More Beer, More Art

Walking through the beer section of my local Wegmans, I was struck by how many “craft” beers there are. If you’re not familiar with Wegmans, it’s a super market chain which, in some locations, has an extensive selection of beers. With so many craft beers collected in one place, I couldn’t help but notice how many of the bottles have striking artwork on their labels. Take Flying Dog, for instance, whose packaging and bottles have illustrations by the well-known artist, Ralph Steadman — most famous for illustrating several of Hunter S. Thompson’s books, as well as the most recent book by Anthony Bourdain. Take a look:

And here are some nice illustrations for Founders, Weston, and Left Hand:

And these are but a few examples of beer art. I’m glad to see skilled artists making more income from the rise of the craft beer industry but why the need for art? You don’t see a lot of great art employed in selling Miller, Bud, or Coors. It seems that having good packaging/label art is a relatively inexpensive way of making your beer stand out on the increasingly crowded craft beer shelves. The book publishing industry figured this out a long time ago with respect to book cover art. And since I like good art even more than I like good beer, I’m glad to see that the rise of craft beer has apparently created more opportunities for artists to get paid and people to discover their art. Just remember that old line about judging books by their covers…