We all know good labels, packaging and artwork can help a beer sell. I may not like that a mediocre beer might sell better than a great one if it has more eye-catching artwork, but it happens all the time. It was especially true in the early days of craft beer when many people who were passionate about the beer they were making believed that was enough. They thought all they had to do was make great beer, and people would buy it. And so a lot of good breweries failed for no better reason than they weren’t good businesspeople, as well as good brewers. These days, as we close in on the 2,000th American brewery, most brewers now understand they have to do something to get noticed on the shelf. Good beer in the bottle or can will undoubtedly keep people buying your beer, but you have to get them to try it first. And so most at least try to be clever, artistic or interesting with their packaging. If they have the means, they hire inventive, capable people and agencies to help them.
As an unabashed art lover, a great label or package will impress me. As I’ve said, the beer inside ultimately has to deliver, but great art is an all but necessary first step. That said, I recently came across some of the most impressive new art for a beer I’ve seen in a long time. It’s for an Australian beer I’d never heard of, which makes sense since it’s brand new. It’s a new, separate brewery launched by the Melbourne brewery Little Creatures. It’s located in Healesville in the Yarra Valley, in Victoria, which is in the southeast corner of the continent of Australia. Victoria is the smallest Australian state and Melbourne is its capital.
The name of the brewery is the White Rabbit Brewery. (Note: their website was up and running yeasterday, but today is not.) The Facebook page, however, is working. The design for the beer that a design agency, BrainCells, came up with is just brilliant. This was their mission:
Little Creatures Brewing in 2009 commissioned the White Rabbit Brewery in the Yarra Valley Victoria. The new initiative is focused on delivering a unique dark ale using traditional European open fermenters that bring mysterious wild yeast character into play. brainCELLS was asked to develop the brand look and feel representative of the product, the region, and the eccentricity of the process.
I may be biased, I love rabbits. Always have. I’ve owned a few as pets over my lifetime. And it also doesn’t hurt that I love the works of Lewis Carroll, have a daughter named “Alice,” and my son’s first stuffed animal was a white bunny named “bunny” I bought him his first week (and which is still his favorite). Truth be told, my first stuffed animal when I was a kid was also a rabbit, but it had a much more embarrassing name, one that no amount of beer will ever ply from my lips.
Still, it’s such a beautiful scene, with the white rabbit jumping through the hop forest. It looks great on the six-pack carrier and the bottle, as well. If you look closely, you can see the rabbit is in a different spot on the bottle than the side of the sixer.
And below is the packaging for the white ale, which is ironically a night setting, while the dark ale is a daytime scene.
Even the glassware is cool, using a clever, and simple, two-fingered rabbit hand as a logo. It’s one that’s immediately recognizable.
I sure hope they paid as much attention to the beer as the design for the packaging. If the beer is even half as good as the artwork, it should be terrific beer. If anyone in Australia wants to send me some of the beer, or can tell me how to get some, I would be a very happy camper. I am loving the White Rabbit.