From the narrative-driven artwork of Jolly Pumpkin to the modernist pop-culture mashups of Stillwater, brewers and artists are increasingly using beer’s packaging as an opportunity to tell a story about their brand and the liquid inside.
Baltimore once had a flourishing beer economy thanks in part to an influx of German and Eastern European immigrants. By the end of 1899, it was home to more than 40 breweries. Competition beginning in the 1950s steadily decreased this number until Hugh Sisson opened the state’s first brewpub in 1989.
Around the country, brewers are collaborating—not just with other brewers, but with artists of all mediums. Together, they are creating beers that aim to go beyond the five senses to convey emotions and feelings. Delving into music, television and theater, brewers are combining the craft of brewing with the performing arts.
In Catalonia, the nationality within Spain that comprises the provinces of Barcelona, Girona, Lleida and Tarragona, we discovered a nascent brewing scene in and around Barcelona, still very much under the radar.
The Baltimore-based brewer, who produces adventurous ales on both sides of the Atlantic, sees some advantage in not having a home. Nothing about his Stillwater Artisanal Ales project is straightforward, from the beer in the bottle to the labels outside.