Why Label Art is So Important to FAB Beer

​For Ben Holmes​, beer is art. But the art on the outside of the can is just as important. Art inside and out is the goal of his new venture. The co-founder of Aeronaut Brewery has moved on to start FAB Beer recently and its goal is to make great beer, but also communicate with consumers from the label art.

​The brand’s first foray into the industry is called the ‘Baby Dictators ​Project‘ and encompasses two brews, “Balloon Factory” and “Squid Pro Quo.”

​”In this case, the art is the goal,” Holmes said. “Specifically, by selling 100,000 cans, we will raise enough money to create actual, real balloons which will be flown at rallies around the country for election season 2020 to create real political change.

“The art and the cause are one and the same. Politics matters! The customer should buy the beer the first time to support the cause. They should buy it the second time because they love the recipe.”

For Holmes, the beers being made as part of this new Boston-area based company have been ideas floating around in the back of his head for many years.

“I have always wanted to make a beer which resembled a New England IPA, but with a West Coast yeast,” he said. “I had a theory that the “biotransformation” properties of the New England Ale yeasts could be achieved with the West Coast yeasts if the early and late hop additions were made at just the right times, and the temperature regimen of fermentation was precisely controlled.”

He attributes these ideas from discussions with the founder of Mystic Brewery, Bryan Greenhagen and then working with Dorchester Brewing, specifically Brewmaster Todd Charbonneau which made the actual recipe following conversations with Holmes.

“I theorized that the markers of biotransformation from “Chico” yeast might be similar in flavor to New England yeasts, but leave less haze, due to the relative size of the emulsified hop/yeast haze particles in Chico as compared to a New England yeast.

“They would scatter less light but have the same flavor and aroma properties of a traditional New England yeast. I think that we achieved that, with both Balloon Factory and Squid Pro Quo.”

FAB’s beers are being produced at the Dorchester Brewing facility as well.

“Todd is incredible, and it is important for me to acknowledge his instrumental role,” Holmes added.

So Holmes believes the liquid is solid. It’s the artwork that will draw in consumers.

​”​Artwork is a joint creative process​,” he said​. ​”​We always work directly, hand-in-hand with the artists, usually through text message, and in-person sketching sessions to come up with a message that the label art will have.​”

He noted that the message ​can ​change and develop through various iterations. 

To give an example,​ the art for Balloon Factory came from working with artist Adam O’Day. He created a piece of artwork ​called “Medusa Trump,”​ created in response from a ​November 9, 2019 incident where a man popped a protestors’ “Baby Trump” balloon at the Alabama/LSU college football game.

​”Talking together, we decided that we didn’t want to make a beer that had his face on it,” Holmes said. “Adam called me up a few days later and had the idea for “Balloon Factory,” which would tell the story of our project… literally, that the beers were a balloon factory. And everything followed from there.

​”​A blue balloon being dropped onto the peach ​became a yellow wig​, and that was the story​.”​

Holmes also said that the brewery is working on a project called ‘Pilsner for Peace’ and is teaming with artists from all over the world to create art for the cans. The same liquid will be inside but with multiple can variations.

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