Art on a Can: Cool Designs in Craft Beer

Good craft beer should have personality, and many craft beer lovers appreciate it when the design in craft beer and packaging reflects that. To showcase their unique products, craft breweries often commission artists and illustrators to design their labels. Great artwork has really become part of the craft beer experience. 

Here, we’ll showcase a few breweries that bring our favourite brews to life through eye-catching designs. 

By the way, if you’re interested in learning more about the art of craft beer, give the podcast “16oz Canvas” a listen. Each episode features an artist from the US who gives a glimpse into the creative process. 

Aslin Beer Co.

Can shot of Nuances of meaning IPA by Aslin Beer Co, showing off the design in craft beer.

Aslin Beer Co. was founded on a love of beer and pursuit of deep brewing knowledge. The founding duo, Andrew Kelley and Kai Leszkowicz, are big fans of experimenting to find new and exciting beers, but also rely on an intense dedication to quality brewing practices. Mike Van Hall designs the company’s many different cans. He is an artist who specializes in design in craft beer. He creates vivid, minimalist designs that are all wildly different, but instantly recognizable.

Burlington Beer Co.

Can shot of It's Complicated Being A Wizard by Burlington Beer Co, showing off the design in craft beer.

Founded in 2014, Vermont-based Burlington Beer Co. brew eccentric beers with local and international malts, hops, yeast, fruit, vegetables, spices, and herbs. Craft breweries often put out many different beers, in which case a sound design system helps not to have to reinvent the wheel with each release. For Burlington Beer, Steve McDonald created an illustrative design for the craft beer that is minimalist yet imaginative – the same playfulness that comes back in the company’s beer names.

Le Corsaire

Can shot of Le Corsaire Lévisienne, showing off the design in craft beer.

A wholly different type of design in craft beer, but no less fun is the one of Le Corsaire (“The Pirate”), a Québec-based microbrewery dedicated to creating local versions of classic British styles. Les Mauvais Garçons created a visual style fit for a pirate: dark and mysterious, with classic pirate imagery and blood-red accents. 

The Dandy Brewing Company

Can shot of Just Play It Loud by the dandy brewing company, showing off the design in craft beer.

The Dandy Brewing Company is one of Calgary’s biggest craft brew success stories. There are more than a few operations that have kicked into gear in the past ten years, but Dandy has set itself apart through a consistent program of marque beers. The whimsical illustrations of Kelsey Fraser set Dandy’s can designs apart, and always bring a smile to your face. Her art also adorns the company’s Calgary taproom. 

Hoyne Brewing Company

Founded in 2011, Hoyne Brewing Company is the lifelong dream of brewmaster Sean Hoyne. Many years of hard work made it possible for Sean to open his own brewing facility and bring his vision of high-quality lagers and ales to the people of B.C. Hoyne’s cans, such as the “Down Easy” beer have a distinct Canadian vibe, created by Becoming Design Office. Canada Craft Club features their Fiesta Ale, a can with a design that’s the life of the party.

Hypha Project

Can shot of Ikigai by the Hypha Project, showing off the design in craft beer.

Hypha Project is a Canadian art and beer-creating initiative that crosses the worlds of street art, music, and craft brewing. Their goal is to create through the community, allowing the spirit of those who work and play in the artistic fabric to come through. They commission the artwork for each release from a different local artist, such as for the Ikigai. Heiltsuk visual artist Kelsey (KC) Hall’s label expresses that we’re never above or below anyone on the social ladder. 

Night Shift Brewing

Can shot of Nite Lite by Night Shift Brewing, showing off the design in craft beer.

A group of friends in Somerville, Massachusetts, started experimenting with homebrews after work, sometimes going late into the evenings – their so-called “night shift”. Their hobby became quite successful, and Night Shift Brewing has only been growing since their official business launch in 2012. The company’s cans are adorned with the immediately recognizable night owl in various renditions. Nite Lite is the brewery’s light lager, with colourful party lights against a black background forming the signature nocturnal creature.

Rebellion Brewing Co.

Hazy Ipa by Rebellion Brewing Co

There’s one simple rule at Rebellion Brewing Co. in Regina: brew kick-ass beer. But while they are brewing kick-ass beer, every once in a while they do a little favour for the community, like donating $10,000 to the YWCA or distributing food to those who need it. Rebellion’s can designs are decidedly non-minimalistic, and loud. Dare we say rebellious? The Hazy IPA is a classic east-coast style pale ale, with a retro psychedelic feel to the design.

If you enjoyed these, be sure to subscribe to Canada Craft Club for more great beer and more stories behind them.

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