Brewery: Stiegl

Origin: Salzburg, Austria
Style: Pilsner
ABV: 5%

Stiegl has been operating for 525 years - first known was the brewery by the house with the little steps (or ‘stiegl’ in German). As you’d expect there’s years and years of history and pride associated with Stiegl. Even Mozart was said to enjoy a few scoops now and then.

It’s a pretty low-key pilsner. But worth a punt as it’s clean and fresh and will beat most macro lagers hands down.

The real highlight is that type though. Big thick blackletter, chunking it’s way up the little steps. This a label that appears to have been unchanged for at least a century or so (as shown on this 1938 poster and on these steins in this 1898 photo). Simple, effective two colour typographic design.

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Brewery: Co-op
Label Design: Robot Food

Origin: Manchester, England
Style: Cider
ABV: 4.5%

Ever since the Co-op returned to it’s classic identity of the 60s, they have sought to bring design in all it’s forms to the very centre of their business. Not least in the rebranding of their own label products. Usually supermarkets tend to package up their own cheaper, non-brand offerings in a pretty unconvincing, or intentionally cheap way with generic packaging design full of graphic cliches and motifs. 

Robot Food have placed the Co-op front and centre on this label with some confident branding - with the logo and strict use of the company’s colour pallette of blue, black, silver and white holding it altogether. No shitty gradients, no crappy apple clip art, no romanticised orchid farm illustration. Just type, colour and logo. Should last for years.

Check out the rest of their range here, some lovely, stylish work that holds it’s own with their more established competitors.

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Brewery: Cloudwater Brew Co.
Label Design: Textbook Studio

Origin: Manchester, England
Style: Wild Ale
ABV: 4.5%

Cloudwater, recently rated as the second best brewery in the world, produced this exotic creation in colloboration with Jester King Brewery, Austin, Texas. 

It’s a complex beast - all sorts of process and detail outlined like some kind of alchemy - “spirit animal loquats, mixed fermentation, secondary fermentation, ex-Amarone foundre” etc... it’s one for the craft ale connoisseur.

Having a palate blunted by too many school night shit lagers I’m probably not one to comment on the flavour notes going on here, but it was an unusual but not unpleasant taste. Sour and fruity. 

The label is a simple affair - a clump of elderflowers and the lovely little Cloudwater logo overlaid in gold foil, just about recognisable on the white. A ballsy, super minimalist approach to branding. Foster’s it ain’t. 

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Brewery: Mad Hatter Brewing Company
Label Design: Sir Peter Blake

Origin: Liverpool, England
Style: Golden Ale
ABV: 3.9%

The Tate Liverpool in partnership with Mad Hatter Brewery released this golden ale back in 2015 to celebrate Sir Peter Blake’s dazzling of the Mersey Ferry.

Blake is one of the UK’s most iconic artists, most recognisable for his album artwork for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club. In 2015 he created this bold, colourful pattern that transformed the boat into a giant, floating burst of colour on Liverpudlian docks. 

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Brewery: Left Handed Giant & Track
Design: Dave Sedgewick & James Yeo

Origin: Manchester / Bristol, England
Style: IPA
ABV: 6.7%

A colloboration between Manchester’s Track and Bristol’s Left Handed Giant craft breweries. Likewise the label is a creation of both their regular label designers / artists - Dave Sedgewick (Track) and James Yeo (LHG). Gentle abstract floatiness to compliment the refreshing zing of this brew. 

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A project by Richard Heap
A graphic designer from Stockport, England