If you saw my last post, about a Czech Ornithologist suggesting a correlation between beer consumption and academic output among his peers, you may have noticed my little joke at the end about him drinking only beer with birds on the label. I knew there were plenty of dogs on beer labels (I recall Stephen Beaumont doing an article about that several years ago, which I helped with infinitesimally by putting together a list of ones I knew about). Then there was Session #7 hosted by Rick Lyke, The Brew Zoo: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and Part 6, where animals of all stripes were found lurking on beer labels.
So I did a little search to see if I could find out if indeed there were a lot of labels with birds on them, and I found more than I bargained for. First, there’s this online collection of Birds on Beer Labels, which features scans of quite a few, including Mendocino’s Red Tail Ale. But then I came across this: The International Bird Beer Label Association, a 15-year old group dedicated to documenting beer labels with birds on them! The IBBLA, as of November of last year, has 296 confirmed sightings of birds on beer labels plus three homebrew labels and three more beers with a bird in the name, but no corresponding image on the label. They’re all listed on their checklist, and a few scans are up on the Species Photos page. The group’s slogan is “Fostering An Appreciation For Birds and Brew.” Talk about a niche hobby. I’m speechless.