The Church Street Brewing Company has been having fun working with local artists, Nikki and Mike, whose artist names are ‘Hellcat’ and ‘Zombiac’, respectively, redesigning their labels. Heavenly Helles is already out in the market, but look for the new ones over the next couple months as the old ones disappear.
Since getting great feedback and reviews regarding our new Heavenly Helles label, many people have asked us how we’ve going about redesigning the labels. It comes down to teamwork between the eclectic Church Street Brewing team and two great uber-creative artists, Hellcat and Zombiac. Both are technically trained artists, but on these labels they’ve told us they would be working outside their “comfort zone” – check out their usual artwork: https://www.hellcatkreations.com/art. But, having said that, they do seek out challenges and like to test boundaries. Therefore, in designing the new labels, they worked very closely with the Church Street gang – brainstorming, listening to their ideas, and just soaking up the Church Street ‘vibe’. And, without a doubt, the Church Street brewers are really an eclectic bunch of folks, e.g. one is a college English Literature major (yes, it’s true), another is a well-respected award-winning home-brewer (he’s a really laid back guy), another is your consummate people-person whose father has deep roots in the brewing industry, and the others are very interesting as well such as a film artist/producer in his own right…and, let’s not forget the co-founder Joe Gregor who’s a chemical engineer; but, we’ll get to everyone’s individual personality in another blog. Anyhow, the point is that Church Street is fortunate to have such a colorful mix of people with different viewpoints and perspectives! It makes for very interesting brainstorming sessions.
Hellcat and Zombiac had to first discern and understand the “how” and “why” each beer was named, e.g. why Heavenly Helles, Pontificator Doppelbock, etc. Many people have wondered ‘why these names’? Well, Hellcat and Zombiac soon learned that there were back-stories to each one. Take for example, Church Street’s Shony Scottish Ale: In centuries past, to ensure a plentiful crop, the Celts would donate a variety of malts for a community ale to please the Shony, a local water spirit. Sadly, the custom dictated they throw it all in the ocean. In any case, Hellcat and Zombiac took these back-stories and translated them into an image that best conveys the back-story. The new Brimstone IPA label has a Viking because in historical times many Vikings were well-known for instilling hell, fire and brimstone when they went into battle…and, their smiths were known for crafting highly durable and lethal swords to wreak fire and brimstone upon their unlucky foes – we believe the label depicts some “fire and brimstone”, no? In a fun way, of course… It also helps that co-founder Lisa Gregor is of Norwegian ancestry. But, don’t worry, Lisa’s personality is not at all “fire and brimstone” – just the opposite.
Hellcat and Zombiac will admit the new Heavenly Helles label was a bit challenging for them – is it supposed to be religious, or not, etc. Although the Church Street Brewing Company logo/brand has its origins in the fact that “once upon a time the brewery was going to be located on Church Street in Addison, but never made it there…” – by the way, we’ve addressed this in our ‘origins of Church Street’ blog – the founders and team do play with the name a bit, e.g. its tagline, “Righteously Good Beer!”, and the names of their other craft beers such as Hauch von Himmel (German translation: ‘whiff from the sky’ – perhaps heaven?), Pontificator Doppelbock, and of course Heavenly Helles. So, the dilemma for the artists was ‘do we design the label with religious undertones, or not…’ Lisa Gregor gave the artists’ free reign with limited guidelines, except she wanted the labels to be “family friendly”. Lisa and Joe want all to be welcome into their brewery, even dogs! (From time to time, some patrons do in fact bring their best friend to the taproom). Lisa and Joe (as well as the entire team) are very “down-to-earth” people, involved with their community and often donate beer to various causes. In the end, Hellcat and Zombiac decided to go with a stain-glass motif – yes, many churches have stained glass, but not necessarily – you get the idea; could be interpreted either way. They also did some research and discovered no one was using this sort of mosaic. The angel, a very important element of the label, is meant to evoke a certain kindness and friendliness with a soothing appeal – religious or not, who can view a ‘nice and gentle angel’ as anything but positive. Or, maybe not? We like it – and, we hope you do too!
In summary, Hellcat and Zombiac have been working very closely with the Church Street team to understand each craft beer’s back-story; how the name was created; and, convey that understanding into an image. Right now, there are 6 new labels that have been designed – but, only Heavenly Helles has been released in the market. The next one will be the Brimstone IPA, which should be out in a few weeks. Here’s a sneak peek at the others – but, they’re still work-in-progress. We hope you have fun with them as well!