The 28th annual BYO Homebrew Label Contest attracted hundreds of submissions from across the world, and yet three of the four top medal-winners are new designs from familiar names who have won medals in previous years. Congrats to them all!
The creativity from homebrewers seems to get better every year, making judging this competition more difficult. Yet those of us at BYO take our responsibilities seriously, so after a grueling hour of debate, some shouting, side-eyes, and maybe muting a judge or two on our virtual meeting, we were able to come to agreement on our favorites, which you will find on the following pages. Let us know what you think of our choices. And remember, judging for the 2024 label contest is less than a year away, so start creating those labels (and brewing beers to go with them . . . but we’re pretty sure we don’t need to tell any of you that)!
Once again, we are able to dole out some great homebrewing prizes thanks to generous donations from sponsors, who deserve a huge thank you!
Renato Ghiraldi-Guilherme Viera • Royal Oak, Michigan
Coming off a gold medal in the 2022 BYO Label Contest for Ripland’s barrel-aged variation of Kong imperial stout, the homebrewing duo outdid themselves in the latest release from the Kong series named Merry Kong’mas (or How Kong Stole Christmas!). As with their other labels, Ripland shares a backstory for this stout with holiday spices in which Kong is described as “a grouchy, solitary creature who attempts to thwart the public’s Christmas plans by stealing decorations and presents from the nearby breweries. Miraculously, Kong realizes that Christmas is not all about money and presents, but BEER!” If this sounds familiar, it should! The brewers say, “The beer was supposed to be named Xmas Kong, but when the art came back and we saw how unsatisfied and grumpy Kong looked, it instantly reminded us of the Grinch.”
Mike Lanzafame • Springfield, New Jersey
This label caught the judges’ attention for all the characteristics that make for great labels — a complementary palate of colors and clean background design, fun imagery and name, and the ingredient icons are a great touch. We reached out to Mike to learn more, but unfortunately there isn’t much more to tell! “I wish I had a great story behind the label, but it was just a mix of ideas I had at the moment. I always seem to have a plan when I create a beer or a beer label, but on this one, I just went with it,” he responded. This comes almost a decade after Mike won Grand Champion for his submission in the 2014 Label Contest.
Joe Smaldone • Charlotte, North Carolina
This label was inspired by an annual Thanksgiving-day turkey trot that was forced to go virtual during the pandemic, featuring the now infamous Frank (who is pictured on all of Joe’s labels, including the 2022 Grand Champion label on which he’s tubing down a river). You can read all about the inspiration and charity efforts connected to Frankful 5K in the “Story Behind the Label” on page 13. But for Frank’s part, he channeled his favorite fictional runner Forrest Gump, growing out a beard and running through the desert with a hat that even Forest would be proud of.
Leif Bogwald • Nanaimo, British Columbia
Leif calls his homebrewery Berserker Brew House as a nod to his Norwegian heritage and love for “big and crazy beers” he’s tried from around the world. The labels are created with the help of his friend Ross Macaulay and match the Berserker theme. Leif says, “Berserkers were fearsome, beer-fueled warriors who were rumored to shapeshift into wild animals while under a trance-like state of fury. We focused on their ecstatic, hallucinatory internal state for this. Bright colors, lots of dynamic lines, and wild eyes scream for attention. They’re bold and a bit crazy, much like the beers I love to brew and drink!”
Rainer Porstner & Olivia Klonfar • Vienna, Austria
Receiving more than 100 votes on the Brew Your Own Facebook page is this label from Pit & Pendulum. All of the homebrewery’s labels are a play on words that mince songs and beer styles, such as Destiny’s Wild, Saisons Don’t Fear the Reaper, and our favorite, Boys Don’t Rye — a Brett-fermented rye wine that plays off The Cure’s Boys Don’t Cry album cover. Design credit goes to Sebastian Freudenschuss
(@Freudi.jpg on Instagram).
Robert Narquis • Richland, Washington
Michael Petrick • Bridgeville, Pennsylvania
Malissa Medina • Santa Monica, California
Brandon Haymaker • Glade Hill, Virginia
Norihiko Ishizaka • Osaka, Japan
Tyler Klepko • Montreal, Quebec
Dirk Huijbrechts • kuringen, Belgium
Paddy Gunn • Meath, Ireland
Steve Morren • Hudsonville, Michigan
Jack Hendrix • McKinney, Texas
Maryann Stoorvogel • Clinton Corners, New York
Craig Gunderson • Chicago, Illinois
Kenny Sutton • Erie, Pennsylvania
Travis Cherry • Friendswood, Texas
Eric Gomez • Ocoee, Florida