The Keeper’s Veil Honey Saison by Burial Beer Co.

Label Approval by | Sep 2016 | Issue #116

For the folks at Burial Beer Co., there’s beauty in death and decay. It’s part of the natural life cycle, a stage of the harvest and of the brewing process.

“The can and bottle label art I do for Burial has everything to do with the balance between dark and light, beauty and grotesque, life and death, while paying homage to the many tools and trades of farm living,” says artist David Paul Seymour.

In the art for The Keeper’s Veil, a honey Saison, the featured trade is beekeeping: The young beekeeper sits atop her freshly harvested honeycomb, surrounded by flowers, “in the prime spring and summer of her life,” says Seymour.

Well, that’s one half of the design—“the light side,” says co-owner Doug Reiser.

Rotate the can, and you’ll see “the dark, heavy scene of a beekeeper’s dead skull and veil nailed to a barbed-wire-wrapped fencepost, creating some sort of candle-lit vigil,” says Seymour.

“Each side represents the two extremes of the theme,” he continues. “Skulls and maggots are shown to be every bit as beautiful as flowers and butterflies.”

That’s reality, says Reiser. “We all have to deal with the juxtaposition of our demons versus our utopias.”

Burial reaches deep into art history for inspiration, from the aesthetic (“heavy-metal album cover meets Alphonse Mucha Art Nouveau meets Dali Surrealism,” says Seymour), to the dual-image concept, which mimics a diptych, a two-part painting or carving displayed on two connected panels.

“One of our founders, Jessica Reiser, taught the rest of us about otherworldly artists from the mid-14th and 15th century, and we fell into a spell trying to put our modern spin on the centuries-old style,” says Reiser.

In the end, he continues, they hope the packaging draws beer geeks to their Asheville taproom, “because hell, if this can tells a story, what can the brewery hold in store?”