Session #55: Beer Art

Its that time of the month again, yes the session is here. This month it's hosted by Curtis Taylor at Hophead Said. This month its all about artwork on beer labels and other forms of brewery adverts. At one point I was planning to collect beer labels. I knew the secretary of the British Labelogist Society and one of my friends collected labels to send to his Czech friend. I had a pile of bottles stored at the bottom of my bed, but never got around to steaming them off and when I moved houses they all ended up in the bottle bank.

Odell Double Pilsner
I love all of Odell's beer labels. They're on matt paper with a slight faded beige colour and use pastel shades giving the impression that they're either hand drawn or come from some time in the past. I also like their beer name font. The design is applied across all beers meaning they're easy to spot on a crowded beer shelf. I think they were all designed by tbd who have also worked with Deschutes.

I particularly like this one because its very attractive and would appeal to both genders plus I'm a fan of owls. Also spot the upside down owl forming the lower half of the face! And (as Reuben points out in the comments below) the smaller owl between the eyes of the main owl.
I asked Odell what the reasoning behind an owl for pilsner was and was told "The owl is a classic yet sometimes mysterious creature, like the beer". I can see that.  (I wasn't actually a fan of this beer, finding it a bit too sweet for my palate but the label is brilliant. )

Odell also has a great logo with the company name sculpted to fit into the outline of a hop. Again this is consistent across bottle tops, beer mats and stickers. Sometimes the bottle lid will say "seasonal ale", sometimes it may be a different colour, but they all stick to the same house style, meaning you can spot them in a pile of bottle caps.

Whilst on the subject of owls, special mention must be made of the Hitachino Nest bottle lids and labels. These Japanese beers feature owls heavily. Its worth visiting their website which is well designed, cute and fun to play with. I gave a bottle lid to my girlfriend and she now has a small collection of other bottle lids.


  1. I enjoyed your post. I love hidden pictures and I hadn't spotted the hidden owl before. Good eyes there, my friend. I am also glad you picked a couple caps to include. I think it is an overlooked art canvas.

    Thanks for participating!

  2. Thanks for the comment ct, I'll read yours properly as soon as I've eaten my dinner!
    I worked on the bottle beer bar at GBBF this year and there's a guy who comes round every year to ask for all of the bottle caps. He says that hecan trade them with others. We had a long conversation about possible reasons why UK brewers don't generally have decorated caps and decided it was because bottles over here don't generally come in multipack carriers so the lids aren't often looked at. There are some great bottle cap designs out there though.

    Thanks for hosting!

  3. So how many owls are actually in that? I count three. The big owl face, the hidden one at the bottom but also another hidden one taking up the top half of the face.

  4. Forgot to mention that one, but yes did know it was there! Not sure about how owls are connected to pilsner though!

  5. Post updated to credit design agency and idea behind an owl on a pilsner!

  6. thanks for the link to the Hitachino Nest website... actually there are not that many brewery websites with a full featured Flash website, but if done with flash they are mostly looking awesome.

  7. Nick, I disagree about flash being a good thing. I think it has it's place in a presentation website but it has no place on a brewery website. Not unless you can integrate the flash in such a way that it only makes up the structure and not the content. I should be able to link to each page individually (not possible with flash). I should be able to select text which is often not possibly on flash sites, though it is allowable during the design.
    If I can't link directly to a specific part of a brewery website, I can't direct traffic directly to one of their beers that I write about, and the ability for me to do that is important when it comes to them tracking what page is the most popular, what beer page gets the most traffic and where that traffic comes from.

    Full flash websites look cool for a few moments but very quickly become bothersome. And that Hitachino Nest website become very annoying, very quickly for me.

  8. Reuben- I think its good that they have a good brand presence and a website that people will remember. A lot of the talk about hitachino nest before the great britishbeer festival was due to its cute branding. It was also a great way to get poeple to shell out fo rthe more expensive beers "it comes with a free owl bottlecap"! For reviews then the parent company website http://www.kodawari.cc/?en_home/products/hitachino-nest-beer.html gives the beer on individual pages.

  9. Oh the branding is great. I do love the cute branding. I just have a bugbear about all flash websites in general and believe that they are a mistake for breweries to use and I know I am certainly not alone in that opinion.

    That said, at least they have a functional website which is more than I can say for some breweries.