Bad beer labels that deter you from buying?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by fleurdelou, Mar 30, 2014.

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  1. marleyr

    marleyr Initiate (0) Feb 25, 2014 South Carolina

    I've met Scott. Isn't Edward and Morgan on the label as well. I don't know/haven't met the rest. Who is that guy Lil' B? I do love Evil Twin Lil' B?
    JISurfer likes this.
  2. keithmurray

    keithmurray Meyvn (1,487) Oct 7, 2009 Connecticut

    I'm with you, their 'label art' to me is just absurd
    PorterThwarter and raffels like this.
  3. HRamz3

    HRamz3 Initiate (0) Feb 9, 2010 Pitcairn

    Maine Brewing Co.

    Way too much going on, confusing, hard to tell what style.
  4. LambicPentameter

    LambicPentameter Initiate (0) Aug 29, 2012 Nebraska

    For the most part, label art doesn't deter me from buying. Case in point: I didn't used to be a huge fan of Founders' labels, and as I've become a bigger and bigger fan of their beer, I've come to appreciate their labels more and more. In fact, I think that in many cases, their labels are done to mimic various periods of high art in terms of style and feel:

    Pale Ale and IPA = Art Noveau
    Double Trouble = Surrealism
    Reds Rye and Dirty Bastard = Impressionism
    Porter = Romanticism
    FBS = Rockwell(ian)
    Curmudgeon = Neoclassicism
    Rubaeus = Botanical Illustration style

    But there is always an exception to the rule. There are beers that I haven't and probably won't try anytime soon because the labels are off-putting enough to be lower on the list in such a vast sea of beers to try. If the industry was like it was 15-20 years ago, with fewer offerings, the situation might be different. But as long as there is a huge selection from which to choose, labeling will continue to matter to some degree.

    Case in point: I haven't tried anything from Hoppin' Frog, mostly I have a hard time bringing myself to buy beers that are so pricey that have such cheap-looking labels.
  5. JISurfer

    JISurfer Initiate (0) Dec 10, 2002 South Carolina

    I know Rich and Scott are on there, as well as Edward and Morgan. Not sure the others.
  6. fleurdelou

    fleurdelou Initiate (0) Nov 11, 2013 Kentucky

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  7. marleyr

    marleyr Initiate (0) Feb 25, 2014 South Carolina

  8. balinor

    balinor Aspirant (225) Jul 12, 2013 Connecticut

    The contrary can also be true. I swear some of these guys spend more money on graphic design than they do cleaning out their tanks between batches.
  9. fleurdelou

    fleurdelou Initiate (0) Nov 11, 2013 Kentucky

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  10. marleyr

    marleyr Initiate (0) Feb 25, 2014 South Carolina

    THAT! Eh?
  11. fleurdelou

    fleurdelou Initiate (0) Nov 11, 2013 Kentucky

    Ah, you were quoted additionall y by mistake sir. I apologize. Though, in response. Yes I understand it was on purpose, but it could have been more eloquently assembled even for a mock piece. That is just my personal opinion.
  12. punxsybob

    punxsybob Initiate (0) Mar 9, 2014 Pennsylvania

    Ballast Point has cool labels, especially Sea Monster. Great Stout too!
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  13. Kanger

    Kanger Initiate (0) Sep 3, 2013 New York

    Granted bad labels means they could have spent more time on the beer...
  14. HoppyDazed

    HoppyDazed Initiate (0) Feb 5, 2014 California

    I cant imagine not trying a beer because you dont like the label. You dont consume the label. To me, that is beyond absurd, especially because most labels are dumb looking, plain-jane or dont make any sense anyways. By that logic you can only frequent establishments and consume brands that invest in a level of art that meets your refined and sophisticated level of acceptance, right?
  15. larryi86

    larryi86 Poo-Bah (5,040) Apr 4, 2010 Delaware
    Society Trader

    For the longest time I won't try Weyerbacher because their old labels were so bad, but once I tried their beer I was able to forgive them for having bad labels.
    utopiajane and fleurdelou like this.
  16. GCBrewery

