Bellwoods Brewery Labels

Wish I Designed It: Bellwoods Brewery Labels

I’ve been a big fan of the work that the Toronto design agency Doublenaut has been doing for their fellow Torontonians at Bellwoods Brewery for a while now. For me, my introduction to Bellwoods was also a funny intersection of the design and beer worlds when a beer-obsessed friend excitedly handed me a bottle of Monogamy Pale Ale to try and my first reaction was, “oh yeah, I was just looking at this on a design blog the other day”.

Bellwoods Brewery, located in the hip West Toronto neighborhood of Ossington, makes some really, really great craft beer. But probably the best thing they’ve done yet was hand over the keys to the guys at Doublenaut to take their visual identity on a joyride. The beautiful series of beer labels they’ve created closely emulates the grungy, textured style of screen-printed rock concert posters, which is a combo made in heaven (and now we have a three-world pile up of design, music and beer if you’re keeping score). Throw in some Draplin-inspired hipster design work and a pinch or two of tattoo flash and you’ve got the recipe for the coolest-looking line of beers around. To close the loop, you can buy silk-screened art prints of these beer label designs to frame and hang on your wall. Synergy!

Having artwork this good for your beer label just adds another layer of excitement to the experience as a consumer and makes you want to try them all that much more. Impressively, each label is unique and really almost entirely different from all the rest, yet they all look like parts of one whole and are instantly recognizable as a Bellwoods due to a unified palette that is consistently applied in bold swaths of color with organic inky textures.

As great as these are, it’s pretty hard not to hit it out of the park when you have a client lobbing you meatballs like Wizard Wolf, Shark Witch and Phantom Limb, to name a few. Even so, a howling wolf silhouette filled with mystical symbols and an ace-of-spades made to look like the hooded robe of a skeleton monk is just so cool I can’t get over it. Everything about these is just…fun! Doublenaut has done a great job with this ongoing campaign but I will forever remain bitterly jealous until the day a client like this comes along. ([email protected] wink wink).

So credit where credit’s due and all, but, as I was enjoying my first taste of Bellwoods’ Jelly King sour ale with my family on my birthday last weekend, I think I discovered the true inspiration behind the pattern on the label—it was my mom’s shirt.