Each Spring Brew Your Own's offices are flooded with hundreds of homemade labels for homemade beer. Here are the best of the best from our annual contest!
In 1995 Brew Your Own published our first magazine, and in that same year we started our annual homebrew label contest. You’d think by now we’d start seeing the same old same old in the label designs — but that’s definitely not the case! It seems like every year people come up with new ways to package their homebrews that are fresh, funny, heartfelt, or even a little freaky. This year we unanimously gave our votes to the Incredible Hop hoisting a half barrel. We also had a lot of love for a Thor-esqe Oktoberfest goat, went around the world in 80 IBUs, and got a little cross culture with a French Canadian “bière” dressed up for Mexico’s Day of the Dead. This year we also let readers choose their favorite “People’s Choice” through voting on social media (see that label on page 50). Thank you to everyone who entered the contest this year. Congratulations to the winners, and thank you to all of our very generous sponsors for the thousands of dollars worth of great homebrewing prizes. Cheers!
Homebrew labels came from every region of the United States. They came from all over Canada. And they even came from far away lands including Argentina, Norway, and Poland. Some were made to commemorate weddings, anniversaries, graduations, and births; others to remember fallen soldiers, lost family members, and pets; and, of course, others were just made to immortalize and decorate their brewing creations.
Labels filled the office in recent weeks and left the staff at BYO with the daunting task of selecting our favorites. The labels were judged on creativity, style, color schemes, neatness, humor, how the labels would look on bottles, and any other attributes we came up with as we went along to argue for our favorites. We quickly realized the opinions among us were as diverse as the labels in front of us. Debates were loud and allegiances were formed as our selections were finally condensed down to four finalists. Then the real fun began and even mad scientist Doc Brown would have had trouble concocting an algorithm to choose a winner (or maybe we were just pushing off the return to our desks). In the end, we kept going back to Mike Lanzafame's "1.21 GigaHops" label, awarding him the Grand Champion and bragging rights for the next 12 months.
Even if your label didn't receive recognition, we hope the beer inside your bottles is reward enough and will help console you until next year's label contest when we start back at square one. Of course, we couldn't do this contest without our sponsors and the incredible prizes they contribute, so a big thanks goes out to all of them. Also, a big thanks to all of you who shared your creativity with us.
For the past several weeks the BYO office has been overrun with envelopes and boxes for the annual label contest. This year's judging was the hardest yet, as competitors definitely brought their "A" game and we had to choose from more entries than ever. Entrants utilized not only the normal label canvas but also expanded into the 3-D realm and hand painted their bottles. We received entries everywhere from as far away as Brazil and New Zealand. Overall, labels were an eclectic mix, drawing inspiration from a wide range of ideas: a musical instrument, the family dog, a prized piece of artwork, a (sometimes) clever pun, and a lost love.
We'd like to thank everyone who entered this year for your dedication to creativity not only in the brew kettle but also on the bottle. The judging process was not easy, but we had a great time choosing this year's winning designs. Congratulations to all the winners, and thank you to our sponsors for providing all of the great prizes. The process doesn't stop here, either. We hope you're already working on your best designs for next year!
One event that never gets old for the BYO staff is the annual label
contest. Each year we all look forward to seeing what homebrewers have
come up with for designs for their cherished homebrews. From the
handdrawn to the computer designed (and this year to the hand-stiched),
the label contest is a fun way for homebrewers to express their
creativity outside of the bottle. This year we sorted through hundreds
of entries to find our favorites: a beer fit for a French Canadian
beast, a Ukrainian design made entirely from needlepoint, a label for a
brew to honor a great dog, and finally a label that any “C” hop lover
Thank you to everyone who entered this year, we had a great time choosing this year’s winning designs, which wasn’t an easy task. Congratulations to all the winners, and thank you to our sponsors for providing all of the great prizes. And for all of you homebrew artists out there, start thinking about what your next designs will be — next year will come around sooner than you think!
When it comes to homebrewers, creativity doesn’t stop at the grain bill. If a homebrew is an expression of a brewer’s taste, then the label is surely an expression of their vision. This year we received a record number of entries — from North America and beyond — for our annual label contest, and the competition was fierce. As always, it is difficult for our judges to choose the best of the best among so many worthy entries, but we battled it out to choose our favorites. This year, we were suckers for a “steampunk” design, loved the lines of a dark chocolate and vanilla stout label, felt the fire from a hop explosion and said “yes” to a seabird IPA. Thank you all for your amazing artwork, we can’t wait to see what’s to come next year! And thank you to all our sponsors for providing great prizes!
