Inky Beer’s Top 21 Brewery Label Art from the USA

I chose the Top 21 brewery label art, below, under the following criteria:

  1. The following choices are based on Kim Collins’ personal opinion of what “good” beer label art is… for example, I like bold lines, sharp contrast, fine detail, and creative typography use.
  2. The following breweries were chosen because they produce consistently quality beer labels across their many types of beer.
  3. The breweries produce labels that are uniquely theirs, meaning that if I go into a large beer store, I can easily decipher what beer bottles belong to what brewery. The brewery art has a certain “look” to it and people recognize it.
  4. The breweries below are in alphabetical order, NOT in ranked order.
  5. You too may have your own favorite beer label art. Awesome! Share it at the bottom of this post and if I get enough comments, I’ll run an “Inky Beer Readers’” Favorite Beer Labels.

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The Alchemist, Waterbury, VT

I first visited the Alchemist last summer and was immediately drawn to the mysteriously geeky man performing science and making beer on the front of their brewery. The illustrator for The Alchemist uses creative line combinations and a funky fun style.

Cisco Brewing Co., Nantucket,

I like the simplicity of Cisco’s labels, as well as the feel that the labels were run through an ink press. What an excellent style.

Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR

I’m kind of in love with all that Deschutes does… another disclaimer. I love their use of bold color and local natural scenes. Their labels make me want to visit each area shown on the labels.

Dog Brewing Co. “Stillwater Artisanal,” Westminster, MD

Stillwater uses superfine lines and almost mystical, supernatural beings on their labels. Even the humans on the labels look more than human, or eerier than an average human. There are a lot of emotions in their art.

Foothills Brewing, Winston Salem, NC

Foothills uses bold lines and simple shapes for each of their beers. I love the use of bright and complementary colors. I would have these labels as art in my house.

Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, MI

Founders Label art feels like classic paintings to me. I like seeing such high quality art on something as simple as a beer bottle. Founders is known for brewing bold beers and the depth of their artwork can show the drinkers how much the brewery values their product.

Fullsteam Brewery, Durham, NC

Fullsteam uses both an old printing feel matched with awesome bold typography. I like the detailed art used, as well as the breadth of subjects used on the labels. The reason all the beer labels are complementary is due to the artist’s style. I can see people tattooing theses images on themselves in the future.

Goodlife Brewing Co., Bend, OR

Goodlife, like other breweries, uses bold lines and high contrasted images. The simple images and well-incorporated typography makes their labels stand out above others.

Kona Brewing Co., Kona, HI

Kona’s labels look like 60’s marketing ads to visit Hawaii. They make me want to go hang out on the beach, swim in the ocean and drink their beer. Success.

Lefthand Brewing Co., Longmont, CO

Lefthand’s labels are bold, intricate, have a good array of colors and styles used, and however, they all feel like they belong together. Again, their labels give the feeling that the beer will be excellent and high quality because they spent the time to make art as labels. Hard to beat these guys!

Magic Hat Brewing Co., Burlington, VT

These logos would be fantastic tattoos, in fact, I would argue that the style came from the tattoo industry, but I have no proof. Great use of contrasting and complementary colors…Magic Hat makes me want to try al of their beers. I visited Magic Hat last summer and DID try them all because the taps are gorgeous… yes, I am that sucker.

Monteray Brewing Co./Salinas Brewing and Ice Co., Salinas, CA

I am attracted to these two breweries (yes, two… they began as Salinas, then changed their name to Monetary, but still brew similar beers to the original brewery) because their labels look like magazine ads from the 50’s. I love vintage ads, a vintage art look… cannot help myself. They even use vintage typography, except that it was vogue then because the labels are from the time, not made today.

New Belgium “Lips of Faith” Series, Fort Collins, CO

Whoa! Love these labels. They are an excellent combinations of all of the things I love about beer label art – bold colors, repetitive designs, creative use of color, lines, and they have painted labels… I’m trying to collect all of the Lips of Faith series brews not just to try them, but for the beautiful bottle art… They make perfect drinking glasses at home! (I’d better stop here. Just love them so much.)

O’Dell Brewing Co., Fort Collins, CO

O’Dell uses whimsical, unique illustration that range from a bold, print style, to a fine-lined illustration style, but yet the art seems to belong to the same brewery. I love that all of their labels have a 70’s feel to them, simple shapes accentuated with detail and texture, mixed with a few colors, but not too many. I love their labels and cannot wait to see new ones in the future!

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, CA

Sierra Nevada uses beautiful ocean and mountain images to lure me into drinking their delicious beer, I am sure. Most recently, I was impressed with both the Band Camp and Ruthless Rye labels because of their attention to detail and look like a piece of art that needs to be framed on the wall. Great color palette use, not too bold, and the style seems to compliment the type of beer in the bottle.

Southern Tier Brewing Co., Lakewood, NY

Southern Tier uses typography and bold design to create a cohesive look for their labels. I love that each label is unique to its style of beer and that they use one to two colors per label, with bold black and white lines for depth.

Surly Brewing Co., Brooklyn Center, MN

Surly uses a variety of elements that I like in art, like vintage pin-ups with beer and mummies. Their art seems to have a fun, bold style, like their beer. These are labels worth collecting.

Terrapin Beer Co., Athens, GA

I like Terrapin’s label art because it reminds me of the Grateful Dead, one of the best bands to ever exist. Whenever I see their labels, I am filled with joy and think about the chill, passionate feel of the Dead’s music. Their labels are silly and have a lot of small detailing that people might miss, a “hopsecutioner” ready to drop a guillotine on a hop head… witty, funny stuff.

Three Floyds Brewing Co., Munster, IN

Three Floyd’s uses fun, witty images mixed with death metal style for their labels. Their art is beautiful graffiti on the walls of their brewery and it makes their beer even more fun to drink. Thankfully, the boldness of the label art is matched by the bold flavors in their beer. If you’ve not tried Three Floyd’s, check it out!

Tommyknocker Brewing Co., Idaho Springs, CO

I am a big fan of the classic Tommyknocker illustrations on both their beer and soda labels… not so much with the newer labels. I like the fine lines and the look that someone local drew the label art, not a mass produced look. Yay, vintage Tommyknocker art!

Tröegs Independent Craft Brewery, Harrisburg, PA

Tröegs incorporates both bold and intricate styles into one set of labels that definitely look like they belong together. I especially like their use of typography. All of their labels have enticing layouts and colors, showing that the art, like their beer, is interesting.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Katie O'Reilly says:

    These are awesome picks, Inky Beer! I reallly like all of O’dells artwork, especially their Double Pilsner owl. It would be interesting to know more about the artists and why they chose that particular artwork for each label. Nice job!

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