When talking about craft beer and hops, there are a handful of breweries and beers that stand out. One that we in Southern California know quite well is Stone Brewing and their Arrogant Bastard line. Their effort to continually push the boundaries of bitterness and sheer hop overload has become synonymous with the brewery. With an attitude like this, it’s not surprising that their packaging has an almost badass feel to it, featuring a variety of gargoyle illustrations and slogans like “you’re not worthy”.
Their current portfolio of beers have such a disjointed feel that there are only a few elements that remind you who the brewery is. The signature gargoyle illustration would be the first indicator, though even that seems to come in a variety of poses and illustrative styles. The colors across all the different packages are widely varied as well, giving no sense of continuity whatsoever. While I realize much of this packaging has an iconic status amongst consumers, as a whole, the brand is lacking.
This is where designer Thanh Nguyen comes into the picture with his conceptual repackaging of the iconic Arrogant Bastard line.
The first thing you’ll notice is the sweet sweet consistency across all three bottles. There’s no way to mistake that these beers aren’t all related in some way. The iconic gargoyle still exists, but instead of changing poses, it just hangs out in the same place with his pint of what is sure to be the bitterest beer hell has to offer. The color coordination of the beer styles is an interesting concept, allowing you to quickly know which specific beer you’re about to crack open.
Something that seems a bit odd is that the Stone name is down played to an extreme degree across all the bottles and even the variety box. The focus is on the Arrogant Bastard line, which in the end would likely confuse those looking at it into thinking this is the brewery name. The type treatment gives this brand a retro feel and while I like this, knowing the brand personality Stone embodies, this is lacking that badass feel they’re so well known for.
The hanging tags are a nice touch, though seem a bit repetitive being as the beer style and black theme is already in the label just below. A nice sneaky touch here, as pointed out by LA I’m Yours, is that the wire almost resembles barbed wire being wrapped around the neck of the bottle. This could be argued as being the aggressive, badass feel I’ve been wanting, but it’s too little too late.
Overall, the design of these bottles is great and while I love the style, consistency, and subtle touches, it just doesn’t say “Stone Brewing is here to kick you in the face with hops.”