With Valentine’s Day having just passed, I thought I would use this blog to talk about two passions of mine… Design and Beer! But more accurately, the combination of the two.

You may or may not be aware of the craft beer revolution, but there’s never been a better time to find quality ale. This is in part thanks to the forming of CAMRA (The Campaign for Real Ale) in 1971 and a change in legislation in 2002, which gave tax breaks allowing the number of micro-breweries to rapidly increase in the UK. I could go more into the background of the beer industry but I’m here to talk about the varied and impressive designs that appear on the ever-growing range of beers available.

Now I know it’s a pretty vain way of choosing ales, but whenever I’m in the local ale shop (@SaddyRealAle), the designer in me is commonly drawn to those with the more aesthetically pleasing packaging. This serves me well most of time, but sometimes it acts as a reminder that you should never judge a book by its cover (or a beer by its label in this case). Anyway, here are a few examples I’ve come across where great beers meet great design.


Great Heck Brewing

Hailing from North Yorkshire, Great Heck’s Citra is probably the beer that set me off on my journey to ultimately writing this blog. Not only a great session ale but the intricate illustration style of the Great Heck range is just as enjoyable as you find yourself following the route of the illustration which represents the brewing process. The beautifully named ‘Dave’ beer is not one I have tasted (yet!) but the image shows how the design is adapted from bottles to pump clips.



In my opinion, the Brewdog range is a perfect example of a strong brand that has been successfully executed across various products. The consistency of the design is clear to see in the image below but a large colour palette helps to give each beer its own independence whilst also creating a stunning line-up. Thankfully, the increased popularity of Brewdog means that more and more of the range can be found on the shelves of your supermarket.

The Brewdog labels don’t just look good but they feel good too! This is down to the letterpress printing process, which gives them a natural raised surface that adds to the impressive brand appearance. To read more about the printing process of the Brewdog labels click here – http://typoretum.co.uk/letterpress-printing/wood-metal-type-proofing-for-new-brewdog-branding/


Yellow Belly – Buxton Brewery & Omnipollo

Some breweries don’t just use the packaging to make their beers look good but to promote messages as is the case with Yellow Belly, a collaborative beer between the Buxton Brewery and Omnipollo, a Stockholm based brewery. This peanut butter and biscuit Imperial Stout not only packs a punch at 10% ABV but also takes aim at facism throughout the European political scene. As you can see from the images, the daring packaging does not shy away from making a political statement and is supported by a passage of text that showcases the meaning behind the beer.


I could carry on and present more examples of great beers with great designs but you may begin to question my drinking habits so I best round this blog up! My job has obviously taught me to recognise the craft and skill involved in design but I’m also learning to appreciate the same things in the creation of unique beers. If you take anything from this blog, it would be to not discard the bottle the next time you find yourself pouring a tasty craft ale, but to take a moment to appreciate the design of the label and the hard work behind it.

At Cornerstone, we don’t currently produce any work of this nature but if you are a beer-maker reading this, we would love for you to get in touch. We would be more than happy to create a unique and distinctive brand for your beers (as well as sampling them!).

And as always, drink responsibly.


Images sourced from:

‘Citra’ bottle and glass – https://brewersfriend.wordpress.com/2015/06/11/citra-session/

‘Dave’ pump clip – http://www.greatheckbrewery.co.uk/caskales.html

Brewdog range – http://typoretum.co.uk/letterpress-printing/wood-metal-type-proofing-for-new-brewdog-branding/

‘Yellow Belly’ wrapped – https://www.dexterandjones.co.uk/products/buxton-yellow-belly

‘Yellow Belly’ bottle and glass – http://stormyskiesahead.tumblr.com/post/98740910359






Cornerstone DM