Boozy Brilliance: Beer Packaging Explored


beer cans on a shop shelf


15 min read

When you think of beer packaging, you either think of your standard beers like Guinness or Carling, or you think of craft beers (which have some weird and wonderful designs.)

In this day and age, there has been as explosion of craft breweries which has led to all sorts of wacky beer can designs popping up all over the place.

From illustrations to striking typography they really push the boat out when it comes to design and packaging.

If you’re looking for help with your beer can packaging design, this video should cover off some of the basics:

This list should show you some of the best beer packaging design from both a visual and functional perspective.

So without further ado, take a sip of your beer, lean in, and focus on the beautiful packaging of these beers.

Credit to Corona

Corona Stack Packaging

Recently, we have all become more aware of our plastic consumption as a race, and how this goes to waste in landfills and our oceans.

Corona are on a mission to reduce plastic in their packaging and contribute towards a more sustainable planet.

The above examples shows a screw-on solution, which involves stacking your beers rather than chaining them together with plastic rings.

This is a great example of how the big companies are trying to make a positive change in a world that is becoming more aware of its impact on this planet. But doing so with a sense of design in mind.

Let’s be honest, the stacked effect looks great. And, if you are a big child like me, it already looks fun to play with!

The other plus for Corona when it comes to the design, is that I think it looks great. Using big bold typography and colour sections with the traditional badge logo comes together beautifully.

Corona shows how just because you are trying to do good, that doesn’t mean you have to lose out on design or consumer experience.

Credit to High Sparrow Beer

High Sparrow Beer

A big trend when it comes to craft beer packaging is illustration in different forms, from artists who specialise in everything create craft beer packaging.

This brings an exciting breadth of design, where no two beer cans or bottles are the same.

This design style very much focuses on the consumer. A lot of people pick products up because it caught their eye, and everyone’s eye likes different things.

This allows the designer to focus on a particular type of person, lifestyle or culture that will connect with a specific consumer.

High Sparrow does this perfectly, as it’s all about celebrating the great outdoors and how that brings people and communities together.

The illustrations use earthy, natural colours which paint scenes of exploration and adventure.

This all links to the consumers lifestyle and puts the product firmly in the mind of its target consumer.

Credit to Mundial

Cerveza Oceanica Beer

As I mentioned above, illustrations can take many forms and Cerveza Oceanica have moulded their illustration around where they come from and the natural ingredients they use.

Based in Uruguay, the packaging is meant to evoke a sense of being in a natural environment by the sea, which is exactly where you would spot all of these illustrations!

They each have a lovely cut out effect which gives it a simple and clean look, and adds a sense of visual interest.

The natural colours used throughout the packaging link back to the companies heritage, and how the company is environmentally friendly, complying with international agroecology standards.

Oceanica show how you can really illuminate your brand values through your packaging, and draw people to your mission with a stand-out design.

Credit to Thirst Craft

Monterey Pale Ale

Monterey is a blast from the past!

Anyone who has just watched ‘Stranger Things’ will look at this with excitement.

Using beautiful retro styles and clever typographic design, the packaging on either a bottle or a can speaks for itself.

Warm and inviting colours and curvy flowing text in the brand logo really bring a sense of California, which is where the beer is based.

Using this link to its heritage and a simple retro illustration, it brings a breath of fresh air to craft beer packaging design.

The idea of this brand was to bridge the gap between older consumers and younger consumers and to allow entry points at both ends of the scale.

Monterey links perfectly back to its roots, bringing all the laid back vibes from where it originated. Using these vibes, it effectively attracts new consumers, both young and old.

Credit to Landor

Tinnies Beer

This Australian Beer Company really packs a punch with its can designs.

Using unique illustrations to match with unique beers, it keeps the signature logo mark and information tabs running down the can.

Approaching your packaging like this can be risky, as if people don’t notice the brand they may view all these products as coming from different brands. In turn, this can damage your brand recognition.

What Tinnies do well is having that staple of their logo mark coming down the front of the cans. It is not the main focus but it is there, and it’s hard to miss once you get past the initial eye catching illustrations.

