Nearing 8,000 breweries, choosing the best beer in the U.S. is hard. For those breweries that are distributing, it can be a challenge to stand out on the shelf, so having a beer can design that is memorable is incredibly important.
The labels need to stand out enough to attract a consumer, but in all reality, they also need to build brand awareness with that consumer, at least enough to attract repeat business.
In picking top labels, it’s hard to shy away from Brooklyn Brewery’s iconic, Milton Glaser-designed ‘B’ logo that adorns its labels. It’s also hard to dismiss legendary craft beers that are now essentially mainstream brands, like Sierra Nevada, Stone, and New Belgium.
There are certainly beautiful cans out there worthy of praise, but that don’t get the brand idea across. Others are sexist or straight copyright violations (and we can all agree at this point that those just need to go away). The beer world is rife with plenty of examples good and bad. These are some of the best cans merging style, art, and brand seamlessly in their beer can design.
There’s something soothing about Trillium Brewing’s simple drawings on their logos. For beer fans, the style quickly identifies a Trillium bottle or can, so they know the tasty stout reminiscent of what’s on the label or a trendy cloudy IPA is likely to be a winner.
Modern Times Beer
For most of Modern Times’ beers, a clean cursive name shouts the San Diego brewery’s name, with the beer name gently crested above. Underneath the brewery name are two key tasting notes resting above the beer’s style. Different colors help say, “I’m a different beer.” The design also spills into the company’s coffee brand. Limited release beers do get more special treatment with eclectic designs.
Revision Brewing Company
Revision and its crazy array of IPAs has an equally crazy number of labels. The base IPA and Double IPA have a very simplistic logo. Dive in a little further to some of the Reno, Nevada-based brewery’s beers and you’ll notice drawings similar to those of Knee Deep Brewing, where the founder once brewed. Go a little further and you get to the colorful and psychedelic labels of beers like Disco Ninja, Sparkle Muffin, and Glitter Moon.
Central State Brewing
Central State has, at times, very simple labels. The name horizontally tells the name of the beer, while Central State prominently sits at the top. A chart at the bottom lays out the important information of the beer, like style, alcohol percentage and Central State’s location.
Upslope Brewing Company
The Colorado brewery has a prominent main logo on the can. Below the Upslope’s logo is the beer named style underneath. To add to the flair, cans of different beers are different colors.
Other Half Brewing Company
Cans made by Other Half Brewing are often purchased after standing hours in line outside the brewery so the special designs marked in the corner with the name, style, and alcohol percentage help convey all the important information while the can attracts the attention.
With this Georgia brewery’s cursive name prominently displayed on top of most cans, generally with an attractive design before dropping down into a divided color with the name of the beer and style. All in all, Creature Comforts cans are a beautiful example of design hierarchy.
Good People Brewing Company
Good People Brewing’s pickup truck logo makes its way onto almost every label, making their beers easily identifiable, while the name of the beer is prominently displayed above. The brewery logo is consistent while the name designs offer some variety.
The liquid skull logo, proudly sitting beneath the Rhinegeist name and “Cincy Made” is identifiable on all of the Ohio brewery’s labels. Different beers then have different colors to declare their independence.
East Brother Beer Co.
Another brand perfectly handling brand hierarchy on its labels, East Brother Beer’s clean cursive name sits atop the beer style in a bicolor label. There’s no mistaking what brand of beer you’re reaching for.
The core lineup of Austin Beerworks established its “A” logo, which has since expanded beyond the simple two-color cans, into an array of crazy designs. Other specialty beers now stray from the A logo, but beer fans know the Austin Beerworks art.