Beer labels

helder araujo's picture

OK let's talk about beer. What's your favorite beer label and why? select also some types or ornaments. How to make a beer has a visual better taste?
I think everyone has an opinion of beer right? So take a sip.
Best wishes.

vincent_connare's picture

or even better

alyce's picture

Perhaps this will refresh your memory. :-)

vincent_connare's picture

thanks ... my second favourite is Young's Waggledance since it uses Trebuchet.

porky's picture

Isn't it sweet...

tiger beer

matt_desmond's picture

This isn't really beer per se, but their identity is awesome.

dux's picture

I fell in love with this one and felt compelled to take the empty home with me. The bottle shape and colour had an antiquated medicinal feel (not much unlike the contents) and the descreet label with that charming ligature finished the job.

I know it's not beer, but the packaging for bombay saphire gin blows my tits off every time.

Winter Ale

golfomat's picture

Now that's a topic I can contribute to. So this is my hometown beer label. The third one from top is also the actual label. I like the two older ones at the bottom best.



aquatoad's picture

Here we go:

1. Anchor Steam. Reminds me of home. Tasty too.
2. Franziskaner. When in Munich, love the happy monk. (or when you have friends in Munich who visit).
3. And the grand prize in the bizarre category: Tilburgs Dutch Brown.
Why yes, that is a perigrin falcon with a cauldron on his head, a manish insect body and a large pink
tongue between its legs, sitting in a chair while eating a naked person with crows flying out of
their butt. Dali's beer of choice I should think.

4. Not pictured. The designer in me likes the big Sapporo silver can. The beer drinker in me hates Sapporo.


alyce's picture

Thanks for the good thread Helder. Vincent, I've never heard of Waggledance. What's with the bees and the honey? Boddingtons (which we can get at our supermarket in Los Angeles) uses them as elements on their label too.

steve_p's picture

I didn't even know there was such a thing as Dutch brown ale, let alone with Bosch labels...where can I get that beer?

Nick Shinn's picture

Possibly: "Out of the strong came forth sweetness" (from the Bible - was it about some bees who made their hive in the carcass of a dead lion?), an archetypal piece of irony which takes the rough edges off foodstuffs produced by men/industry.

aquatoad's picture


Its in our local grocery. It looks like it may be an import to the US only. Its an ok beer. Nothing special about it other than the surreal label.

hrant's picture

Of course. Beer is what makes the posts really flow! :-)

> your favorite beer label

I think a beer label is one important thing, but its role in the bottle/can as a whole is an even more important thing. Take Suntory for example: not a remarkable label, but in the context of the can -an accurately modeled miniature keg- it's wonderful.

One of my most memorable labels was of a beer from Congo, called "Ngok". It has a nasty alligator on it - made me feel like I was lost in a jungle having my last beer (which made it taste much better than it really was). Another nice label was La Ballena (from Puerto Vallarta), where the label was shaped like a whale - and that beer only came in oversized bottles.

BTW, there's a wonderful book you should get:
"Labels of Distinction - Microbrewery Label Design" by S Drate and T Olejar.
I bought it because one day I will redo my foundry identity based on inspiration from it.
Here's probably the most outlandish example (which will NOT be my inspiration :-).


And a classic lambic beer label:


I love ovals, for some reason.


alyce's picture

Nick, I like the poetic reasoning better, but guess what? Honey is one of the ingredients:

Named after a bee's motion to alert other bees to pollen.
A delicious golden ale with a superb honey aroma.
Maris Otter pale ale malt, torrefied barley, crystal malt and Fuggles and East Kent Goldings hops. Real Mexican honey and fermentation sugar - honey is added to the boil so there are no honey essences."

Is there one of those face icon thingeys for a sheepish grin?

kennmunk's picture

Hrant: do you like ovals even when they're a covered up scheme for making you drink cherry-flavoured beer?
I wants me a bacon-flavoured beer, everything a man could ask for in one smoky and salty and beery sip

argh, I'm going away for a few days, I'd have loved this thread!

Heineken and Becks are design classics, not necesarily for the graphics, but the feel of those bottles in you hand is excellent.

golfomat's picture

Which criteria do you have, when buying beer. The graphic design of the label, its typographic excellence or the taste of the beer itself?

In my (beer)conservative, bavarian attitude i'd say cherry flavoured beer is a "no go". It's about the same thing as using fake small caps or using the "inch"-sign instead of Guillemets. I'm pretty sure that we're taking this issue too serious where I live.



vincent_connare's picture

The American Budweiser embosses its cans in the UK.. to make it seem up market. This is the same for Stella. Stella gives me a headache with our without the embossing. I never drink a beer more than once for its label. Back in the early ninties when Budweiser came to England they were charging

timd's picture

This is more a cultural icon than a great design - but that bottle is calling to me now.

