In the second episode in the series I sat down with Senior Designer at 21st Amendment Brewery, Benjamin Kinzer. We talked all things beer and design (as usual) as well as the chaos which comes with all of it! Enjoy…
WHAT WAS THE LAST BEER YOU DRUNK?
East Brother Bo Pils, brewed just around the corner from me in Richmond, CA. I’m so tired of IPAs at the moment and it’s too warm in California to be drinking dark beers.
THE FIRST BEER YOU DRUNK?
I have no idea, but some of my fondest memories involved Widmer’s Hefeweizen. After a full day riding motorcycles in the backcountry, we stopped by the bar and would order a pitcher of Hefe.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE BEER (BESIDES 21ST AMENDMENT OF COURSE)?
My all-time favorite beer was Alpha Queen Quadrupel IPA from Boneyard Brewing, not even sure they make it anymore, but it hit you right up front with sweet malt notes and finished with a bitter bite.
The only down fall was I had a whole growler to myself in the middle of summer in Bend, Oregon when it was 101°F in the shade… 🙂 10% ABV + 101 degrees + 64 oz…
WHAT’S IT LIKE DESIGNING FOR 21ST AMENDMENT? CAN YOU TALK US THROUGH THE PROCESS AT ALL?
Well in my head it’s a bit of chaos. I’m given a style of beer and sometimes a name, If no name is provided I organize a workshop. After we have a name I sketch as many ideas as I can into a sketchbook, edit down the ideas that work within the brand, tell a story and feel relevant to our audience.
Usually I will present anywhere from 1-5 ideas to the team in sketch form, then the team makes a decision. From there we either begin the design in-house or find an Illustrator, work through a few rounds of sketches, finalize the illustration, hand draw the type and design the layout for the packaging.
YOUR FAVOURITE LABEL?
Wow, there are so many good labels out there. So it would be a tie between Keith Shore for Mikkeller or Gretta Johnson for GRIMM. I love the HMRC Wheat Ale (Mikkeller Running Club) and Gretta Johnsons Ink Sumi for Grimm (below).
Ohhh but there is the Bionic Brew China label… But I think Recipe #1000 BA Sauternes by Mikkeller (also below) is probably my all-time favorite label.
Taking the classic poster of Michal Jordan Wings and swap Jordan for your quirky character for your #1000 recipe is brilliant and simple.
FAVOURITE LABEL YOU’VE WORKED ON?
I’m not sure how to answer this question. This is extremely difficult. Carpe Diem Mañana (below) was a wonderful opportunity, really fun project to work on and really enjoyed working with Paul Arney at The Ale Apothecary.
A Terrible Idea, a collaboration between 21st Amendment Brewery and Fieldworks, was also an interesting project as I was invited to a meeting with the founders of both breweries and all they did was talk about how they found their way to brewing. There were some funny stories, which I used for the content of the 6-pack.
WHERE DO YOU FIND YOUR INSPIRATION?
Long walks on the beach, holding hands… kidding. Walking is a great way to get ideas flowing. When I’m attempting to surf. Reading, a lot of reading. Sometimes the shower. You would be surprised how many people love to offer up ideas as well and if it’s good I will definitely pursue it.
I often use music to inspire my work. I also visit a handful of websites, which will lead to an endless pursuit of information, that leads to an article on how many Chimpanzees the United States Government killed trying to reach space, and next thing you know, you have an idea for Bitter American. Sorry to go gloomy on that.
Or I might just smoke a joint, it is California after all.
IF YOU COULD HAVE SOMEONE PLAY YOU IN A FILM, WHO WOULD IT BE?
WHAT’S THE ONE SUBJECT YOU THINK YOU COULD BEAT ANYONE ANSWERING ON?
Benjamin Kinzer’s life.
GOT ANY GOOD FACTS OR JOKES FOR US?
“Why did the orange cross the road? To peel out!” – My son was three years old when he told me that joke and he came up with it all by himself. Might not be the best joke, but the coolest memory.
ADVISE FOR ASPIRING BEER / BREWERY DESIGNERS?
Design is f*&king hard, or at least for me it is:
Always keep a sketchbook.
When you feel hopeless, want to cry, or just quit, keep pushing, you are almost there.
Essentially always pursue the best idea until you have no more time.
Don’t kick yourself if you didn’t make any progress, you actually did sub-consciously.
Find the masters you love and study their work.
NOW SUM ALL THAT UP IN ONE WORD…
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