A refreshing design lesson from 20 of the best beer brand identities

After a long week in the studio, nothing compares to the feeling of grabbing a refreshing pint as soon as the clock strikes beer o’clock—even more so if it’s poured from a beautifully designed bottle. To satisfy the design appetites of beer aficionados across the globe we’ve selected 20 amazing beer brands to drool over.

From the wacky illustrations of Scandi breweries Mikkeller and Omnipollo to the pared back minimalism of German beer Shilling, there are design styles for all persuasions. We’ve even chucked in the experimental “Shower Beer”, a collaboration between Swedish brewery Pangpangand Stockholm based agency, Snask and branding from our very own Shillington teacher George Simkin for Bullfinch Brewery.

So crack open a cold one and be inspired by 20 amazing beer brands.

1. Mikkeller

Hailing from the exceedingly cool city of Copenhagen, Mikkeller has some of the most recognisable branding ever to have graced the surface of a beer container. Using the brewery mascots ‘Sally & Henry’ along with other effervescent characters it’s clear that designer Keith Shore has an absolute blast with every label he creates. Let’s just say, post consumption—it’s definitely the sort of packaging you’d opt to adorn your shelf with rather than chucking in the recycling.

2. Cloudwater

Manchester-based brewery Cloudwater have gained familiarity for their ‘collage’ effect labels. Textbook Studio is the designers to thank for this one and we can’t wait to see what they come up with next. Our students at #ShilloMAN are especially inspired by the Northern Brewery—check out recent graduate Harry Pemberton’s take on the Cloudwater brand.

3. Camden Town Brewery

Here’s one for the avid typography fans thanks to Studio Juice. Camden Town Brewery uses lively sign-writing inspired display type to make its products scream from the shelves. The design wizardry doesn’t end with the branding either—Camden Town Brewery’s website is a place of wonder, teeming with enlightening beer info and even soundtracks to pair with each blend.

4. Beavertown

Tottenham-based Beavertown is absolutely killing it with its intricate doodles by illustrator Nick Dwyer. What’s better to gaze at while slurping down a delicious craft ale than zombies, skeletons and ray guns? Nothing, that’s what.

5. Pangpang

Swedish Brewery Pangpang collaborated with creative overlords Snask to answer all our pre-drinking prayers. Shower Beer is not only a phenomenal concept but the design is exquisite. With a traditional glass bottle and stylish typography, Shower Beer is surely a highly coveted item for any packaging lovers’ collection.

6. Vrolijkheid

Dutch beer Vrolijkheid fulfils all our typesetting dreams. Probably the only packaging to highlight hidden characters it embraces the hard return symbol to produce a simple yet striking label. The clean coloured strip sealing the cap provides the perfect note to balance the overall design. Hats off to the design team at Typical Organisation for this one.

7. Talas

Nothing says alcohol like a paper bag. Norwegian beer Talas brings a sense of mystery to its branding by shrouding the bottle in a curious piece of newsprint. With a concept rooted in community spirit, the paper is covered in stories from the local community to read whilst enjoying the drink. What’s perhaps most intriguing about Talas’ branding is the typeface inspired by bottle openers. As Anti, the studio behind the design puts it, “Talas is a beer that opens more than just the good conversation.”

8. Swansea Homebrew Club

While it sounds like it’s fresh from the Welsh Valleys, Swansea Homebrew Club is actually from Toronto, Canada. Underline Studio has done a fantastic job here—using delicate lines to form illustrative markings on the labels, surrounding bold capital letters, indicative of the beer’s blend. The wax covering over the cap provides an ornate traditional feel yet still maintaining an overall contemporary vibe due to the minimal aesthetic. Extra points for the hidden message ‘SIP’ too.

9. Fort Point Brewery

You’d have to have been living under a rock not to have seen the wonder that is the Fort Point beer branding. A fond favourite on design blogs since it launched, it’s pure packaging gold. From the satisfying colour palettes to the geometric illustration style, it scores tens across the board. Thank you Manual for bringing this wonderful creature into our lives.

10. Shilling

The appropriately named Shilling is a solid choice for all the minimalists out there. This branding strips things back to basics with a traditional brown glass bottle and string label attachment. A design just as easily at home in a country pub as it is a city craft bar. Props to German-based branding agency Moodley for this one.

11. London Fields Brewery

If you’ve been to a Shillington graduate exhibition in London you’ve likely had more than a few of these delicious offerings from Hackney-based London Fields Brewery. The sleek black bottles designed by The Plant are perfectly offset with quirky repeat patterns—reminiscent of the hoppy goodness inside.

12. The Five Points Brewing Co

Beer—tick, Design—tick, Cats—tick. The Five Points Brewing Co has well and truly got our attention with its cans for London festival Field Day. Fusing its regular branding by Kate Lyons with that of the popular London music festival to create some fantastic beer packaging.

13. Partizan

Alec Doherty’s illustrations are already an absolute pleasure to gaze at. Throw in the delicious liquid from the good people at Partizan and you’re on to a sure winner. Every label is licked with Alec’s eccentric drawings making each bottle a unique piece of packaging to hold.

14. The Omnipollo

Who needs labels anyway? Swedish brewery The Omnipollo takes its branding way left field with a series of image-led bottles. Blending sheer minimalism with trippy illustrations they forgo the traditional style beer label in favour or something a tad more individual. Handiwork from the very talented Karl Grandin.

15. Noam Lager

Noam Lager is worth a mention for its choice of bottle alone. This sophisticated branding from esteemed agency Acne, oozes class with a sparsely designed label and bold, confident logo. The obvious choice for any bourgeoisie event.

16. Western Herd

It’s a fact that miniature farm animals improve any situation. Western Herd brings a modern design twist to the countryside with their beautifully simple branding by Vincent Casey.

17. Bullfinch

We may be slightly biased with this one as it showcases the skills of our wonderful part-time teacher George Simkin, but we’re crazy for the block type and lively illustrations on Bullfinch Brewery’s branding. Head over to George’s website to see more and read about his custom typeface Smután.

18. Cargo Brewery

This is literally award-winning beer branding. New Zealand agency, Makebardo took away the Bronze in the Best Design Awards 2016 for its sensational branding of Queenstown brewery, Cargo and we can definitely see why. The simplicity of the design is endlessly satisfying with the opulence of the bronze foil giving it that little touch of class. Perfection.

19. Sample Brewery

You really can’t beat a bit of white space. This branding for Australian brewery Sample by Melbourne agency Longton satisfies all of our alignment fantasies.

20. Vocation Brewery

We absolutely love these wood-engraved style cans from Vocation Brewery. The illustrations embody a traditional tattoo feel with pirate-esque vibes thrown in for good measure. Head to the designers behind the cans at Robot Food to watch a video all about the branding job in its entirety.

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