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Don’t judge a brew by its cover: 5 great beers with bad labels

on 31/05/12 at 2:55 pm


As a kid, whenever I tried to be fashionable, things always went wrong. Once I decided to make my wardrobe edgier by adding a fluorescent, Devo-style vest to the mix, with predictably poor results. I could go on, but to put it simply, fashion isn’t in my DNA. I’m a nice guy once you get to know me, but I‘m no good at wrapping myself in attractive packaging.

The same can be said for many craft beers, especially ones from established brewers – they’re awesome on the inside, but their poor fashion sense might keep you from ever finding out. Greg Heller-Labelle has been following the world of craft beer label art for over five years on his website, The Pour Curator. He says there’s a good reason for why many brewers have bad art on their creations.

“As much innovation as brewers show in flavors and technique, until recently craft beer was still largely an industry of home brewers who went pro,” he said.  “Brewing, especially in production, is a craft of precision, and lots of brewers are very conservative in their approach to everything, which is why we gets lots of pictures of mountains, rivers and hops on bottles.”

I asked Greg for his input on which beer labels are doing their brewers the greatest disservice.  These aren’t the worst labels in the world; they simply don’t do justice to the greatness of the beers they identify.