Craft beer: a growing world of brilliant packaging design

Beer. This ancient beverage has undergone a true revolution in recent years. With smaller, artisan companies and “microbreweries” popping up all over the globe, the days of Budweiser being the “King of Beers” are long gone, and its simple script typography design is too. Just as craft beer explores new, more experimental flavors, it has opened up an amazing niche for vivid and off-beat packaging design.

The following selection of beer labels and packaging designs is sure to inspire you to grab a pen (and maybe a drink).

Many small breweries, such as 21st Amendment Brewery in San Francisco (above), have embraced the idea that the complex craftsmanship of their beer should be matched by an equally complex craftsmanship of design. The result: beautiful, finely illustrated packaging that also manages to carry the tone and personality of the company.

The enchanting design for Australian brewer White Rabbit (below) could work as well between the pages of a book as it does on a beer label.

White Rabbit

This winning design by Stefaaan is another awesome example of detailed illustration:

On the opposite side of the spectrum, some companies have embraced an elegant minimalism in their design. Take a look at these three pared-down labels:

Work Beer

From left to right:

1) a concept label naming beer’s four necessary ingredients, this design speaks to the clean, organic nature of the product with its simplicity of design

2) the stylish typography of Kudos beer takes the product away from the typically masculine territory, into a cool gender-neutral zone

3) this unusually shaped label for Work beer takes the form of a thin, angular strip recalling an assembly line or tool kit, and a back label modeled after an old-fashioned hourly punch card. “For a job well done.”

In a similar vein, this design by kreative kreature suggests a clean, back-to-basics sensibility and the following design by elan.noel.design has a funky, old-time feel:

kreative kreature

In between these extremes, there are more styles than we could possibly count. The Soviet poster style of Bear Republic Brewery is a bold example of masculine appeal, and the Jaguar Pale Ale label for Cerveceria Hacienda is a more tranquil but equally eye-catching alternative:

Bear Republic

On the subject of animal-based beer labels, this design for Wheat Monkey by ukreeduk is pretty excellent, too:

Seen any other cool beer labels lately? Share them in the comments!

Alex Bigman is liaison to 99designs' awesome community of graphic designers. He is a recent grad of UC Berkeley, where he studied history of art and cognitive science.
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7 Comments

  1. Ledevil

    Alex – this is cool creative work – I mean really hard works – I like it

    Reply March 20, 2012 at 6:55 pm
  2. Stefaaan

    The Time Traveler label contest was a spinoff of the logo that :: scott :: did for them.
    I wouldn`t have done it without the help of his great design.

    Cheers

    Reply March 21, 2012 at 5:55 am
  3. Michael Simpson

    There are some brilliant pieces of illustration and design here, just goes to show that brewing is alive and kicking. For any enthusiasts that might want to brew or make there own wines/spirits you might want to check these ebooks out:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=james+newton+beer+wine+and+spirits&x=0&y=0

    Reply March 24, 2012 at 4:45 am
  4. Dasha

    All works are creative and done really nicely and some are really beautiful.

    Reply March 24, 2012 at 8:30 am
  5. Claire

    Hello,Alex.
    I’m an translation editor in korea. May i use your article for magazine in Korea?
    Please let me know asap. Thanks :)

    charmingbbo@gmail.com

    Reply March 26, 2012 at 1:34 am
  6. Steve Harwood

    Wow some really great illustrative designs of beer bottle & label design, was a great find this morning so cheers Alex for sharing! Some really clever and amazing designs, definitely a nice change to the usual type of design expected on beer bottles, the illustrations really give each its own style and character. Hard to choose a favourite out of these, but I really like the Brew Free and White rabbit designs that really makes effective use of illustration. Cheers!

    Reply May 2, 2012 at 1:08 am
  7. Weight Lifting Gloves Men

    Thanks for nice information…..

    Reply August 7, 2012 at 1:27 am

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