Chris Rugen's picture

Mmmm. Lambic.

Oh, one of my favorites: Rogue Signature: Chef Morimoto's Hazelnut Ale. Cool bottle (Iron Chef!), extremely good beer. It's got a lot of dark beer qualities, and a great, smooth chocolatey flavor. The bottles are silkscreened, and are 22 oz.

(Sorry for the poor photo, they're hard to find! I'm not at home to snap a pic of the bottle we have.)

Chris Rugen's picture

Here's a link to the actual photo alone, which is much bigger.

Chris Rugen's picture

Oh, one more: this is 'total design' at its best.

alyce's picture

Vincent, Your use of the word twee made me look to see where you are from. London, sure enough. When we occasionally buy beer, we buy Bellhaven or Boddingtons (mentioned earlier in this thread, first bought because I did like the label). A friend with dual citizenship who recently moved back to the states told us that the widgit* is laughed at there. Not being fortunate enough to have a "Bunch of Grapes" or "Black Swan" nearby we take what we can get.

*Boddington's Draughtflow is a patentened in-can system consisting of

matt_desmond's picture

Mmmm, Guinness. Here's another one of my favs:

glutton's picture

Gotta roll with the hometown brew.

(not its current packaging!)

Note that (I believe) Chank has made the sign lettering into a typeface called Brain Gelt.

hrant's picture

Kenn, Dominik: You really need to learn what lambic beer is about, guys.

John, that font looks just like Downer's Brothers.

Trivia question: what's Naomi Campbell's official beer?


whoisdan's picture

John B, that beer can reminds me of an Ajax container. Either way, I think it looks cool.

glutton's picture

Daniel -- yeah, it's old school. These days there'd be a bevel at top and bottom.

vincent_connare's picture

M. Alice... I'm from Boston as in Massachusetts... I live in London... and Boddingtons is from Manchester (about 4.5 hour drive at ~90mph north of London) where my girl friend is going in a few hours to see her mum.

I think Guinness invented the widget though.

Pyramid Apricot is always a summer favourite in Seattle but not available here down the old battlecruiser. Hoegaarden is available though.

Real German beers are the best, especially when they shake the bottle and make them foam up the last bit.

golfomat's picture

Hrant, do they have breweries in Namibia?!
What about a transaction? You send me on of those lambic ones and I send you a good beer ;-).

Vincent, you're my man. Do you know of any beer labels using comic sans? BTW, you mean "Weizen" oder "Wei

hrant's picture

Dominik, lambic beer only comes from Belgium (and only a certain valley in Belgium), so you're much closer to it than me! To be fair though lambic isn't really "beer" in the normal sense of the word - just like Westmalle Trippel (a regal brew if there ever was one) maybe isn't either.


andrew_baker's picture

I guess I shouldn't be lazy and do some research, but do the symbols on the staves serve any meaning on the hoegaarden label?

I took a look at them the other day and was wondering...


Oscar Morris's picture

Another classic...
coltcolt back

hrant's picture

> the symbols on the staves

The top-right one looks like a bishop's staff. The bottom-left looks exactly like what you use to beat the dust out of a carpet hanging over the balcony. Hmmm, maybe they mean god creates you out of dust and returns you to dust? ;-)


kris's picture

Mates, there is some very good quality beer round these parts. Lots of microbreweries making some quality tipple. Monteiths is staple diet stuff, the golden is to die for. Their labels are great, unfortunately their site has poor quality images of them. The one s on the left are the 'core' beers, the ones on the right are the seasonals. I also think Sapporo has a wonderful design overall. It feels good.

xensen's picture

A lot of nice Belgium examples at

(Belgium beer: yes!)

For example:


union's picture

My favorite beer bottle label...

a blurry one...hic...

hrant's picture

> Trivia question: what's Naomi Campbell's official beer?

No takers, eh? Negra Modelo.


golfomat's picture

Hrant, I thougtht i'd have taken your question. Perhaps not in the sense you'd expected, but... .

Never heard of "Negra Modelo" before, must be from the lambic-valley...



hrant's picture
But I prefer Bohemia - it's pretty unique.


rs_donsata's picture

Both are delicious and creamy super beers. By the way, there is also the "Caguama" bottle in adittion to the Ballena one. Both contain a liter of beer.

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