Beavertown Brewery constructing a craft beer model

Nick Dwyer, Creative Director of Beavertown Brewery, tells CR about the ornate chaos that powers the craft beer brand and how it built its identity on "spacemen, skeletons, skulls and weird exploding shit".

Nick Dwyer began drawing labels for Beavertown Brewery shortly after graduating from Central Saint Martins where he studied illustration. At that time he was working as a waiter, filling sketchbooks with drawings in the free moments he had on the shift. Originally, Beavertown Brewery's founder, Logan Plant, wanted to bring in a rotating group of local artists to design beer labels, but Dwyer drew two and took on more and more of them as the brewery grew. He didn't know then, but those first illustrations – including the now iconic gamma ray – would set the tone for the entire Beavertown brand identity.

It has come a long way in the eight years since its inception, not least the attention of Heineken, who acquired a minority stake in the company in 2018 to fund Beaverworld, the 129,000-square-foot brewery that is on the site of a former lightbulb factory in Tottenham . However, Dwyer still clearly remembers the beginnings of the company.

"I remember we were working at Hackney Wick and at that point it was really dilapidated," he told CR. “People over there were packing bottles and I was working on a chaise longue we found in a container and sharing it with our sales manager. Our table was a piece of glass over some barrels. "

Despite this humble origins, Beavertown quickly developed into a leading company in the craft beer scene, not least due to its psychedelic, illustrated labels. As Dwyer says, "It was something unexpected to put spacemen, skeletons, skulls and weird shit on cans" – especially considering the relatively solid branding of beer bottles and cans a decade ago. The influence of these products on the craft beer market is undeniable and heralds a new era in beer branding. If you walk into a bottle store now, you'll see rows of rainbow-colored cans of other craft beer names.