Brewing Identity: The Art of Craft Beer

"Brewing Identity: The Art of Craft Beer" takes a look at the art found on beer cans and bottle labels and the artists who create it.

American craft breweries are rooted in the tradition of historic brewing styles while experimenting with innovative ingredients. While taste is what ultimately establishes a loyal customer base, label design is what brings bottles from the store shelf into the home. The use of beer labels today is more than a means of advertising, it is a preferred way to communicate and establish brand identity.

This exhibition highlights select craft breweries from the Midwestern United States. These breweries were chosen for their attention to detail beyond the taste of the beer. With the art and design of their beer labels and brewery accouterments, an identity is created that allows consumers to appreciate an immersive beer experience.

Featured Breweries


Illinois has 83 craft breweries, ranked 11th in America.

Pipeworks (Chicago)
This exhibition focuses on one of Pipeworks' artists Jason Burke, who has been designing owners Beejay Oslon and Garrit Lewis since the brewery began with a Kickstarter campaign in 2012.

Revolution Brewing (Chicago)
No revolution comes about without a little hard work. The strength of the tightly closed fist logo represents Josh Deth's determination to be part of the growth and revolution in the American craft beer industry.

Solemn Oath (Naperville)
Founded in 2012 by John Barley and Tim Marshall, Solemn Oath's penchant for adventure spreads to their beer labels, designed by Jourdan Gullett, a trained muralist.

Spiteful Brewing (Chicago)
Brad Shaffer and Jason Klein founded this nanobrewery in 2010. The brewery's labels are designed by local artists, such as Chris Murphy, who also designed the logo.

Two Brothers (Warrenville)
Brothers Jim and Jason Abel opened this microbrewery in 1996. In-house designers create labels based on the beer name and/or contents.


Indiana has 63 craft breweries, ranked 14th in America.

Sun King Brewery (Indianapolis)
Inspired by Aztec artwork, owners Clay Robinson and Dave Colt hired in-house artist Shane Brown to design the brewery's logo. Brown has continued to be part of the design team since it opened in 2009.

Upland Brewing (Bloomington)
Utilizing Indianapolis-based Young and Laramore Advertising, Upland Brewing Co. has recently undergone a rebranding process in order to capture the quality, culture, and spirit that make them and their community unique.


Iowa has 40 craft breweries, ranked 21st in America.

Toppling Goliath (Decorah)
As the brewery's mission goes against the global consolidation for beer, Toppling Goliath was a fitting choice for the name. Clark Lewey opened the brewery in 2009 and employs Jon Ferguson to design labels.


Michigan has 131 craft breweries, ranked 5th in America.

New Holland Brewing (Holland)
Brett VanderKamp and Jason Spaulding founded New Holland in 1996. This exhibition focuses on the brewery's "Hatter Series" labels designed by freelance artist Kyle Bice.


Minnesota has 52 craft breweries, ranked 17th in America.

Bent Brewstillery (Roseville)
Owner Bartley Blume of Bent Brewstillery, a craft brewery and distillery, works with multiple artists who create designs for their beer label.

Summit Brewing (St. Paul)
Founded by Mark Stutrud in 1986, Summit's name is inspired by St. Paul's historic Summit Avenue. They rebranded in partnership with the design agency Duffy & Partners. The design tone is based on Summit's personality and evolving identity


Missouri has 49 craft breweries, ranked 18th in America.

Boulevard Brewing Co. (Kansas City)
Founded in 1989 by John McDonald, is named after the street it is located on, Southwest Boulevard. Payton Kelly designed the label for the brewery's flagship beer Pale Ale, and works as the Creative Director.


Ohio has 76 craft breweries, ranked 12th in America.

MadTree Brewing Co. (Cincinnati)
The name MadTree combines the notion of the brewers being "mad scientists" with a deeply rooted tree representing the strength of the brewery. The brewery interacts with local artists and craftspeople to create label designs.

Warped Wing Brewery (Dayton)
Located in an old foundry downtown, Warped Wing Brewery honors Dayton's rich history of invention, innovation, and industry with its logo and beer labels. The Wright Brothers and their airplane advancements inspired the brewery's name.


Wisconsin has 90 craft breweries, ranked 10th in America.

Lakefront Brewery (Milwaukee)
Lakefront Brewery is known for bottling the first certified organic beer as well as the first federally approved gluten-free beer in the country. Several of their beers incorporate names of Milwaukee neighborhoods celebrating local history.Wisconsin 90 craft breweries (10th in America)

Pearl Street Brewery (La Crosse)
Brewers Anthony and Joe Katchever founded Pearl Street Brewery in 1999. The brewery designs labels that are representative of the beer titles and the brewery's relationship to the downtown LaCrosse community.

Rental Information

Tour Dates

Available through December 2020

Exhibition Duration

Six weeks

Minimum Space Requirements

127 running feet

Rental Fee

$500 plus one-way shipping to next venue. Fifty percent down is required to reserve an exhibition time slot; balance due one month before your exhibition opens.


Peter Van Ael
Olson Gallery Coordinator

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