This past Wednesday, AIGA organized another great event, at Golden Road Brewing. Art of the Craft brought together beer brewers, beer branders and the design community for an evening of drinks and discussion.

The event moderator was John Verive, founder of Beer of Tomorrow, Managing Editor of Beer Paper LA, and a freelance writer for LA Times. As panelists, we had Tyler Kemp, Brand Manager from Golden Road Brewing; Lee Bakofsky, Brewer and Packaging Manager from Eagle Rock Brewery; Andrew Bakofsky, Marketing Director also from Eagle Rock Brewery and Laurie Porter from Smog City.

Image source: AIGA Los Angeles

LA’s craft beer culture is relatively new compared to other cities, such as San Francisco and San Diego. Our oldest microbrewery is only 5 years old!! Eagle Rock Brewery was the first to open doors in 2009. One big factor is that real estate in LA is pretty high, the cost of the land is very expensive and it adds to the cost of starting an independent brewery. 

Image source: AIGA Los Angeles 

Beer is a great unifier, it brings different people together.  It was interesting to hear that many of these breweries have people that used to work in completely different fields, movie makers, others were engineers, but they all had one thing in common… the love for a good crafted beer! Comparing beer to wine, “beer has a whimsy, that wine doesn’t”, said Laurie; also the price point is more accessible and it’s more versatile to pair it with food.

At one point John said “raise your hand if you ever bought a beer because the label looked amazing?” many hands were raised. Each of these breweries has a very distinct label design that tells their story. Laurie, from Smog City, said they wanted to bring the craftiness of their beers to the labels, having a hand-drawn and handcrafted feel. 

Image source: Beer Goggles, Smog City Brewing

Golden Road has an LA themed label. Their labels show different locations in LA, like the Shakespeare Bridge in Los Feliz for the Hefeweizen Beer, and Echo Park for the IPA. 

Image source: The Dieline

Eagle Rock has a beautiful design with clean lines. Lee likes to take a more strategic approach when crafting their labels emphasizing that design decisions are made based on restrictions and resources and limited shelf space. They need to stand out in a small area, so their design solution was to keep the branding consistent across all SKUs. This makes for powerful shelf impact and helps to get the attention of consumers.

Image source: The Full Pint, Galco’s Old World Grocery

These breweries also offer tours! You’ll probably see a blog post about it some time soon.

Golden Road Brewing

Eagle Rock Brewery

Smog City Brewing Company