In a town that routinely punches above its weight artistically, Alaskan Brewing Co. has managed to stand above many other breweries, winning awards for the designs of its cans again, following a 2021 win.
The brewery won a platinum and a gold Crushie, symbolized by a crushed beer can in a raised fist, for two of its designs from the Craft Beer Marketing Awards, an international industry award for art and marketing.
“To us it’s a huge honor because we’re trying to put art out,” said Ryan Lange, the brewery’s digital marketing specialist, in an interview. “It feels good. I know internally we’re really excited about these two beers. It means our finger is on the pulse, that we’re doing something right.”
The brewery won a gold Crushie for its recently released Alaskan Brewing Co. Pilsner and a platinum Crushie for its Island Ale, according to a CBMA news release. The pilsner was designed by a local artist, Glenn Fairchild.
“I’m glad people are enjoying it. I’ve seen the boxes in people’s hands leaving the store,” Fairchild said in an interview. “Artwork is what moves the beer off the shelves.”
The artwork of both was inspired by the environment around us, Lange said.
“We always like to use Alaskan imagery and animals and all that. We want to showcase what’s great about Alaska when we put a beer out,” Lange said. “Sometimes it starts with a story. One of our brewers went on a road trip down the Kenai Peninsula and was really inspired. They wanted a beer you could drink at the end of the day. Something light, something easy drinking, something with broad appeal.”
With a broad vision in mind, they took a photo of the mountains on the trip to Fairchild.
“This is a real location,” Lange said. “We took a picture and had the artist, Glenn, recreate it graphically.”
With that direction in mind, Fairchild worked with the photo of the mountains and the imagery of the Jeep and kayak to come up with a design.
“When you’re working from live references, breaking a photograph down into simplicity can be more complicated than you think,” Fairchild said. “You start pulling out the things you really want the viewer to see.”
For the platinum-Crushie-winning Island Ale, the brewery worked with Launch Beverage Consulting to design the brightly-colored can with its tropically colored puffin on a background of greens and blues, but the genesis of the idea came from Alaskan employee Cindy Burchfield, a longtime member of the brewery.
“She’d been dreaming of a puffin beer for a very long time, and we finally got the chance with that one,” Lange said. “We came to those colors because it’s that weird place where those tropical notes meet that Alaskan scene. I see them on the shelves and they get me excited.”
Fairchild, who said he’s worked with the brewery on a number of projects for years, said he was just part of the process.
“It’s nice that it was able to be recognized like that,” Fairchild said. “A lot of thought goes into it, not just me, but from a whole team of marketers.”
The process of bringing a beer to market, Lange said, but to be recognized for the end product is gratifying.
“There’s beers that people want us to create that still aren’t out there,” Lange said. “When there’s a dream, sometimes it takes us years to bring that to life.”
• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or email@example.com.