Total Pageviews

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Michigan Beer Label Competition Results Part 2: Ranks 24-28.

Here’s the next round of results for the Michigan Beer Label Competition, exclusively on Beer Avatar.  This post discusses the breweries that were ranked between 24th through 28th out of the 36 breweries in the competition. 

Round Barn Winery, Distillery, Brewery.  Score 18; Rank: tied for 28 of 36
I’ve never made it the Baroda, Michigan tasting room of our 28th ranked brewery, but I have enjoyed beer from the Round Barn Brewery at beer festivals. Based on the information from their website, they sell 4 types of beers in bottles and several more in growlers at the brewery.  They have developed labels for their 8 beer brands:  

Some example labels from Round Barn
The general iconography for many of the labels is the round barn facility made to look like a beer-stein, complete with top and frothy beer.  The idea is creative and cool but gets overused across the labels.  The icon makes a great logo.  I prefer to see something other than the logo on the labels.  As such, the brewery scored low on variety.  Not having any actual labels to consult, I relied on the website for determining the information content.  Kudos for including the alcohol content for each of the beers and a brief description as well.  I’m not likely, however, to try the Cocoa Stout as a float with vanilla ice cream.  My favorite label from this brewery is Black Magic, a chocolate stout made with black raspberries. 

Keweenaw Brewing Company.  Score 18; tied for 28 of 36
Also tied for 28th is the Keweenaw Brewing Company, located in the far North of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in Houghton. The brewery sells several of their products in cans around the state.  I have not tried all of their beers, but I like the ones that I have tasted. 

The labeling scheme is based on the local copper mining industry.  The artwork is basic and the expression of the names in the art is straightforward.  For example, Pick Ax Blonde Ale shows a buxom young blonde holding a pick ax.  The label for Widow Maker Black Ale is holding what looks like some sort of Star Wars weapon, but the story on the side of the can explains that it is a pneumatic drill that, while increasing productivity, also produced a lot of dust that was inhaled and later caused fatal health problems.  I like that story, but the artwork could be greatly improved.  
 As for the information content of the labeling, kudos for including some information about the beer, but points were lost because the alcohol content is nowhere to be found.  You can’t find it on the website either.  Yes, that’s a bit of a pet peeve of mine.  I’m looking forward to trying more beer from this brewery.

Great Baraboo Brewing Company.  Score 19; tied for 24 of 36
Four breweries tied for 24th, with a score of 19.  One of these was the Great Baraboo Brewing Company, located North of Detroit in Clinton Township, Michigan.  As far as I know, none of the beers from this brewery are sold in bottles, but the brewery decided to develop labels for their five signature beer nonetheless.  I heartily applaud this decision.  My assessment of the labels was based solely on their website:

 In general, the labels are pretty good, with decent interpretation of the beer names.  The names themselves, however, are a bit odd.  Kings Peak Cariboo Wheat, Shark Tooth Bay, Snake Eye Canyon Red Ale—where are these places?  Perhaps these names fit in with the Australian (??) theme of the restaurant?  I’ll have to visit the brewery some day and find out more.  At any rate, call me a Michigan purist, but I think that Michigan craft beer should celebrate Michigan.

Detroit Beer Company.  Score 19; tied for 24 of 36
The Detroit Beer Company puts out a scattered array of beers, yet the labels all seem to coalesce into a brand.  I like this.  I also like that the names reflect the uniqueness and character of the city for which the brewery is named after and is located.   
 One odd thing is that most of the bottled beer that is sold around the state, isn’t brewed in Detroit, but rather is contract brewed in other locations such as Brighton, Michigan.  Overlooking that issue, the labels are generally artistic, but could be improved.  The labels are informative with IBUs and original gravity listed on some of the labels, while others let us know about the beer and the name.  

 Arcadia Brewing Company.  Score 19; tied for 24 of 36
Also tied for 24th are the labels from one of my favorite Michigan breweries, Arcadia Brewing Company.  This brewery just celebrated its 15th anniversary and during that time have redone their signature beer labels.  The older labels were what I would call “still life” artwork that captured a moment, while the newer labels are stylized graphic art. I hate to say it, but I prefer the older labels. The newer labels do have better information content, including the alcohol content. 
Old label
New label

Arcadia Brewing had some really cool labels but they now have some that are way too boring for the excellent beer that they are selling.  An example of one of the cool labels was Cocoa Loco, a chocolate stout—an excellent beer with a fun label.  Another excellent beer from Arcadia is Cereal Killer barleywine (a fun play on words with tons of label potential).   

Old label
New label
The older label is much more appealing that the new label.  Instead of belaboring the point, I’ll simply say that Arcadia has great beer, some formerly great labels, and I look forward to their next label update.

Rochester Mills Beer Company. Score 19; tied for 24 of 36.
The final brewery that is tied for 24th place is the Rochester Mills Beer Company, located in Rochester, Michigan.  This brewery also sells 4 of their beers in cans.  I like the fact that the cans are larger (16 oz; 1 pint) than the usually cans that contain 12 oz of beer.  A pint is the perfect size.

The labeling scheme features mostly fancy text and little other artwork, except for a stylized building that I assume is the brewery.  The labels are colorfully balanced and have similar enough features that they have good brand recognition.  There is little creativity in the labels.  The cans are chock full of information, including a Q&A about why the beer is in cans and why the cans are pint-sized.  They also say a little about the beer and the brewery.  The only thing lacking is…yes, you guessed it…no reporting of the alcohol level.  If you haven’t already had it, I recommend trying the Cornerstone IPA—lovely hops.

That's it for the breweries ranked between 24th and 18th.  More results will be posted soon.


No comments:

Post a Comment