No longer do we have to suffer a drab looking array of brown glass bottles on our beer shelves, the last few years have seen an explosion of craft beers in the UK inspired by the micro breweries of the East and West coasts of the US and the traditional brewerys of Northern and Eastern Europe. Along with this recent surge of diversity and creativity, has followed a branding revolution. How else to get your beers to leap off the shelf in an ever more competitive market, other than to go big and bold? Here is a list of 8 British breweries who not only get those taste buds a tickling, but also knock it out the park with their cool looking brands.
This hip London brewery backs up it’s B-movie style branding by ‘pushing the horizons and breaking down the walls’ of brewing, tirelessly experimenting with flavours to bring us the best, most innovative beers possible. Born in 2011 it has grown from 4 guys in a garage to over 40 in a purpose built brewery in Tottenham Hale. The growth spurt of the company in no way compromises the quality of the beer though and you can taste the love that goes in to every bottle and can. The company loves to collaborate with other brewery’s and draws inspiration from both sides of the pond but at the core of Beavertown are 6 meticulously created drinks; Tropical American Pale Ale Gamma Ray, Straight up IPA Lupuloid… the product of exhaustive experimentation, research and customer feedback; check out the cool animation created for the launch and featuring a hop based alien invasion! Then there’s the dry rye 8 ball and the easy drinking Neck Oil sporting an extra cool can design. Then there is my favourite Smog Rocket, a delicious molasses rich porter and finally Black Betty… A Black IPA made with Carafa hops from Germany and infused with hints of aniseed and tropical fruits… it was in fact inspired by childhood faves Black Jacks and Fruits Salads and by god they pull it off!
This brand is one big nod to 90’s Urban Culture…. the roughed up little bear conjures up Banksy, Hip Hop and dancing the night away under the stars with a whole bunch of people in Neon. The beer behind the bear was the brainchild of best buds Brad and Gazz who started brewing up their experimental concoctions in their Garage circa 2008.Like all good beer geeks they always took things just a little bit further than your average Joe and in 2010 with a small investment Tiny Rebel was born. In 2012 the company was officially launched with two beers that went on to win awards and pave the way for the growth of Tiny Rebel. FUBAR is the flagship pale ale with American hops and a dry spicy flavour that is both satisfying and subtle enough for craft beer newbies to enjoy. CWTCH is a Welsh red ale to cuddle up with, seducing the palette with lovely caramel undertones and a tangy mix of British and American hops, tasty and drinkable pint after pint.
Cloudwater Brewing Co.
The aim of the game for this sleek contemporary brand is seasonal brews that reap the rewards that nature has to offer as the clock of the year ticks by. From it’s inception in 2014 The Manchester based ensemble has been serious about beer. With the team taking trips to cultural craft beer hubs like Copenhagen and Portland USA to get inspired. Not having core beers means the small team tirelessly work away in their Manchester brewery expertly combining science with perfect ingredients and excellent taste to produce delicious craft beers for our enjoyment, these guys are on a roll, keep your eyes peeled for their latest brews, they are easy to spot due to the eye-catching off beat geometric labels designed by Manchester artist Alliyah Hussain. If you’re feeling flush why not treat yourself to a mixed case of the most recent Cloudwater beers from their equally well designed website!
Always sporting an eye grabbing and colourful label Partizan beers are brewed in Bermondsey by fine dining expert and beer enthusiast Andy Smith with the help of his friendly team and a black cat called Adina. As a lover of all things modern and multicultural Andy chose the name ‘Partizan’ to reflect ‘a strong belief in the preservation of identity and knowledge of the great strength and beauty that lies in the juxtaposed co-existence of differing ideas and ideals’ I particularly enjoyed the rich dark Porter, smooth and chocolatey with a good dose of vanilla hitting the palette. Artist Alec Dohertys’ slightly camp and colourful strong man label on the Lemongrass Saison also caught my eye and I just had to try the beer that sported an Adonis in gold pants on it’s receptacle! It did not disappoint, like it’s label it was fresh and surprising with light and citrus flavours and a good burst of lemongrass to wake up the taste buds. Pride and simple juxtaposition of nuanced ingredients are at the heart of these delicious craft beers and the brand and labelling are an excellent reflection of Partizan’s values and ambitions. If you like the label you will certainly enjoy the product inside!
Now a well established craft brewery housed in a beautiful Victorian warehouse in Hackney Wick Howling Hops started off in the basement of Hackneys’ first brew pub, The Cock Tavern in 2011. The aim? To create kaleidoscope of bold and characterful hoppy beers for the pleasure of beer connoisseurs and appreciators of fine craft ales. The bold and colourful branding by Hackney artist Lewis Heriz uses an arresting colour palette and a cameoing wolf to further illustrate the uncompromising nature of the beer and it’s brewers. Head down to the taproom on White Post Lane, Hackney every day from 12 noon to get your lips around one of the 10 regularly evolving brews at their freshest.
Lost And Grounded
These Bristol brewers have built their portfolio of natural beers around one central idea ‘biological acidification’ a traditional German technique rarely used outside it’s borders. Taking a collaborative approach from the off Lost and Grounded wanted their core range to reflect the diversity of their team, inspired by cooperation, kindness and travels their little map logo is the perfect indication of where they are coming from. Combined with striking designs by Alexia Tucker and Sam Davies that depict weird and wonderful creatures in majestic panorama’s the logo and labels couldn’t be much clearer about the caring, sharing ethos of the brains behind the brews. The core range features 7 meticulously thought out ales and porters ranging from the smooth and light Keller Pils to the dark and chocolatey Running With Spectres. Look out for the colourful whimsical brand at your local brew pub and pick your poison….. Nom!
Magic Rock Brewing
Magic Rock Started out in Huddersfield 2011 as a family affair, brothers Richard and Johnny Burhouse teamed up with brewer Stuart Ross and driven by their collective appreciation for great beer and inspired by the US craft beer scene they set out to create their own brews. Magic Rock was founded and proved such a hit that capacity had to be doubled, yes doubled to meet demand! In 2012 Johnny stepped out of the process but Magic Rock has continued to go from strength to strength, employing more than 30 people with widespread distribution across the UK and export going global. Helped along by Richard Norgate’s striking Burtonesque Circus design Magic Rock Beers are not difficult to spot on the shelf. Inside the hip and colourful cans you will find everything from the crisp and fruity Highwire Grapefruit (the red and yellow one) to the dense and satisfying Dark Arts Stout (the monochrome one of course). With the team working tirelessly to create fresh and distinctive craft beers it’s Sup Sup and away for this northern powerhouse!
The branding is clear with these Terry Pratchett inspired fantasy ales, each with a delightful story attached. Allegedly brewed in the cellars of the ‘Unseen University’ until an explosive accident forced a moved to the ‘Boathouse Brewery’ a few hundred yards away by the river ankh (in Essex)… The many characters of Discworld are continuously experimenting to create their delicious hop forward range of craft ales. Yes you will find Discworld ales are brewed by a wide range of mythical beings from dwarves to gollums with a healthy smattering of wizards of course. Try the Professor of Post Mortems Hix’s Darkside if you like a sweet and robust stout or the delicious Modo’s Midden if you prefer an aromatic blonde. This is a great concept which has given birth to great tasting beers, taste one for yourself by ordering online!