December 16, 2011

The Best and Worst Beer Art of the Week, a Periodic Table of Boozahol, and Tribute Beers

This isn't exactly art, but it definitely qualifies as "worst":

Beachy Head Brewery, which is a brewery in the south of England, in East Sussex, has decided to name its most recent real ale the Beachy Head Christmas Jumper. This is in spite of the fact that the nearby cliffs have been the site of numerous suicides.
It's like the Golden Gate Bridge of East Sussex
Many locals who have lost loved ones have asked and demanded that the brewery change the name, but head brewer Roger Green is still resisting, saying that he did not mean to cause offence. He says the name comes not from the infamous suicide spot, but from Christmas sweaters (called "jumpers" in British English) that he claims Santa wears, and started from a pump clip.

All very believable, if we accept Mr. Green's expertise on Santa's sartorial transgressions. But, Roger, why can't you change the damn name now?
Keith Lane's wife Maggie died at the cliffs in 2004. He is  
Look, I get that it's expensive to run new labels, but there's a way to be a decent bloke ("person" in British English) about things. If it's a coincidence/mistake/bonehead move, then any good person would change the name of the beer. For that matter, a bit of forethought and actually putting one of Santa's jumpers on the label (rather than a washout of THE CLIFF WHERE PEOPLE JUMP) might have saved you the trouble. But now, you're getting a lot of heat and ill will because you're acting like a total arse ("ass" in British English).
No funny clothing to be seen.
On the better side, we have Asahi, which has released a new bottle with a rising sun and Hokusai-inspired waves.
Can't find any other information online, but Asahi does have a design eye; Philippe Starck designed their Tokyo Beer Hall.
via Wikimedia
I received an email this week from the folks at BestCollegesOnline, which is a quirky sort of content-producer-cum-online-college-affiliate-marketer that fairly often reaches out to bloggers with cheeky alcohol-themed infographics. Here's their latest:

Amusing and well-designed, as usual. But it got me thinking: Why does a site like that invest time and resources in making things like this and then reaching out via a blogger network? One can easily see this chart adorning dorm walls in the near future, but that doesn't appear to be the site's business. So I asked Muhammad Saleem, who sent the bloggerati the email, what the strategy is. His response:
The posters aren't purchasable, they are just a part of our info-tainment efforts on our sites (to mix up things between serious content and informative but entertaining content). It's not so much about business model as it is about building relationships with new publishers, providing something fun for our audience to look at and discuss, and get some exposure around the web as a result.
Interesting that they're relying on a network of publishers with content, rather than paying a massive advertising firm to help with page ranks. Interestingly, unlike most online businesses of similar model, BCO does not use a stable of freelancers in lieu of a staff.
Everything is done in house, from research to design to publishing and outreach. You can only hit a high bar for quality if you control each step of the process, at least that has been my experience. I've personally trained all the designers and have been working with my team for a couple of years now.
Just thought some of you might find it an interesting view into a business, or at least appreciate an answer to the question "Why do all these beer infographics lead me to a site promoting Kaplan and University of Phoenix?" Or maybe that's just me.

Lastly, a couple of tribute beers came out this week, and I wanted to draw your attention to them.

The first is by Chicago's Half Acre, honoring the passing of a brewery friend:
It’s with great honor and sadness that we announce an upcoming special release beer. We’re brewing The Daly Double, an India Pale Ale brewed in memoriam of a friend of Half Acre Beer Co. Terry Daly passed away suddenly after spending a lot of time at our brewery over the last few years. Terry was a fan of music, geometry, his two Huskies, Moon & Luna, and amply hopped craft beer. He’d turn others on to our beer and took pride in his connection to our brewery. All good breweries acquire people. These people become the larger body that is the meat of your brewing company. Not the tanks or the beers, but the heart of what we do. It has a pulse of its own and its one of the best things about brewing beer for a living. 
And we have a watercolor of Daly with his beloved dogs and hops. If we are to turn a critical eye to such things, then we recognize that this is the most common format for a tribute beer: An image of the person with some identifiable element. The hand done font at the top is an interesting blend of typefaces. A brewery rep said the art is done by usual Half Acre artist Phineas X. Jones, but it's a very different style from his recognizable blend of punk and Art Nouveau.

The second tribute is Cambridge Brewing Company's Tripel Threat, a tribute to former head brewer Darryl Goss, who was recently diagnosed with ALS.
This is the other way to design a tribute; a simple picture of a thing associated with the person by those familiar with him/her. The '65 Electra Glide (can be seen here) was the way Goss got to work every day when he was at the brewery. A portion of the proceeds will benefit ALS research.

I don't think either style is more or less effective, it's just a stylistic choice informed by the artist and the subject for the tribute. In any case, it's a pretty awesome way to honor a beer lover.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. We Brits definitely use "arse" rather than "ass", although in this context most Brits would use "dickhead".