Sunday, September 26, 2010


Which one is not like the others?

How do labels affect the the alcoholic beverages you buy?

It's been pretty well documented that label design drives most wine sales but how does this translate to beer?

I'm curious what money ( if any) brewery's spend on label design.

I know the wine industry spends a grip on labels, so I never buy off design or flavor descriptors on the back. Yet for beer I can't help but be a little biased. Many of the Belgian breweries' labels are beautiful yet playful (Caracole, D, Achouffe) they hint at what's inside while still being playful (not to mention pandering to Americans by reinforcing how "rustic" Belgium is); this somehow comes off as appropriate to me.

With American beer, things seem to become a little more convoluted. For instance, we have all of Russian River's barrel aged sours - worst labels EVER!! (I do like the little graphic that explains the aging and micro organisms used, someone should make that mandatory on sour and/or barrel aged beer product regardless of bacteria and yeast). It's amazing beer inside but, if I weren't enmeshed in the beer scene, I can safely say I would never ever, ever buy their product - even if i had money to throw at things in that price range.

I'm finding that when it comes to the cheaper range of American beers, I won't buy certain beer's simply because of the label or name. This might seem pretentious, but I have a policy: no beers named after dogs or dinosaurs. I don't want beer to become pretentious, but I feel these names and labels do nothing but dumb down the immense work it takes to create a quality beer.

There has to be a middle ground between spending a ton on label design and simply defining your company. As much as I dislike their business practice, I feel that Rogue has mastered this field. Their labels are distinct, hint at whats inside, and most importantly they are uniquely Rogue - ish.

tommy arthur???

This is turning into a rant but the key point is this:

If you are truly proud of what you make why would you make a label like this?????? *

* and for the record, this beer sucks and probably deserves this label; therefore my argument is moot. However, Laughing Dog's Alpha Dog is my one exception to the no dog/dino thing. It is excellent and y'all should try it.


  1. I don't know about beer labels, but personally I only buy wines with either farm animals, farm implements such as tractors or ironically, grain silos, or bicycles on them.

    If it has a kangaroo I'm definitely not touching that shit, unless it has boxing gloves on.

  2. Just curious...what is wrong with Rogue business practices?

  3. A. They sell their beer for way too much, It's produced about 2 hours away from Portland yet they still charge upwards of 5 dollars a bomber for their lower gravity beers. Unacceptable in my opinion considering Rogues size and "working man" image.

    B. Although it wasn't entirely on their plate. The way Rogue conducted itself during the acquisition of the Green Dragon Pub was distasteful. This is well documented if you choose to look it up.

    C. According to friends who work at some of their pubs, they are chintzy at best when it comes to employee compensations.

    They are making some of, if not the best beer in Oregon, but I refuse to pay so much for it. I always wonder who is though.


  4. Interesting. There are a few of their beers I would love to try but cannot get here in Utah.