Oh Beautiful Beer: The Evolution of Craft Beer and Design

Shelf Talker by | Nov 2015 | Issue #106

Oh Beautiful Beer: The Evolution of Craft Beer and Design
by Harvey Shepard
Countryman Press, October 2015, $21.95

The evolution of design in the beer industry isn’t linear—even the concept of a beer container has changed considerably—but author Harvey Shepard lets the labels and logos speak for themselves. He decodes cans like Hilliard’s, which somehow achieves a modern look by combining a 12th-century blackletter script with chevrons dating back to 1800 BC. He shows how packaging tells the story of beer both graphically (like Speakeasy’s Prohibition-themed, noir labels) and figuratively, as with Churchkey’s flat-top cans. From Mikkeller’s directive to “draw something weird and cool,” to Bauhaus Brew Labs’ apt reference to the movement against “the unnecessary separation between art and manufacturing,” artistic expression thrives among craft breweries. Curated like a museum where a bottle cap is treated with the same reverence as a can, this book leaves us excited for what’s next, as breweries turn to unconventional materials (heat-sensitive ink, taxidermy) and new containers to make their statements.