmasters from small, Bavarian family-run breweries to create traditional craft beer.
We’re loving the all-American feel of Automatic, the seasonal pale ale from Creature Comforts in Athens, Ga. If you happen to be in Georgia, swing by the brewery for a tour – it’s located in a warehouse that was formerly a Chevy dealership, making the whole experience American AF. We’re loving the charming illustrations on every can, promoting whimsical, delicious-sounding flavors like Tropicalia (an American IPA) and Tritonia (a Gose). The labels on the cans are illustrated by various artists, and turned into beer can-friendly designs by Young Athenians, a boutique design studio in Athens.
Fieldwork is based in Berkeley, CA, with a “focus on exceptional, honest beer-making.” The beer isn’t the only thing about this brewery that’s exceptional – the can designs are truly phenomenal. They’re artistic, intricate and eye catching, from the Hazy Train IPA (above) to Salted Cucumber (a farmhouse ale) to Caribbean Queen (a tropical sour).
An adventure earlier this summer led me to Finback in Ridgewood, a part of Queens I’d never been to. In this unsuspecting New York suburb lies a small brewery that is making some truly incredible beer, but what really caught my eye was their branding. The cans they use are truly works of art, featuring bright colors, bold graphics and clean text for varieties from Spill the Tea (an IPA brewed with green tea and watermelon) to Smooth Beats Miami (a coconut IPA).
Not only are the cans cool, but this NYC brewery is turning out some insane flavors of beer. The ones above are Twice Baked Potato, Fully Loaded Baked Potato (both imperial IPAs) and Taters Double Dry Hopped Pale Ale. Talk about carb-loading. If you’re not into savory-inspired beer flavors, the can designs for Topical Depression, a passion fruit IPA, and Swedes in Heat, a Kolsch flavored with citra, coconut and pineapple, are just as Instagrammable. Other Half’s cans are designed by Small Stuff NYC.
Get your beer canned while you wait at this Burbank brewery – no, seriously. With year-round offerings from West Coast IPAs to fruity sour beers, and a number of rotating seasonal brews, Verdugo West Brewing Co. is putting Southern California on the map for top-notch beer. Plus, where else can you drink a beer on tap (brewed on site) and then ask for it canned to order so you can bring some home?