The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
No; I haven’t started a film blog. I’m talking about beer labels!
I think throughout the podcast I’ve made my fascination with the designs of beer cans and bottles pretty obvious. And when it comes to labeling cans, there’s three main ways of doing so that are widely used in the industry. There’s labels that are printed on the can, labels that are shrink wrapped over the can, and then there’s the sticker type label. Right now I’d like to discuss the sticker type.
If they’re done well, I think the sticker labels can look nice. But if they’re not, they can look not so nice. Tonight, I was at the store picking some single cans for the evening and finally made the move on a brand that I’ve had my eye on for a while now. I picked up 18-Watt Session IPA by Singlecut Beersmiths. Not only are their designs always simple and clean, but they make them attractive while using the sticker type label. What I really dig about the label is that it isn’t flush with the lip of the can. The top of the label comes up with about a quarter inch of space between the cylindrical area of the can and the lip. Then at one point, the Singlecut “flag” we’ll call it, extends higher upward and meets the edge of the can. In addition to the unique shape of the label, the word “Singlecut” and their logo are embossed, increasing the dimension of the can further. Side note, we haven’t even sipped beer at this point yet. But when I cracked open this piece of art, the brew did not disappoint. Being labeled a session, this brew surprised me both with it’s deeper hue and with it’s complex flavor.
While Singlecut left me in awe, another beer left me saying “aw man”. I’m not in the business of slamming beers. Actually, I am in the business of slamming beers, not the names of otherwise great breweries; so this beer will remain nameless. So I spot this seasonal beer that was the 2018 “vintage”, (each year yields a different product under the same name) and this was the first year the beer wasn’t released in bottles. Before I had a chance to take in the details of this sad can with my two eyes, the feel was off putting. Every sticker label has the same slippery matte finish, and this one also followed that design. Now, I understand that gripping the beer isn’t a problem for most of us since it’s typical to pour a beer in your favorite glass. But, done poorly, the labels can look cheap. This can in particular had a defect that even made the sticker application look lazy. Where most labels of this type don’t fully wrap around the can, this one did. The part that was disappointing about that was that the brewery took the time to write a really nice description of the brew, which was covered by the tail end of the label featuring the Surgeon General’s warning.
Of course there’s good and bad labels of all kinds on the shelves of your local supermarkets and beer stores. And while the sticker label can be used to show you the hard work and the pride inside the can; it can look cheap, unlike craft beers. Plus they can look lazy, which the brewers aren’t. And while I focus a lot on the marketing of beers and the styles of beer labels, that doesn’t mean you should judge a book by its cover. I’d drink a great beer out of a boot, even a cowboy boot.
*Theme Song Plays*