Art and beer go together like hops and barley. The design on a beer label has the power to sway beer geeks to try something they otherwise wouldn’t. So, we’re paying homage to Tavour’s Top 10 Most Popular Beer Labels of All Time and the artists who created them.
10. Crane Brewing – Guava Weisse
To display the 3D magic of origami on a 2-dimensional beer label takes skill, but artist Elsa Rhae (@elsarhae), coincidentally the sister of Crane’s head brewer, makes it look effortless. Using basic geometric shapes to display very specific details is part of the mystique behind origami — and Elsa captures this in the clean label that corrals all the text to the back of the bottle. Crane is one of the only breweries that Tavour has featured that uses origami-style art, and Elsa does it beautifully.
9. More Brewing Company – Razzimus Prime
For many beer fans, there’s nothing more nostalgic than the 1980’s cartoon series Transformers. More Brewing’s artists Max Bare and Melissa Sue Stanley (@maxbareart and @cicada_season) capture this feeling with an Autobot who looks like he just sucked on a lemon. The image lives on the label of a tart raspberry Sour Ale, so it feels quite fitting. Just don’t let the Decepticons know you’ve figured out the Autobot’s weakness!
8. Adroit Theory Brewing Company – Evangelion [XII Leliel Edition]
The self-proclaimed metalheads and comic book geeks at Adroit Theory are fascinated by demons, assassins, and all things related to the dark arts. The artist who designed Evangelion and many of AT’s labels goes by Raf the Might and is on Instagram as @Too_many_skulls. He absolutely nails Adroit Theory’s wicked persona with this devilish-looking skeleton king and his pet skeleton butterfly.
7. Mikkeller Brewing Company – Oh Hi Murk
You can spot a Mikkeller beer from its can art all the way across the bar. Their designer Keith Shore (@keithashore) often uses very similar-looking characters but alters them each time, giving them unmistakable features. “Oh Hi Murk” is the catch-phrase repeated by the main character in the film The Room. Those who have seen the movie will easily recognize Tommy in Mikkeller-ized form.
6. Evil Twin Brewing – Do You Have This I Love NY T-Shirt in My Size?
Evil Twin NYC not only has the longest, most hilarious, often New York-themed beer names — they use artsy photography that captures New York moments better than any words ever could.
For this one, Martin Justesen (@mjustesenny), the artist for all of ET’s labels, chose to display a collage of ‘I Love NY’ snowglobes in place of an actual T-shirt. The image instantly transports anyone who’s ever visited the Big Apple straight into one of the crowded, cluttered gift shops that line the streets of Manhattan.
5. Jester King Brewery – Das Wunderkind
The characters designed for Jester King by artist Joshua Cockrell (@jashuchashu) are so intricate, they’ve been compared to the animation of Studio Ghibli (Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, My Neighbor Totoro). Those high-tech goggles! That wind-blown hair! Those devious teeth! It’s clear this cartoonish gal is embarking on adventure.
4. Odd13 Brewing – Hop Hop Troll Troll
Colorado’s Odd13 is known for its comic book-style can art. For Hop Hop Troll Troll, artist Kyrie Boese (@sporatichromaticportfolio) recreated Danny DeVito’s character Frank from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia as an actual troll. The character is famous for the line, “You have to pay the troll toll.”
3. Brouwerij West – Bunny Fuku
Brouwerij West has some of the most unique art in the beer game. For Bunny Fuku, artist Craig Horky (@craighorky) created a double-headed panther, and Taylor Springle (@springlethings) designed the label, utilizing the silhouette of a rabbit with die-cut stickers. The two-headed panther on the can has parts of his face disjointed and restructured so much, it looks like a Salvador Dali painting that was recreated by a world-class graffiti artist.
2. Anchorage Brewing Company – The Elk Prince
Michelle Jack (@wolfskulljack_art) is the prolific UK artist behind many of the striking designs that adorn Anchorage Brewing’s beers. Her work on cans like The Elk Prince resemble the type of artwork found in an award-winning anime film.
Based in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, Michelle is a natural-born artist. She started to really focus on art at age 16 and went on to study Illustration in college. Fitting for Anchorage’s brand and the Alaskan wilderness, her fierce wildlife designs gained wide notoriety after being featured on the labels of beers like Endless Ending, Within Us, Six of Swords, and Lost Ghosts — and she’s even done artwork for the legendary metal band Metallica!
1. Trap Door Brewing – Issa Trap
This is the Inception of can art design. The image is a fusion of Admiral Ackbar from Star Wars and Rapper 21 Savage’s “Issa Album.” Digging deeper into the inspiration wormhole behind the design, you’ll note that 21 Savage sometimes produces “trap music” and the brewery is called Trap Door. So, the label is a display of trap on trap on trap on trap. Riley Bondurant’s art drew so much attention that even the rapper caught word of it. Unfortunately for fans, it was a one-time-only limited-edition print that will never be seen again.