Beers + Branding

Studio 424 reviews their top 5 beer labels

Beer is staple in design studios and hip startup offices across the country. Chicago is a mecca for great craft beer and millennial-run startups, so it makes sense that we’re indulging in quality beer on the regular. We decided to join our love of beer with our love of branding, and give you a neat listicle of our top five picks for coolest beer brands.

1. Forgotten Boardwalk Brewing

This brewery hails from New Jersey, and invokes the carnivalesque past of the Jersey Shore boardwalks. The focus of the label, a feral cat, reminds us of gypsy fortune telling machines, and the identity nods towards prohibition-era Americana and esoteric iconography.

2. Hitachino Nest

This Japanese brewery, Kiuchi, started as a sake brewery and morphed in to an award winning beer company. The owl is a popular Japanese symbol and Hitachino’s playful, cartoonish mascot has become iconic, featured on every bottle of their Nest beers. The hand-drawn type gives it a quirky, rustic quality.

3. Vocation Brewery

Black backgrounds, white illustrations, and colorful typography make Vocation Brewery stand out. Each beer has custom illustrations and a bold, identifying color. These labels have clean line illustrations, clean type, and are more designed — but still edgy. Quite different from the standard grungy labels that you see on most craft beer bottles.

4. Red Stripe

The diagonally running white script, “Red Stripe,” is set on a bright red bar, printed on uncoated white adhesive paper. Wrapped around a classic brown bomber bottle, it’s all of three colors. This brand shows extreme restraint, both in color and design elements. Immediately timeless, this beer’s identity feels just as visually relevant today as anything else on the market.

5. Flying Dog

Controversy aside, Flying Dog’s labels feature fantastical, nightmarish illustrations from Ralph Steadman. Friends and collaborators with Hunter S. Thompson, the brand’s artwork is truly unique in the industry. These labels don’t look designed as much as they look like the kind of visions you’d have after drinking a few too many 9.2% porters.

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