Artistic Expression Helps Form Unity in 18th Street Branding

Label art on a craft beer can or bottle can be like album art of the 1970s and 80s before CDs became the standard while the invention of digital music has basically destroyed the genre.

Some of that has come into craft beer recently as re-branding has usually meant a uniform look to a family of products by one brewery.

But sometimes, breweries like to bend from what is considered the norm. The family look is not needed for 18th Street Brewery in Gary, Indiana. Or is it?

Joey Potts, the Creative Director for the brewery, said that the brewery is fairly fluid in the branding of the beers. But even in all the wonderful art, there is unity.

“As a brewer, Drew [Fox] wants the name of the beer and the label art to reflect the beer that he and the brew team put a lot of time into,” Potts said. “I as the artist want the same thing — I want to represent it in a way that is respectful to the brewers. So we can run the gamut of super ‘metal, evil’ looking artwork to very floral and even comical. However, when looked at as a whole I feel there are common threads that tie everything together. Having myself as the house artist definitely helps with continuing that similarity.”

18th Street relishes in being artistic, even dedicating a portion of their website to all the labels that have been created, mostly by Potts.

18th Street beer 800x350

Before I was working at 18th Street full-time, Potts was doing freelance work for Fox, including label art and merchandise, as well as a redesign of Fox’s original ‘Compass Rose’ logo.

“We met up a few times to discuss his visions for 18th Street, and then he let me interpret them visually,” Potts said. “Drew is also a very visual person, so he brings a lot of really good ideas to the table for me to run with.”

When it comes to important elements for a brewery team to discuss when making changes, Potts feels that if something isn’t working, then figure out what isn’t working about it and change it.

“Change can be a scary pill to swallow both as a company and as a consumer, but so long as it is changing as a positive benefit to both parties I feel it can both draw new consumers and strengthen the relationship with existing consumers,” he said.

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