My Favorite Labels

For this week’s installment of my series about homebrew labels, I’ll be talking about some of my favorites and going into a little bit more detail about how I made them. I use a lot of different methods to make my labels, many start at sketches, most pass through Photoshop and they all end up in InDesign.

BeerLabelTARTThe first one that I’d like to single out as a favorite is Tart Cider. I mentioned this label last week in my post about updating labels because I recently repurposed it for my new batch of Yellow Cat Tart Cider. The original image was created in Illustrator. I sketched it several times by hand before finally drawing it with the Pen tool, creating a vector graphic. That means that the image is actually just a mathematic equation which is scalable to any size without degradation instead of an actual static image. I broke that feature, though by editing the color in Photoshop.


Anyway, the original label is still Amy’s absolute favorite but the added text, explaining how to drink the cider has bugged me since the moment it was too late to change it on the original. I got rid of it and incorporated the text into the picture using Photoshop layers and the Overlay layer styles.

BeerLabelBitterOldManIPAAside from Amy, most of the people who I share my homebrew with seem to agree that the Old Man series are my best labels. They all know my Dad, though, so I’m not sure their opinions are completely unbiased.


For these labels, I start with a photo of my Dad and draw over it in Photoshop. These are not vector graphics, they are drawn, or traced to a certain extent, with the pencil tool. All three of these labels are rough and sketchy but for some reason, my Dad is easy to caricature. Really, I have tried this method with other people and the results are usually not as good. Kory worked out okay on Kory’s Peachy Pale Ale, but that took more tinkering than any of the ones of my Dad. I had the idea of Old Old Man almost immediately after finishing Spicy Old Man, but I’m still not sure what next year’s will be.

SpicyOldManLabelSpicy Old Man is my favorite label of the series. The drawing is okay, but I really like the layout of the whole label. I wish I liked the beer better.


Dawn of the Red was a label that I made quickly, somewhat last minute. Despite that, I really like the way it turned out. I found the font from Dawn of the Dead and I made a simple label incorporating it with a red sunset. It is, I think, a pretty striking image. The overall label is hurt by the label template I was using at the time. The added text at the bottom and the smaller proportion of the art take away from the overall effect. I hope to update the label for an updated recipe next year.


One of my recent favorites is Triple Valor. For this label, I propped my camera (phone) on a platform (DVD case) to keep the position fairly consistent and took a picture of Valor. Then I moved him and took another, then another. I edited the pictures with some very rudimentary Photoshopping into one image. Luckily, these labels are pretty small because I think it looks pretty good on the bottle. Blown up, the editing would be pretty obvious, but that’s okay. I plan to take the same approach for my upcoming Quadruple Grim.

If I wrote this post again on another day, I’d probably come up with a totally different list, but as of this very moment, I think these are my favorite labels.


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