This allows Tinnies to really push the fact that each beer is unique with its own flavour and style that is represented through an illustration.

Credit to Thirst Craft

West Brewery

West Brewery have a similar way of thinking as Tinnies do. They have a stand out logo mark consisting of the word “West” split up into individual letters in red boxes.

This allows the designs to push past any guidelines and brand constraints. As long as it has the brand logo on it somewhere you can go as wild as you like with the designs.

And that is just what they have done, creating four designs that have their own distinct style and design. Personally, my favourite is the Dark Lager, it uses the logo marks square setup to create a pattern that spells “DRK”. Giving a nod to the brand while still having its own personality.

Beer is a pretty unique thing, with unique taste, texture and character. And from only the few examples that we have went through it shows how diverse this industry can be.

Credit to Thirst Craft

West Brewery… Again

So when looking into West Brewery’s new designs, I came across some older designs that were just as nice and done by the same agency.

Again, this shows the diversity of the beer packaging industry, these beer packaging designs are totally different and will most likely contain totally different beers.

The designs again follow no pattern or guidelines, using only the brand colours and logo mark as an identifying. But that is all they need.

On the shelf, all this packaging is eye catching, and that is half the battle. Once you have someone’s attention, that’s when your product and brand kick in and win over the consumer.

Credit to BBDO Ukraine

Hike Beer

With a lot of beer packaging going down the artistic illustrative route, it felt time to bring in a more contemporary beer packaging design.

Hike is a Ukrainian Premium Beer, and before the rebrand, it was looking very, very dated. It almost looked like a fruit juice rather than a beer.

Sometimes for a big company, small changes over the years can bring them back up to date without losing valued customers with a drastic change. But Hike decided to do the opposite.

They wanted to change, so they changed. And it was drastic, bringing a totally new contemporary and minimalist style to the brand.

These used typography with little else other than a bright orange background which makes it stand out from the rest.

With a bold change like this, the brand mission and values are normally tweaked slightly as well which creates new messaging. With Hike, this is emblazoned right on the bottle “Dream It, Do It, Hike It”.

This messaging is taken throughout the brand and all its marketing.

Hike shows how a big change can work if you are willing to go full hog and really take the company down a new route.

Credit to Brand Opus

Molson Brewery

Molson is a Canadian classic, and is similar to Hike in the sense that it was looking very dated in the new world of extravagant craft beers.

Molson has various different products and along with looking a little dated, they lacked connection to the overarching brand of Molson.

They were recognisable as there own product, but not as Molson’s product. However, their new beer packaging designs remedies this giving each product their own identity but bringing them all under one roof.

Now a few examples above focus heavily on showing the uniqueness of each beer and go out there way to create totally different packaging for each product.

While this may work for some, Molson wanted to consolidate its products into a group under one brand. But also show some distinct character that makes each product different.

Credit to Carter Wong

Tickety Brew

Creating a design that is different than everyone else in your industry can be a hard task, especially in beer packaging. It has such a depth of creative solutions to packaging its hard to stand out.

But who thought that something as simple as slightly tilting the label could do so much?

I love this Tickety Brew design. It is structured, almost templated, which makes the whole product range instantly recognisable as theirs.

The differentiating factor is the use of striking colour combinations.

Now as a designer sorting products by colour can be tricky, there are only so many different colours and shades out there. And what happens if green perfectly represents two products?

But Tickety Brew have managed to create an extensive product range sorted by colours. They even do limited editions which can combine two different colours.

Tickety Brew show how having a standard design doesn’t mean boring. If you are clever with it, it is just as exciting as all the unique illustrations.

Credit to Anarchy Brew Co

Anarchy Brew Co

For all you old punk rockers out there, Anarchy Brew Co is the brewery for you. Based in the North East of England, this brewing company has a distinct style and some very distinct products.

Taking inspiration from the artwork of the punk rock scene Anarchy Brewery Co create a huge range of products ranging from IPA’s to Brown Ales. Each has their own distinct artwork which is inspired by the unique name given to the brew.

This is hard hitting and not for everyone, but that’s not a problem. This is what the brand is born out of, this vision, this style and in true punk rock fashion, it does not need to conform to the norm of beer packaging design.

Credit to Nick Gamma

Aspetuck Brew Lab

Aspetuck Brew Lab packaging is another example of going down a totally different route. Similar to Anarchy Brewing, Aspetuck packaging focuses heavily on the brand style and visual.

The name “brew lab” is the main focal point when it comes to the visual style. Giving a scientific style that is very different from the normal when it comes to beer packaging.

I love the periodic table style logo and the science fiction like illustrations and patterns on the bottom of each can.

Connecting with your brand messaging and visual is key to linking your brand and your packaging together. This link can win over consumers and keep them with you.

Credit to Studio Juice

Camden Town Brewery

Camden Town Brewery are one of the leaders in the craft beer explosion that has came about in the last few years. And even they came to the conclusion that they needed to update and create a new visual in a fast moving market.

The new visual focuses on typography, which is all custom to each beer. I love typography and it can be classed as a specialist art form. Getting this specialist style into your brand visual that runs through to your packaging can excel your look.

Giving this unique visual approach can set your packaging aside and give it that little something extra that brings consumers in.

Credit to Manual

Fort Point Beer Company

I have seen this beer packaging in many places now, and I love it.

I’m a big fan of the shape illustration and the colours they use. Visually, it is stunning, but when you read a little more into it you get the full picture.

The illustration to someone who doesn’t know is visually lovely. But the fact Fort Point is located in San Francisco begins to build a picture of what the illustration means.

This connection to both the local market and market further a field is the perfect scenario. This can be hard to do but if you can get this right, you’re on to a winner.

Credit to Taxi Studio


Carlsberg is another brand I have paid close attention to over the last couple of years. And the reason they are in this blog post is twofold, as I have mentioned in a previous post about food packaging.

I have focused heavily on the snap packs they have created where they use less plastic packaging and use glue to keep their six packs together. Now this is a huge brand that can put money into their research and development. However, there is no reason why small companies can’t make big change in the beer packaging industry.

Now, a lot of people may not think this new rebrand does a lot.

But they have very much grew up in their visual style and matured from the 00s design to a new fresh design. What has pushed this change seems to be the explosion of beer knowledge for the consumer.

They have created a more engaging visual that connects with the public and consumers. Whether that be a more environmentally conscious consumer or a more industry knowledgeable consumer, it serves both audiences.

Credit to Corona

Corona Plastic Free Packaging

Along with Carlsberg above, Corona have been really pushing the idea of plastic free packaging.

As you have seen earlier in the post, Corona have tried a screw on can to get rid of excess plastic.

As we have all seen in programs such as Blue Planet, our over use of one use plastics is causing really damage to the planet.

This has pushed big companies to really look at how they packaged products. However, this is not solely in the beer packaging industry but it is making visible steps to change.

If you’re not the size of Corona, this may not be as easy as plowing thousands of pounds into development of greener packaging. But even small changes can go a long way in changing culture.

Credit to Dalmore

Dalmore Packaging

Now Dalmore isn’t a beer, it’s a whiskey. But I love whiskey, and I love the Dalmore brand and packaging so it is getting the last spot in this post.

When it comes to spirits, packaging design can be slightly more high end. Dalmore is no different.

The brand is clean and visually stunning, with the box uses foiling print techniques and beautiful colours.

The main event though is the silver stage head on the bottle which gives the consumer something they can really feel. This tactile style worked with me and I was instantly drawn to the bottle.

This idea of doing something a little more tactile and out there for packaging can sometimes come at a heavy cost. But could also set you apart from competition and with you over loyal customers.

Boozy Brilliance, Beer Packaging Explored

The beer industry has changed massively over the last 10 years. And in doing so, the design and beer packaging element has also changed with it.

Craft beer explosion has led to more and more unique illustrative and typography based packaging. Also, the more environmentally conscious consumer has led to brands looking for more sustainable solutions to packaging.

This all leads to better packaging design and is exciting for a designer to see what they can do in this sector.

Do you have a beer and it needs it’s packaging designed?

Get in touch, and let’s start creating packaging that get’s you noticed!