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The Booze World Is Loving Delicate and Slightly Strange Illustrations

We love a good illustration. It’s possible that we love them even more when they’re adorning a fresh-out-the-fridge can of whatever. This month’s happy hour is a celebration of the delicate drawings we’re seeing across the beer and cocktail landscape. Read on for the best in recent booze branding.

1
Lea Carey: Zaddy’s canned cocktails

Between the dusty pastel backgrounds and the slightly zany scrawled typography, Zaddy’s canned cocktails is all about capturing a vibe. What is that vibe exactly? It’s little bit psychedelic, a little bit cute, and just the right amount of weird. Zaddy’s is made in the Bay Area, which co-founder Colleen Hochberger says informed most of the label’s design direction. The team commissioned artist Lea Carey, an old friend and Bay Area native known for her playful and colorful illustrations. The labels feature Carey’s fine-lined depictions of Bay Area landscapes set against muted purple, yellow, and teal backgrounds. “We felt that these colors were weirdly delicious, they made us all want to drink whatever was inside the can,” says Hochberger. The resulting cans have an almost cartoonish, ’90s-era look to them, and we mean that as a high compliment.

2
St-Urbain: Emmy Squared beer

St-Urbain’s branding revamp for NYC pizzeria Emmy Squared is the stuff of both dreams and nightmares. Dancing pizzas. Drunk burgers. Smiling eggs. The squiggly drawings are a pleasantly odd anthropomorphization of our favorite foods, and you know what? It makes us want all of those things even more. “The owner had made a couple of napkin drawings of strange little pizza cannibals, seen eating little burgers and mini pizzas, who were scared for their life,” explains St-Urbain’s creative director, Alex Ostroff. “They were genius, we loved them, and there was no debate in not keeping this illustration style exactly as is. We insisted.” The identity lives across pizza boxes, menus, marketing collateral, and of course, beer cans, which also happen to feature some bold sans serif type and dark, earthy colors that help the illustrations pop (and do a great job of hiding smears of pizza sauce). 

3
Young Jerks: Drowned Lands beer

Drowned Lands is brewery in upstate New York that brings the wine-world concept of terroir into its brewing process. This is a fancy way to say the beer makers are all about dirt. When NYC design studio Young Jerks began working with Drowned Lands, they wanted to pay homage to the land the brewery is built on through an Earth-inspired color palette that often changes with the seasons. The designers hand-drew the soft and spindly logo type, which was inspired by cattle brands. This style anchors a system of symbols that the brewers can apply to the constantly evolving roster of beers they brew. “We built the large system of symbols knowing the hefty output our friends at Drowned Lands were preparing,” says Dan Cassaro of Young Jerks. “They are making new beers every week and we wanted to be sure they had a system in place so that each offering would have a unique name, symbol and colorway without breaking the style.”

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Happy Hour