October 28, 2011

This Post Has Nothing About the Oxford Companion to Beer In it

But it has a bunch of other stuff.

First, from the "Homebrew Design" part of the Internet comes a new application, Labeley. It's a very cool, user-friendly program for designing homebrew labels. Ana Brady, who contacted me about it, said that the design team behind it is international, with one person in Canada and a couple in Europe. It's free and was a labor of love by some homebrewers, and definitely worth taking a look at if you're in the hobby. Nick at A Tale of Two Brewers did a nice review, where as a designer he found it a bit restrictive but ultimately a promising program.

Next, I got a note from Karen at Victory about the Dark Intrigue release party scheduled for Nov. 23, which they are calling "Dark Wednesday." There are some interesting (intriguing? groan.) things about this.

First, the announcement comes one day after the release party for The Bruery's Black Tuesday sold out in one hour and bottles began appearing on eBay immediately for as much as $100, and after the massive hype that accompanied the Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout release. As these hyped releases gain more and more traction (and garner the breweries more and more funds and attention), they have become also more of a bone of contention with some, who find the prospect of lining up in the wee hours to spend $200 on a case of beer a bit of a "circus," even if they appreciate it. Still, as many people as were annoyed by not getting tickets to this year's Dark Lord Day kefuffle at 3Floyds, no one foresees demand dropping next year.

So it's unsurprising that Victory has built up an answer to those national release parties that we see every year (Surly Darkness, Black Tuesday, Dark Lord, etc.). What's surprising is that this is the last year they'll be doing it for a while. Karen said it's basically that the barrels take up a lot of room and it's just not economical, so it's at least going away for a while. One has to wonder if there's a vacancy in this part of the state/country for a much-hyped annual release of some soul-crushingly potent quad-imperial barrel-aged dark nonsense?

Links, then art:

Our art this week comes via the always lovely Oh Beautiful Beer, and it's a bit of homebrew action by Shea Stewart:

“The label design was done for my aunt in Charlotte, North Carolina. She and a friend brew a beer every summer called “Hummm N’ Hammer Hefeweizen.” She asked me to design a label for the bottle, and this is what I came up with. I decided to create these two characters, “Hummm” (a hummingbird) and “Hammer” (a hammerhead shark), and create this quirky odd couple type relationship between them. Kind of like Timon and Pumbaa, but they brew beer together instead of searching for and eating bugs.”
Brewing: better than eating bugs (Note: Which is, generally, Kosher. My Torah portion was Shemini, the part in Leviticus where Yahweh lists all of the things you can and can't eat. Most bugs are cool, as far as dietary purity laws go.)

Very cute style, somewhere between children's book and the juvenile style we see in lots of natural-based marketing these days. Shea even even came up with bottle caps that, if they went into production, would be a great find for some other beer packaging bloggers. Lots of pastels, soft hand-drawn shapes, and of course the adorable title characters.
Next, via unkown origin, a new campaign that came from Jay Brooks' blog, originally via Firestone Walker's Twitter feed:
Now, some will say that this demeans the very sincere suffering of the 99% of America who is put upon by the wealthy 1% etc. etc. Those people are entitled to their opinion. But most craft beer drinkers are likely to be on the side of Occupiers, so any outrage would be ill-spent.

From a design and branding standard, though, I love it. The hashtag #occupythepub and the surrounding rhetoric is a really cool way to take a topical phrase and convert it into a fun type of marketing. Craft beer people are quite likely to empathize with the protesters, as we usually feel put upon by the 95% of the market that is the macrobrews. So there's some solidarity, which is nice for a brand, and some humor, which is nice for a beer brand, and I love the simplicity of the design. Some good varying of font sizes, a nice watermark of a stock retro beer bottle, a distress effect, and bam! I'd buy this t-shirt.

If anyone knows who made this or from whence it came, Please chime in in the comments.

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