Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beer-Holder: The Best Labels of Beer and Wine Brands

We like to refer to the crafting of beverages as an art form and in many convincing ways, it is. But the most obvious artistic flare a good drink wears is printed right on its label. This mostly blank canvas, outside of a few federally mandated inclusions, often greets a potential customer first and first impressions mean a lot, especially inventive ones.

Here are a few of our favorite beer and wine labels, spanning classic design motifs to the eye-catching and unexpected.


vietti wine label

Italian label Vietti beautifully encompasses both Old World traditionalism and New World experimentation. The Barolo outfit has a label to prove it, with gorgeous artist renderings of bucolic critters like grasshoppers, dreamcatchers, and snails. Any one of their labels would function just fine as a standalone piece at a gallery. Oh, the wine is quite good, too.

Modern Times Beer

modern times dreamspeaker beer label
Modern Times Beer

You’ve probably heard of Modern Times by now, California’s first employee-owned brewery. The beers are outstanding and sport an equally strong aesthetic. The logo feels effortless iconic, despite being less than a decade old. The font and soothing color schemes are a nod to its Southern California home while seasonal offerings like the Dreamspeaker offer dazzling patterns to get lost in. It’s the kind of beer you want to be seen clutching at a backyard barbecue.

Matchless Brewing

matchless brewing beer label
Matchless Brewing/Instagram

If you’re fortunate enough to have Matchless beers at your local bottle shop, your eye is likely to go straight to their vibrant labels. The Washington brewery is known for fantastic IPAs and cans as eye-catching as the beers are flavorful. The Tropic Tease is a prime example, with an animated sketch of a sun-kissed drink for a label ⏤ a nod to Tiki culture and the equatorial flavors of the beer.


jolie laide pinot gris wine label

Jolie-Laide is a remarkable winery out of Sebastopol, California. The labels reflect winemaker Scott Schultz’s unconventional approach to winemaking, which involves relatively unheard-of grape varieties like Trousseau Gris and Melon de Bourgogne. His Pinot Gris label is amazing, a school portrait given the Twilight Zone treatment. Jolie-Laide labels, much like their wines, have you reassessing the status quo, in a good way.

Upright Brewing

upright brewing fantasia wine label
Upright Brewing/Facebook

Upright Brewing has been doing the farmhouse thing in Portland for so long it can practically be considered OG. Alex Ganum’s label adorns beautiful, Belgian-inspired beers. Some are truly engrossing, like the musical-themed Fantasia and the inkblot-y-meets-yin-yang look of the Kopstootje, a bière de garde. 

Owen Roe

Owen Roe DuBrul Vineyard cabernet
Owen Roe

Northwest winery Owen Roe made black and white photography cool again, long before Jones Soda Company and others mimicked their ways. Their understated labels generate a certain tension in conjunction with their boisterous wines. There’s the simple beauty of the name-tag-inspired Ex Umbris Syrah and the pristine reflection image of the Dubrul Vineyard Cab. All in all, the feel is Gothic and timeless, not bad if you deal in wine.

Editors' Recommendations

Mark Stock
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since…
Oskar Blues Brewery Releases French’s Mustard Beer
oskar blues frenchs mustard beer pr select 2

Mustard and beer is a great combination, but usually we're talking mustard used as a condiment on a sausage or pretzel alongside a pint. Colorado's Oskar Blues Brewery has taken this pairing to a whole new level with a new collaboration with French's Mustard, appropriately called French’s Mustard Beer. It's a tropical wheat beer that is literally brewed with French’s Classic Yellow Mustard, along with an infusion of fruit and citrus flavors including key lime, lemon, tangerine, and passion fruit. “We’re stoked on bold flavors at Oskar Blues Brewery and we never shy away from a challenge,” said Oskar Blues head brewer, Juice Drapeau, in a prepared statement. “With French’s Mustard Beer we elevated the Classic Yellow Mustard flavor with tangy lemon and lime to create a tropical wheat ale I’d pair with a loaded hot dog on the hottest day of the year.”

This isn't the first food crossover for French's, known for its bright yellow mustard that is ubiquitous at backyard barbecues around the country. Last year, the brand collaborated with Coolhaus to release a mustard ice cream that was available in New York and California for a limited time alongside a pretzel cookie. And Oskar Blues is no stranger to brewing uniquely flavored beer, as indicated by its "Death By" series of brews with such flavors as king cake, coconut, and even affogato.

Read more
These Homebrewing Appliances And Kits Are the Easiest Way to Make Your Own Beer
picobrew zymatic

Learning to brew your own beer doesn’t have to be hard. For a basic brew, I liken it to making boxed macaroni and cheese. If you can measure ingredients, add in items at specific times, and maintain a relatively steady temperature, you can make beer. However, it can be expensive to buy (and inevitably to upgrade) the equipment and homebrewing is a large time investment. An all-grain brew day can easily take up an entire Saturday — and that’s not including all the clean-up.

For those with small spaces, limited time, and some cash to spend, counter-top appliances and straightforward, beginner craft brew kits are all the rage. These homebrewing kits fit right in beside toasters and microwaves but promise to make brewing beer as simple brewing as a pot of coffee. Or maybe even microwavable mac n’ cheese.
Zymatic. Image used with permission by copyright holder

Read more
Super Bowl of Beers: The Best Brews from San Francisco and Kansas City
2020 super bowl beers best of san francisco kansas city fieldwork feature

While the highly anticipated ads may tell you otherwise, what you drink this Super Bowl Sunday doesn’t have to be generic suds. In fact, you can drink some great stuff from in and around the two cities represented in this year’s matchup.

As the Kansas City Chiefs get set to take on the San Francisco 49ers, another rivalry comes to life — that of craft beer from the two American cities. We’ve picked three of our favorites from the Bay Area and the city that sits in two states to suit up and fetch a W in the name of beer excellence.

Read more