There are lots of ways to show the world the greatness of your homebrews, but a well-made label is king. Whether it is a simple, hand-drawn design or a computer-generated logo, A beer label represents a first impression.
This year, as in years past, we received many, many original, thoughtful and funny homemade designs for our annual Label contest. In fact, if we didn’t know better we could have sworn some of this year’s labels were fresh off of a commercial bottling line, thus proving that homebrewers are not only an industrious bunch, they are also endlessly creative.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then we say a good homebrew label is worth a million. Each year we collect hundreds of entries for our annual homebrew label contest, waiting patiently to open the boxes and envelopes.
We wait to see what homebrewers have been up to all year besides mashing, boiling, hopping and fermenting. Just as in years past, 2009 did not disappoint. This year we fell in love on a Dubbel Date, got geeky for an certain cephalopod, cooked up a mighty thirst for an old whaling ship and developed a major crush for a crazy cider. Winners — you wowed. Congratulations!
And to everyone who entered the contest, thank you for sharing all your hard work and imaginative entries with us. A big thanks also goes out to all of the companies who generously donated prizes. Cheers!
Even beyond Nigel Tufnel’s amp, our annual label contest has gone to 12 — 12 years of highbrow art and lowbrow comedy. Grab a beer and check out this year’s label contest winners. We love beer labels, we really do.
Because we know that a plain old bottle can never express the greatness of the homebrew it contains. Sure, you know what’s inside, but a good label tells the world that your beer deserves respect. And if that’s true, judging by the many hundreds of entries we received this year for our annual label contest, there’s quite a few good homebrews out there (and hey, if they’re actually not tasty at least they look good!).
This year’s competition was another tough one, especially with so many great entries to judge. We examined. We pondered. We agonized. And finally we came to a few agreements: being blonde is grand (if you’re a beer), being lucky is golden, being cranky is actually good (silver medal good) and being nimble is bronze-worthy. Ladies and gentlemen, raise your pint glasses to the winner’s of Brew Your Own’s 2008 Annual Label Contest. Congratulations to the winners, and thank you to everyone who entered!
They say it's what's on the inside that really counts . . . but not for our annual label contest. The artistic side of our readers is on display as we present the bronze, silver, gold and grand champion of our 2007 Label Contest.
Each year, as the many hundreds of entries for our annual label contest start filtering in, a feeling of anticipation grows among the BYO staff. Many a battle has been won and lost among the judges over the Grand Champion, Gold, Silver and Bronze winners. Personal favorites are chosen, alliances are formed, battles are waged and compromises are few.
OK, the real truth is it’s very hard to pick the best labels from all the creative and diverse entries we see, and this year was no exception. From the classic to the graphic, we eyeballed them all — agonizing over their finer points, poring over their stories and asking each other, “What do you think?”, “What would that look like on a bottle?” and “Why didn’t I think of that?!”
In the end, we all developed a real sweet tooth for our Grand Champion and narrowly agreed on the rest. Take a minute to drink in this year’s top designs, and winners — don’t forget to take a bow!
You can't judge a book by its cover, but once a year we judge some beers by their labels. The winners of our 11th annual contest show us that sometimes, it is what's on the outside that counts.
Every year we make room in our Brew Your Own warehouse for the onslaught of packages containing your homebrewed labels. OK, BYO doesn’t have a warehouse, but the pile of boxes in the editorial office is getting bigger every year. In fact, our intern’s desk was buried for over a month as the labels rolled in.
And every year the Label Contest gets a little more difficult to judge. We fly in Editor Chris Colby from his satellite office in Bastrop, Texas, call in our panel of dedicated judges and assemble around “The Big Table” in our Manchester, Vermont headquarters. The judging process is more sophisticated than anything the BJCP could fathom . . . but it WORKS!
When it was all said and done (26 hours and many broken hearts later) we had a Grand Champion. We had a Gold, Silver and Bronze medalist. We had 19 honorable mention winners and 16 Editor’s Choice labelists. Our hats go off to all of you — Cheers!
This year marks the tenth anniversary of Brew Your Own magazine and with that comes the 10th annual BYO Label Contest. It is never easy as we sit down each year to eyeball hundreds of custom labels from our creative readership.
But when all is said and done, we know our time was well spent. Great satisfaction is gained when we crown our Grand Champion, finalize our votes for Gold, Silver and Bronze labels, give mention to the honorables and select our Editors’ Picks on a strict “hey this label is talking to me” basis.
