Who doesn’t love a nice cold one? Beer is as much a staple on the American beverage scene as coffee, water or a nice, refreshing glass of Dr Pepper. And while beer historically has the reputation of being the beverage-of-choice of college keg parties everywhere, the explosion of the craft beer scene in recent years has started to draw a much more diverse and sophisticated crowd.

Design by mdna

The beer drinkers of today are less concerned about keg stands and getting their party on than the experience: the smoothness, texture, flavor and (you guessed it) the label design.

Your beer label design is crucial. It’s what sets you apart from the hundreds of competing cans and bottles on the shelf and pulls your ideal drinker’s eyes right to you, like a moth to a flame (or a teenage girl to a 90’s boy band). It gives your drinkers a glimpse into what they can expect when they pop open your ale, lager, stout or porter and take that first, smooth sip.

Beer label design is not a one-size-fits-all kind of game. Your ideal label is going to depend on what you want your brand to convey. Here are 30 beer label ideas to inspire you and draw in the perfect customers with your craft beer label.

Illustrative beer label art

Every kid-at-heart loves cartoons. And let’s be honest, 90% of adults are basically overgrown children that can legally drink beer. Appeal to the cartoon-loving kid in people—and position your brand as quirky and fun—with awesome illustrative labels.

Beer label design by Martis Lupus for Fabryka Piwa
Cartoon-like beer label design
Beer label design by Wooden Horse
Zombie Dust by 3 Floyds
Sometimes the undead need a beer, too. Via 3 Floyds Brewing Company
Mysterio beer label
Beer label design by MANTSA® for Mysterio
Dual Hoppy Lager beer label
Beer label design by MANTSA® for Dual Hoppy Lager

Graphic labels

Another great way to be remembered and pack a visual punch is to go bold. Big, colorful graphics (as opposed to more subdued design elements) will make your label visually pop and stand out on the shelf. You can use colors and shapes to give your brew a personality that matches it’s flavor. Plus, you can use graphic design to mirror the latest design trends, which is sure to appeal to trendy, hipster millennials.

Colorful beer labels
Beer label design by Dizziness Design.
Graphic beer label design
Beer label design by Milakat
Atlantic APA by Brixton Brewery
This colorful label is sure to grab a drinker’s attention. Via Brixton Brewery.
Beer label with graphic
Beer label design by Multipraktik
Yushan Brewery Beer Label
Beer label design by Noonmoon Design for Yushan Brewery

Art & photography labels

If there was one word to describe the craft beer lover, “sophisticated” would definitely be a top contender. And if you want to add an air of sophistication to your craft beer label, art- or photo-inspired imagery is a great way to do it. Epic nature paintings or quirky portrait collages on your label are sure to grab that upscale drinker’s attention.

Obsidian Stout from Deschutes Brewery
Obsidian Stout showcases a mountain landscape that looks so sharp, it could be a photo. Via Deschutes Brewery.
Quirky photo-based beer label design
Beer label design by MANTSA®
Reasonably Corrupt by Great Raft Brewing Company
Reasonably Corrupt from Great Raft Brewing Company. Via Imbibe Magazine.
Hazards beer label
Beer label design by MANTSA®

Minimalist beer labels

Sometimes, when it comes to design, less is more. If your label is super over the top, the craft beer crowd is going to feel like you’re trying too hard. You’re not going to grab this drinker’s attention by using a bunch of gimmicks. Instead, focus on clean, sleek, simple design.

Bier Label
Bier – keeping it simple. Via Bier.
Fogbelt Brewing Company
Minimalist design at its best. Via Fogbelt Brewing.
Maltman’s Pale Ale Beer Label
Beer Label Design by Wooden Horse for Maltman’s Pale Ale.
Simple beer label design
Beer label design by Giorgos.face
This minimalist porter can from Fieldwork Brewing shows that less is more.

Traditional labels

Sometimes, we’re just in the mood for something that reminds us of home, and the beers daddy used to drink. When going after the old-school beer drinker, try to build on what’s already working and go for something more traditional. Think of it as “traditional beer style.” Incorporating gothic lettering and other elements typically used in domestic beer design can help bring about a sense of nostalgia in your drinkers.

Traditional style beer label
Beer label design by Bence Balaton
Pikes Genuine Stout
Traditional beer label design, Australian style. Via Pikes Beer Company.
Bob Ross Did It traditional beer label
Beer label design by Keyshod for Noon Whistle
Traditionally designed beer label
Beer label design by Fe Melo
Wise Man beer label
Beer label design by Wooden Horse for Wise Man Brewing

Americana labels

One design element that pretty much every domestic beer company has used is patriotism. I mean, most old-school beers are, by definition, American. Tap into that nostalgia and use red, white, blue or other classic American themes. You’ll have folks toasting with your beer at their next 4th of July BBQ. #murica

Red Ale by Centennial Beer Company
Red Ale, featuring red, white, and blue. Via Centennial Beer Company.
Dry Dock Hefeweizen
Amber waves of grain from Dry Dock. Via Dry Dock Brewing Company.
Rogue American Amber Ale
This amber ale is all-American. Via Rogue.
Brew Free or Die label
Brew Free or Die. Via 21st Amendment Brewing Company.
Red, white, and blue beer label design
Beer label design by ZeKDesign for Hugo Eis

Cheers to bad-ass beer labels!

The best thing about the craft beer scene is that there are just as many ways to create beautiful beer labels as there are types of beer. The most important thing to keep in mind when designing your label is to make sure it’s true to you and your brand. Whether you want your orange hefe to be bold and playful, your lager to be traditional or your sour to be minimalistic, there is a fantastic design for you.

Your beer creates a unique experience for your customers. Make sure they have the same kind of experience when they look at your label.

Looking for an awesome custom label for your brew? We’ve got you covered (well, labeled).