    GCBrewery Initiate (0) Jan 18, 2014 Connecticut

    A good beer can make a bad label look sexy
  17. cestlavie

    cestlavie Initiate (0) Oct 27, 2011 New York

    DARK HORSE. The worst offenders, and just AMAZING beer. Sits on the shelf here in NY bc of it, but draft flies. Perfect example...
    Rekrule and fleurdelou like this.
  18. nchophead

    nchophead Initiate (0) May 25, 2011 North Carolina

    I love the simple graphic labels - Brewdog, Foothills, etc. I think Smuttynose labels look like something out of those stores that sell hunting paintings for grandparents. You know what I'm talking about, "Farrington's Fine Art" in downtown nowhere. It took a friend's recommendation to ever try their beers.
  19. Djpillowtalk

    Djpillowtalk Initiate (0) Nov 18, 2013 Oklahoma

    I always walked right by Firestone. Their labels are poorly colored and I just overlooked them. Soild beers though. Also, I'm an Okie, The Prairie labels are amazing.
  20. fleurdelou

    fleurdelou Initiate (0) Nov 11, 2013 Kentucky

    Let me clarify for you my definition of "bad labels." Firstly, labels are an extension of a company's brand. It is very important for a brand to develop it's self in a way that is appealing to your desired consumer base. Now, with that said, do I require that each brand meet my individual styles and tastes? No, certainly not. I openly embrace differences in label art and the fact that some of them are geared toward different target groups. That, to me bodes well for the craft beer industry and frankly, what is good for beer is good for me. What I will not accept or tolerate when choosing a product (in this case beer) is lazy, half-assed, or under thought design in their packaging. This includes pixelated images (ex. Dark Horse), designs that do not flow well together (ex. ET Justin Blabaer, new Green Flash labels), or designs that look too cheap or armature (ex. Hoppin' Frog). In closing, I hope you can understand that I do not require any company to meet my pretentious ultra-refined tastes, I merely require that they put forth enough effort that I don't blatantly notice that they did not put forth any at all.
    malvrich likes this.
  21. jklecko2

    jklecko2 Initiate (0) Oct 30, 2012 California


    I bought Alpha's Bruer off the shelf last time I was in STL. Very plain artwork, nothing remotely flashy. I can dig that
  22. LambicPentameter

    LambicPentameter Initiate (0) Aug 29, 2012 Nebraska

    It has nothing to do with "refined" or "sophisticated", so no, your logic is incredibly flawed. Having standards is not the same as having high standards. I don't expect the beer labels I buy to look like fine art--mostly, I just want them to look like the brewer/company put a minimum level of thought into them. That they care.

    I would argue that everyone has a standard on some level. Otherwise all beer labels would look like this:


    Are you telling me that you wouldn't have even a slight hesitation about buying that beer?

    Granted that's an extreme, but it's meant to illustrate that everyone has some level of discernment. It's just a matter of where it is.
    fleurdelou likes this.
  23. fleurdelou

    fleurdelou Initiate (0) Nov 11, 2013 Kentucky

    I am glad that you pointed out these style variants. I never noticed!
  24. JuliusPepperwood

    JuliusPepperwood Aspirant (230) Jul 21, 2013 North Carolina

    I've seen a few good reviews from this brewery but their name and logo turns me off from ever trying their beers.

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  25. bball208

    bball208 Initiate (0) Nov 9, 2013 New Jersey

    we all like to point out the negatives in things, so in the spirit of beer, I'll say that Founders makes my favorite labels, especially their backstage series graphics. ON POINT!!
  26. bball208

    bball208 Initiate (0) Nov 9, 2013 New Jersey

    if you don't know anything about beers or breweries, then of course the labels will sway you in one direction from the other. Everyone likes good looking things. We are a material society, and breweries should play towards that, but some don't because they either don't have the funds or just don't give a crap. In the end, the beer will speak for itself, which is why Russian River makes a killing off their ugly looking bottles, but oh so beautiful beer. Should breweries care more about their labels? Probably. Will you get over it? Probably.
  27. bball208

    bball208 Initiate (0) Nov 9, 2013 New Jersey

    disagree. their backstage series graphics are great!
  28. Modernrickk

    Modernrickk Zealot (588) Oct 3, 2013 California

    I would like to read examples of mediocre beer made better by really cool looking labels -

