You Can’t Judge a Beer by its Cover… Or Can You?
We would all love to say that the label on a bottle of beer is not important when we are deciding what to pick off the shelf but realistically that is not the case. Labels are hugely influential in our choices when it comes to beer and that is not necessarily a bad thing.
Take our new Wet Hop IPA bottle label (yes that’s right we are releasing the Wet Hop in bottles!). One thing that was super important to us was to use the bottle to note and honour the fact that this was a collaborative project with Josef Wittmann the Hop Farmer, we also wanted to recognise and portray the fact that it’s a special hand crafted release. To do this we decided to include both our brewmaster Richie’s and Sepp’s signatures on the bottle and a logo in the style of a wax seal as a sign of guaranteed quality.
Possibly the most important elements of any label are the colour and the material, we always print on a non glossy paper in order for the label to appear a little more classic and obviously for the Wet Hop IPA we went with green connoting freshness and in particular a brighter slightly yellower green to reference the Comet hops we used in the brew. Then going into more detail we have included 3 Elephants in a faded Indian scene above the words India Pale Ale as the animal is synonymous with India and particularly during the time the IPA was developed.
When you are deliberating over which brew to purchase in these wonderful shops the label is the only way that the brewery can communicate with you. The label gives them the opportunity not only to persuade you to buy the beer but also to inform you of what is inside the beer, what the style is, what the flavours are like and a lot of the time try to put across the personality of the brewery.
Looking at some other examples you can see that there are many different ways of successfully portraying a certain style or personality through a bottle label. The Kernel are a small brewery from South East London making some phenomenal beers and take the brewing process and particularly the ingredients involved very seriously. To that end as you can see below their labelling is incredibly minimal and always the same other than the style and ingredients.
Another example from London with an opposite but equally successful approach is the Beavertown Brewery. Beavertown use colour and cartoon like imagery brilliantly to make their beers leap out at you from the shelf, giving not only the brewery a personality but also the beers themselves. Beavertown have now committed to only releasing canned and kegged beer from now on. Their recent Lupoloids IPA can was possibly their boldest and most successful yet showcasing how the whole container can be the label.
Next up we have perhaps the most extreme way that a brewery can use their packaging to portray their personality and also to appeal to people who share similar passions. Base Camp Brewing from Portland Oregon use unique steel bottles decorated with maps and with names relating to camping and the great outdoors. This immediately allows you to understand the brewery and also gives you ideas of getting out into nature with a beer!
Lastly we are gonna go back to the past to look at an absolutely classic beer with a perfectly appropriate image. The Schlenkerla Brauerei from Bamberg is an uncompromising brewery specialising in smoky beers from southern Germany and as soon as you see the label you immediately know you are dealing with a classic! The typeface here is the dominant aspect, also by using the historic german style of framing there is no denying this is a traditional Franconian beer.
The interesting point to take away is that even though each brewery including ourselves is employing totally different methods the principle is the same, to seduce and inform the drinker. Every step of getting a beer to you is considered in order to try to help you get the right beer for the right time. Whether that is a fresh wet hop IPA or steel bottle of Pilsner to take white water rafting, there is a beer for every occasion.
Just to give you a helping hand here is a list of a few of our favourite bottle shops in Berlin, Tante Frizzante, VIPA Beer Store, Lager Lager, Biererei, Bierlieb, Getränkefeinkost, Hopfen und Malz, Bierlinie and Flaschenbiershop. Located around different parts of the city these wonderful shops will help you with all your drinking needs.
So next time you are in any of the wonderful bottle shops mentioned above remember, perhaps being aware of the labelling is a good thing, hopefully it will lead to you sipping on the perfect beer for your mood.