It’s not an exact science, but in 10 years of professional label critique, we’d like to think of it as an art. So . . . without further ado, grab a cool homebrew and check out these cool labels!
The Annual BYO Label Contest is never an easy task when it comes to sitting down at the judging table. A good number of man hours is spent in fierce debate, steadfast appeal for support, an occasional filibuster and a checks and balances system so complex that our label electing democracy could never fail. When it came down to the final stretch, it was one thought that united the BYO staff in choosing of our Grand Champion: “Who came up with the idea for an udder-capper and where can we get one?” Creativity is key to a contest of this nature. Joel Miller broke the mold with the innovative technique of capping the udders of a dairy cow for his Cream Stout. Our hats are off to Joel for his brave step into the milking frontier. (Note: No animals were harmed in the designing of this label).
This year's collection of homemade homebrew labels was by far the most impressive in the seven-year history of our annual competition. Here are the best of the more than 1,000 labels that flooded our office. A heartfelt toast to everyone who took the time to mail us a label and to our sponsors who donated prizes for the following winners!
For a few months every year, our office becomes the epicenter of the homebrew universe. That’s how it feels, anyway. Every day, the UPS man arrives with boxes and the mailbox is crammed with envelopes. While these Label Contest entries may not exactly come from far-flung galaxies, they definitely
represent the reaches of our own homebrew planet!
As always, our sixth annual competition of creativity and wit drew an impressive response. Hundreds of homebrewers from 32 states, not to mention Sweden and the Marshall Islands, submitted their finest creations. The UPS guy thought for sure we were getting free beer, especially when he found us hovering over a table strewn with beer bottles, arguing the merits of humor versus actual artistic talent.
The packages contained a plethora of colorful labels. We saw the usual line-up of animals — both domestic and wild — and the familiar baby-theme creations, like “Diaper Pale Ale.” We also received an unusual array of bottles bedecked with odd accessories, including tiny shells, a rabbit’s foot, a ceramic red-hot chili pepper and a toy magnifying glass.
Judging the contest is no easy task. Our guidelines are surpassingly strict: Basically, we argue for a few hours until we settle on a compromise. Some of you seem to feel our choices are arbitrary. Nonsense! They are merely whimsical.
We do have one helpful hint for the legions of label artistes who are fond of depicting bare-naked ladies in compromising positions. In a word, that advice is “no.” Hey, this is a family magazine. Isn’t it?
Without further ado, we present the winners of our Sixth Annual Label Contest. Here’s to fine art!
The first package arrived several weeks before the deadline and was treated with great reverence. The Label Gnomes, who convene to judge the contest every year, gathered around to watch. Inside the box was a silver bottle rocket.
More accurately, it was a bottle of homebrew wrapped entirely in tinfoil, complete with stabilizer fins. “Märzen to Mars!” screamed the label. “Warning! Consumption of the alcohol in this rocket can alter the space in your mind!” The gnomes cheered wildly. The fifth annual BYO Gonzo Label Contest was off to an explosive start.
Over the next month, thousands of labels, submitted by homebrewers from all across the country, arrived at BYO world headquarters. On judgment day, the gnomes took time to appreciate each and every one. This is an enviable task: In the collective sense, our readers are an amusing (and creative) bunch.
In the end, after a few nasty beard-pulling squabbles, the gnomes gave top honors to seven contestants in each of the two major
categories, professional and amateur. They also awarded “Editors’ Choice” prizes to labels that deserved ... something (we’re not quite sure what). And for readers who wonder how we pick the winners, rest assured that the strictest standards are applied. (Typical gnome exchange: “That one is awesome.” “For sure. Absolutely. I totally agree.”)
To each and every homebrewer who took time to send us a label, a sincere thanks. We wish we could publish all of them. Since we can’t, we’re establishing the all-new National Archives of Homebrew Labels in our office. It’s a filing cabinet, but what the heck. If you find yourself in Manchester, Vermont, stop by to check it out. We’ll also post lots of labels on our website (www.byo.com).
A hearty homebrew toast to everyone who made the contest, as always, a huge success.
After sorting through nearly 1,000 entries, from Wedding Bells Ale to Mosey’s Turkey Brew, from Ale House Bock (The Brew Fit for a King) to Anger Steam Beer, and from Kringle’s Christmas Ale (“Truly Ho-Homade”) to Yin and Yang Beer (“It’s a Whole Sum”), the judges have made their choices. All decisions are final. Don’t send bribes; it’s too late. Until next year, that is.
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