Brewery: Zapato

Origin: Malton, Yorkshire, England
Style: Pale Ale
ABV: 5.5%

A tasty pale ale from the nomadic wandering brewers at Zapato. This one created at Brass Castle’s brewery in north Yorkshire. 

There’s a lot going on here. First impressions are of a Nike football shirt with some pretty chaotic type arrangement sitting on top. It’s pretty much unreadable (which may be the point), but it’s still eyecatching and bold nevertheless.

The little logo icon of the masked figure is based on Subcommandante Marcos of the EZLN, or the Zapatistas (a ‘Zapato’ referring to their male members). Marcos is a political philosopher turned rebel soldier who was part of the headline-grabbing armed uprising in the impoversished Chiapas department of southern Mexico in the mid-90s. For those wanting a deep dive I’d recommend Manuel Castells’ iconic 1997 analysis ‘The Power of Identity’, the second of his Information Age trilogy, and one of the earliest investigations into the fallout of globalisation and neoliberal trade policies (specifically NAFTA in this case) that affected the indigeneous communities of Chiapas so badly. I read it a million years ago as part of my undergraduate degree, so it may feel out-of-sync in 2021 (mention ‘anti-globalisation’ these days and you’d probably be flooded with QAnon nonsense).  It’s also worth tracing the etymology a little further back, noting that the Zapatistas themselves were named after the revolutionary Emiliano Zapata, a leading figure in the Mexican civil war from 1910–20, who successfully fought for improved agrarian working conditions before his assasination at the age of 39.

What this has to do with a pale ale is beyond me but such is the nature of craft beer branding. On a superficial level there is a link between the graphics and type layout with the idea of camouflaged jungle-based guerillas. I’m pretty sure these guys aren’t planning a anti-capitalist insurrection up in West Riding though. Still, it looks nice, and tastes great.

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