Favorite Beer Label/Bottle Art

Inspired by an article in Edible South Florida on beer label art, I thought I’d blog some of the best beer art I’ve seen. As with wine, a fancy label does not guarantee the quality of the libation, but oddly enough, it just so happens that most of the following beers are artful within the bottle as well!

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery – Dogfish Head puts a lot of consideration into its label art, to the point where its labels are among the most iconic in the business. Chateau Jiahu is a great one, known for its sexy yet classy rendering of a topless Asian woman holding a Champagne flute of the beer:

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales – All Jolly Pumpkin labels are glossy, colorful, and awesome, but I just love Oro De Calabaza’s idealized, paradisical tropical island setting with the treasure chest full of Oro:

Three Floyds Brewing – This Munster, Indiana brewery is known for its skull-crushing, beer-geek-salivating-over strong ales, but it also goes all-out with its trippy, cartoonish label art. Check out the label for Arctic Panzer Wolf, a Double IPA:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, Saint Somewhere Brewing out of Tarpon Springs, Florida was already mentioned in the Edible South Florida article. Here’s my favorite Saint Somewhere label, which just so happens to be my favorite Saint Somewhere beer, Saison Athene:

Southern California’s The Lost Abbey is another one of those breweries that slaps spectacular label art on pretty much all of its beers. The Witches Wit label, depicting a witch burning at the stake, was particularly controversial:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caldera Brewing out of Ashland, Oregon made waves for this somewhat painful-looking label for its “Vas Deferens” Belgian-style ale, the reference to male reproductive plumbing certainly intended:

Not all Great American Beer Label Art is absurd and cartoonish. The “Sisters” of venerable Goose Island in Chicago opt for a far more refined, wine-like presentation. Here’s the eldest Sister, Matilda:

 

 

 

 

 

 

You just have to love the vintage Blaxploitation motif of Sexual Chocolate, a highly sought-after Imperial Stout from Foothills Brewing Co in North Carolina:

 

 

 

 

 

 

While much of the best beer label art comes from American craft brewers, the Belgians occasionally get in on the act as well. Notable is the racy label of Rose De Gambrinus, an uncompromising raspberry lambic from the revered Cantillon:

Readers – what are some of your favorites?

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8 Responses to Favorite Beer Label/Bottle Art

  1. Nice collection. That Vas Deferens is just creepy, though…

  2. Rob says:

    Label Art is one of my favorite things, just short of the beer. One of my favorite bloggers on the subject is Greg from Pour Curator http://www.pourcurator.com/ I really like the Dogfish Art, even buying all of last year’s seasonal prints by Artist Marq Spusta. In addition he did the Damn Pimp print for them, Theobroma, Sahtea, and Hellhound.

    Besides those, I love Ralph Steadman who does the Flying Dog labels. And many many more. I also HATE shitty label art and outdated pieces of crap.

    Anyway, let them know at Abraxas about our love of art. LOL.

    • Yeah definitely – any of the DFH labels you mentioned are also among my favorites, to the point where I almost don’t want to drink them.

      Ahhhhh yeah…..I completely missed Flying Dog!

    • Tim says:

      This is a great list. I would really love to get more into label art. It is definitely as favorite of mine as well. Rob where can you buy prints like you were talking about? I just recently started a beer blog myself (www.goodhopbadhop.com) and I would love to get some more info if you guys have anything you’d like to share.

      • Rob would be the one to ask, he’s been doing this a lot longer than I have. I guess my own advice would be to write more often than I do…hehe

      • Rob says:

        Tim.

        Greg at Pour Curator, the link I put, is a definite must follow blog on the subject. As for where to purchase, I’m not really sure. Dogfish sells their seasonal series on their website. I bought all of Spusta’s in 2010 but didn’t find their 2011 seasonal artist that attractive, personally. I’ve been told that the 2012 artist should be announced soon. It’s a secret now, LOL.

        Beyond that I don’t really have any insider knowledge. Flying Dog brewery laughed their asses off at me when I asked if any Ralph Steadman prints are for sale. Check this quote from their PR department. “Hey Rob, I’m going to be brutally honest with you: We have original Ralph Steadman pieces here at the brewery, but we wouldn’t sell them even at gunpoint. That’s how much we love that sick, twisted, and brilliant troll of an Englishman.”

        Good luck.

  3. Tom Wilfong says:

    Magic Hat brewing usually has some nice label art. Something about #9 that just draws me in.

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