Do you judge a beer by its label?

Does a slick label make a beer? City of Ate describes how David Schuemann of CF Napa Brand Design explains in his new book, 99 Bottles of Wine, how making wine labels look more sophisticated or showy can capture the attention of shoppers more than the wine itself.

“Do people pick things up because it looks good?” responded Wim Bens when prodded about his beer labels. “Absolutely!” His Lakewood Brewing Company is well regarded in the local brewing scene, and his beers can be found on tap at many bars just as easily as it can be found on shelves at area grocery stores. Bens worked with his former employer Tracy Locke, a design and advertising firm, to develop a branding theme for all his products. And now he adapts that theme as new beers became available.

Each beer label is anchored by an image of wooden boards that vaguely echo the walls of the tasting room at the brewery. Each beer has a badge and a symbol that adheres to a similar style that is imposed on the wooden background. “It needed to be iconic, eye-catching and simple,” Bens said of the design concept. He wanted his labels to be recognizable from across the bar, or across the grocery store, no matter what style of beer was in the bottle.

Are you fooled by a label? I know the liter bottles often catch my eye with a flashy logo or a wax seal. Am I alone?

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