best craft beer labels

When it comes to craft beer, most people are more interested in what’s inside the can than the outside. With that said, with so many beers competing for attention on store shelves, standout labels have become a critical part of any brewer’s marketing strategy. Below is a round-up of some of the most vibrant, eye-catching, and downright beautiful craft beer labels to have graced a bottle or can in recent years.

Dogfish Head – Romantic Chemistry 2016

Artist Drew Millward rose to much-deserved international acclaim by creating posters for bands like the Arctic Monkeys and Foo Fighters. In 2016, Dogfish Head commissioned him to make labels for four of its seasonal brews: Romantic Chemistry, Festina Peche, Punkin Ale, and Beer for Breakfast. Our favorite is Romantic Chemistry, featuring a happy hop embracing a mango and an apricot, both key ingredients in the fruity IPA.

Unseen Creatures – Noble Friend 2021

Unseen Creatures, a small brewery in Miami, FL, commissioned this beautiful label for Noble Friend, a collaboration IPA made with fellow Florida brewer, Civil Society. Marco Leyte-Vidal, co-owner of Unseen Creatures, stated, “…The gang at Civil have become some of our closest friends in the world, helping us through this COVID crisis more than we can ever thank them for, and we thought we’d name this beer after the beautiful friendship that we’ve built.”

Oddstory Brewing – Golden Blackbird Belgian Blonde 2018

The label for Oddstory Brewing’s Golden Blackbird Belgian Blonde looks more like a children’s book cover more than a beverage label, which is a good thing, because it was inspired by a literal fairytale. In the story, a king falls ill from a mysterious illness, and his three sons must find the golden blackbird that can cure it. Artist Emily Boyd and designer Jenna Tomaszewski designed this label to represent the magic, enchantment and intrigue that Oddstory sought to capture in its Blonde Ale.

Anchorage Brewing Company – A Deal With the Devil 2020

In 2020, with COVID-19 keeping people out of taprooms, it was more important than ever for craft beers to differentiate themselves. One notable standout was A Deal With The Devil, by Anchorage Brewing Company. The name and packaging allude to dark intrigue of the beer within. At 17.3% ABV, it was one of the highest-rated barleywine-style ales ever made. The black wax added to the bottom of the cans was a unique finishing touch.

Tripping Animals – Bimini Bay 2021

It’s difficult to narrow down the best Tripping Animals beer label to just one. However, this psychedelic pink squid is definitely a standout amongst standouts. The vibrant, swirling background and rosy cephalopod promise to take the drinker on a ride they won’t forget. Tripping Animals has only been operational since 2018. It’s since become one of the best small breweries in the country, partly due to its incredible labels.

Wicked Weed Brewing – Southern Ambrosia 2017

This is one of many stunning labels designed by artist Howell Golson for Asheville-based Wicked Weed Brewing. The artist has stated that all Wicked Weed labels were inspired by the European Art Nouveau movement. He also cited “an utter refusal to depict anything in a way that anyone would expect.” On its website, Wicked Weed described its Southern Ambrosia as “encompassing the opulence of the Gilded Age, the reckless abandon of the Roaring 20’s, and the iconic elegance of the Carolina Low Country.” Looks like an accurate depiction to us.

Tactical Brewing – Fate’s Reflection 2021

This stunning label was developed for Fate’s Reflection, a collaboration beer made by Florida breweries Tactical Brewing and Freehand Goods. It was created by Freehand’s in-house artist, Veronica Steiner, and Tactical’s in-house artist, Schiani. The label is intended to provide a unique take on the Greek myth of Narcissus. It’s also to raise awareness for Florida’s dwindling panther population. A portion of the beer’s proceeds benefited the Back to Nature Wildlife Refuge, which rehabilitates and rehome native Florida wildlife.

Lenny Boy Brewing – Triple Berry Jam Sour Ale 2022

No, it’s not “Trippy” Berry, it’s Triple Berry—but you could be forgiven for making the mistake after looking at this incredible label art by Christen Lucas. Designed for Lenny Boy Brewing Company, the label takes the viewer through a fantastic voyage of berry-themed imagery. If you can’t get enough of this label, be sure to check out the other labels in the series.

Create the best craft beer labels with SSI Packaging

We hope you enjoyed browsing these amazing craft beer label designs. If you’re feeling inspired to launch a craft beer journey of your own, SSI Packaging can help. Our Richmond-based packaging company can provide you with everything you need to package, label, and distribute your homemade beverages. Be sure to check out our blog on printing your own craft beer labels. If you have any questions about launching your business, feel free to give us a call!

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