Art is all around us; it lives and breathes in everything, including on the label of that beer in your hand.

Beer label art has become increasingly popular as breweries seek to distinguish themselves with eye-catching designs that grab consumers’ attention. From bold graphics and colorful illustrations to intricate patterns and subtle details, beer art has evolved into a powerful marketing tool that not only sells beer, but also conveys the brand’s identity and values.

And if you’ve ever drank a local packaged beer, you know the beer label art game here in the 716 is strong. And some of the strongest beer art can be found right here in Western New York as a number of local brews won a number of awards at the American Advertising Federation of Buffalo’s ADDY’s 2023 Awards.

Community Beer Works x Fanfare Kansas City at Buffalo Game Day Ale (Week 6) grabbed a silver (Visual – Illustration – Single), as did CBW’s Extra Large Chocolate Malted Milk Stout. Stronghold Studios picked up gold for their work with Brickyard Brewing (Visual – Illustration – Series). CBW x Fanfare Game Day Series also scored gold for Green Bay at Buffalo (Week 8) in the Sales Promotion –Packaging – Single Unit category, CBW’s Spruce Almighty grabbed silver and CBW’s Summer Blockbuster IPA won gold in the same category, and Tom Cavanagh Design won silver in Sales Promotion – Packaging – Campaign for their work on Resurgence Brewing x The Buffalo News Two Stories Amber Lager. The Mr. Smith Agency was also recognized for their work with Twin Petrels Seltzer Company (Integrated Brand Identity Campaign).

The art of beer label design has a long history, dating back to the early days of canned beer in the mid-1930s. At first, beer cans were plain and unadorned, with simple labels. But as the market for canned beer grew, breweries began to realize the potential of using art and design to differentiate their products and attract customers. Today, beer can artwork is a highly competitive field, with breweries commissioning top artists and designers to create unique and memorable designs for their cans.

Beer art has become a vital part of the craft beer industry, providing a way for breweries to stand out in a crowded market and build a loyal fan base. Whether it’s through bold graphics, subtle details, or clever messaging, beer art captures the essence of the brand and helps to create a memorable experience for the consumer.

So next time you’re browsing the beer aisle, take a closer look at the cans and appreciate the artistry behind each one.

Brian Campbell is co-founder and Brand Manager of the Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), and Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague).