Portland Press Herald
BY RAY ROUTHIER
These days, you can walk over to the refrigerated section in most any Maine market and get lost looking at the art.
You might feel the warmth from a golden beer can top rising like the sun over a purple horizon on Rising Tide Brewing’s Chart Topper summer lager or could be struck by the crazy look in the chicken’s eyes on a can of Hypnotizing Chickens farmhouse-style ale from Foulmouthed Brewing. Or you could try to follow the twisting green vines leading to colorful berries on a can of Faerie Offering from Belleflower Brewing.
“I think part of it is about competition, but there’s just a different energy around craft beer,” said Kail Partin, 32, who as director of branding and hospitality creates label art for Portland brewery Rising Tide. “The product is a craft, making it is an art form, so the packaging should represent that.”
At Rising Tide Brewing in Portland, Partin is director of branding and art director, and so has a hand in both the look and concept of the beer. For the brand’s Oktoberfest, celebrating that German festival of all beer festivals, Partin basically dressed the gold and white can in lederhosen, with brown straps and buckles across the can. For Capsize, a ginger lime cream ale, Partin wanted a combination of images as “intense” as the flavors. The result was a giant purple sea creature wrestling a sailing ship against a murky green storm-swept sea. The Rising Tide logo – the silhouette of a man in a row boat – is floating calmly above the scene, oblivious to the terror on the lower label.
For Chart Topper, a summer lager, four or five Rising Tide employees brainstormed names that might evoke summer in Maine. They came up with the idea of a nautical chart of the Maine coast, at sunset. In the finished artwork, a golden beer can top stands in for the sun. Partin used a purple background inspired by the bright colors used on some ’80s vinyl record albums, to reflect the musical meaning of “chart topper.”
“I love theater and art and storytelling. I feel like every can should tell its own story,” Partin said.