    *edit : I really like the mickeys bee - but wow that's probably the worst beer I've ever had
  29. fleurdelou

    fleurdelou Initiate (0) Nov 11, 2013 Kentucky

    Made better? No. Made marketable and consumed? Yes.
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  30. HRamz3

    HRamz3 Initiate (0) Feb 9, 2010 Pitcairn

    Bad label art? DP that sucker, straight away.
  31. fleurdelou

    fleurdelou Initiate (0) Nov 11, 2013 Kentucky

    No one is saying that bad label art effects the quality of the beer. It does, however, effect the perception of the quality of the beer.
    Gemini6 likes this.
  32. jeevo

    jeevo Initiate (0) Nov 1, 2012 Pennsylvania

    Bad label art might not deter people like us from buying beers because for the most part we know and are familiar with these breweries (The Bruery, Russian River, etc.), but you would have to be an idiot to not think that labels and cover art aren't one of the main factors for craft beer popularity among mainstream beer drinkers.
    fleurdelou likes this.
  33. klinger

    klinger Initiate (106) Oct 9, 2012 Ohio

    Good design connotes quality. And vice versa.
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  34. HoppyDazed

    HoppyDazed Initiate (0) Feb 5, 2014 California

    If the beer pictured above sounded good, then no, I would have no hesitation buying it. Now if a brewery slapped a piece of shit (literally) on the label, then no I wouldn't buy that beer mainly because I would think they're idiots and I wouldn't want to support them. It sounded like to me, the OP and some of the following comments said they wouldn't even research or try a beer that had a label that didnt meet some standard of acceptance. To me thats ridiculous, to you and others its perfectly acceptable and that's fine. Different strokes for different folks, no one is right or wrong on this, thats the beauty of what makes us different. We just disagree.
  35. kylelenk

    kylelenk Initiate (0) Apr 17, 2012 Michigan

    I enjoy some , hate some others. It's just that there is no uniformity to their lineup labels.

    All the breakfast stout varieties.
    All Day IPA

    Dirty Bastard (teh fuh?)
    fleurdelou likes this.
  36. LambicPentameter

    LambicPentameter Initiate (0) Aug 29, 2012 Nebraska

    But on some level, labeling matters to you, per the first bolded part of your comment. The OP mentioned that cheap, sloppy, etc. graphics/labels are a deterrent. For you, putting pictures of fecal matter on the label is a deterrent. The only difference is the threshold that officially sways you from getting a beer--which is, of course, fine. As you said, different strokes and such.

    We agree that there is no right or wrong (although this quote "To me that's ridiculous" seems to suggest that maybe you do think there is a right/wrong, but no matter). I'm merely pointing out that everyone uses labels as a clue to some degree or another. The only question is to what degree..
  37. Treezilla

    Treezilla Initiate (0) Aug 12, 2013 Colorado

  38. Glennlawless

    Glennlawless Initiate (0) Aug 31, 2013 New Jersey

    as a cook i feel the big cartoony, and colorful labels grasp my attention a LOT more then the uncolorfull and bland labels- just like in food, a super colorful dish is going to get my attention a lot quicker then the look of a bland one...... I know when it comes to taste it doesn't matter AT ALL tho...Only way you see which is better is by drinking it obviously...if I'm having a hard choice making a decision though I'm going to go with the more colorful and appealing box/label. Just how I am, haha.
    fleurdelou likes this.
  39. neckwrestler

    neckwrestler Initiate (0) Jul 24, 2012 Arkansas

    Another rather terrible example is Rock Art Brewery

    I guess I just have a hard time believing that if a consumer knew nothing beforehand about this beer/brewery (or some of the others mentioned in this thread so far) that they would still choose it over, for instance, Left Hand's Twin Sister or Odell's Myrcenary
    fleurdelou likes this.
  40. Glennlawless

    Glennlawless Initiate (0) Aug 31, 2013 New Jersey

    boxes like nugget nectar and Ithacas flower power really got me, haha. awesome artwork
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