September 23, 2011

Best and Worst of the Beer Art of the Week, in Which My Burgh Pride is Tested

A new Rogue label came through, so let's take a look:

I mean, there's almost no design department as consistent as Rogue's now. You know the way the basic look will be (character drinking in black-and-white-plus-one, under the wordmark, on dark background), you know where they can take liberties (the background, accessories and accents), and you know it'll be well-executed. It's good, it's great, I love it... but I'm starting to want more. Has Rogue put out a really different design since the Morimoto stuff? I started to get excited with the Chatoe Rogue bottles, but then it turned out those were all basically the same. I dunno. It's such a well-established look and brand that I understand the need to stay close, but still. Do they do anything crazy for one-offs I can't get in PA? Any PNW readers see Rogue bottles that are abstract expressionist kaleidoscopes of composition?

So, for the worst of the week, I would like to look at a spectrum of uses of women to sell beer.
First up, one that is not "worst" at all, is from the Grimm Brothers Brewhouse in Loveland, CO, which called its Oktoberfest "The Farmer's Daughter"
Now, all of their beers are references to fairy tales etc, and so one assumes this is a reference to one of the several stories of the fable/tale with the Farmer's Daughter as a title, and not simply a play on the innumerable dirty jokes. I think it's well-designed, with the nice use of simple color fields. She's blushing and showing enough of a leg that they're clearly relying a bit on sex to sell, but this is far from overtly pigheaded. Also, the rest of their design is really good. I love the taste profile on the left, and the Halloween colors seem natural, rather than gimmicky. So it's we'll done, and tasteful enough.

Better, for example, than Stevens Point's Drop Dead Blonde:
Stevens Point generally has very good design, but this is just lazy. First, can we just stop with the blonde beer style = blond woman thing? It's been done, it's not that interesting, and it really wasn't that clever the first time. Here, there's actually less effort than usual. The blonde in question is well-rendered, I guess, but it's just her face and then some REALLY BIG CAPS LOCK FONT to take up the rest of the space. And what is so drop-dead about her? She's pretty, but she's hardly a femme fatale. Am I to take from the fact that her bra strap is coming off that she has a 9mm in her garter belt? Now, if they showed a full-body shot of a blond-haired woman in little clothing, I'd be ripping them, so I clearly don't want that. But are we calling it Drop Dead because all other types of Blonde names were taken? Because if so, I think we can take that as a sign that we can do a little better with our naming.

Then there's Iron City:
I love Iron City. I do. Not because it's good, but it's Pittsburgh and I love it. And perhaps it is too much to expect class from such an institution, but... seriously? We're just gonna put a girl in a corset and heels on the label? No even attempt at anything beer-related. Oh, they threw two barley stalks on which she can recline? No, that doesn't count. Don't get me wrong, the model is attractive, and the target audience will definitely appreciate her composition and structural qualities. Still, this is just tacky.

Also, I'm mildly curious if this will replace Augustiner (their existing amber lager), or if it's a one-off, or what? I mean, are we headed for a series of labels with different women on them? I know beers have done many a hot-or-not contest, but has one ever done it for the honor of being on the label in one's underwear for drunken yinzers to admire while pregaming at the Triple Deuce, trying desperately to get drunk enough so that the Steelers' crushing victory over the Colts this weekend is even remotely watchable, which is basically impossible on IC Light anyway... what were we talking about?

There's no word from IC yet on how permanent a beer or practice this label-bunny thing will become. It feels like a gimmick from a brewery that has had more than its share of financial woes, but I wish it were a less awful one. I want the aluminum bottles back.

To leave on a high note, from the beer market I currently inhabit, I bring you the best beer debut video I've seen in a while. Certainly, veterans of the Philadelphia music scene will like it:


  1. That new rogue one seems pretty awesome. Love their..I think it's a chocolate stout!

  2. That video was hilarious. Nice cameo by Colin Meloy!