Beer labels link to band bios, art

by | Mar 7, 2014 | A&E

Nick Jean
A&E Reporter

Many people head over to the bar for something cold and sudsy during a concert, but now, thanks to Collective Arts Brewery, beer drinkers can get their arts and draughts anywhere they wish.

Every bottle of Ontario craft brewer’s signature Rhyme & Reason extra pale ale and citrus-infused blonde Saint of Circumstance features the artwork or album art of a different artist.

Each six-pack is “kind of like a cool, pop-up gallery,” Humber graduate and Collective Arts public relations/social media manager Linda Yahya said.

Collective Arts curates its artistic collections via global submissions from which industry professionals choose those to put on their labels, brewery co-founder Matt Johnston said. Holding an open call for submissions four times a year, industry professionals review the submissions, choosing whom to feature.

Series Two, which launched last month, features 77 artists and musicians, plus one label featuring Toronto-based radio station Indie88’s Black Box Sessions. Those selections were chosen from over 800 submissions, Johnston said.

One of those selected was former Radio Humber Band of the Month, The Glorious Sons.

“It’s hard enough for bands to get noticed these days with regular channels. Anything that gets your name out there that’s out of the ordinary kind of turns people’s heads and Collective Arts is definitely doing that,” Sons guitarist Jay Emmons said.

Exposing artists and their work to a wider audience is a major reason behind the brewery’s inception, according to Johnston.

The brewery is enhancing that expanded exposure even further by partnering with United Kingdom-based augmented-reality app Blippar.

The Blippar app can read the artwork on the beer bottle’s label like a barcode. This brings up an interactive version of the artwork with links to the artist’s bio and their webpage.

The labels are even more interactive with musicians and filmmakers. When you scan those labels a song or video will start playing, Yahya explained.

Any of these pop-ups can then be shared via social media services like Twitter and Facebook and eventually allow drinkers to actually directly buy the artwork, she said.

“For us (the interactive aspect) was really important because we want to make it easy for our drinkers … to engage and connect with the artists,” Johnston said.

A new series of labels will be released four times each year, he said.

Submissions are now open for Series Three and Johnston encourages any aspiring artist, at Humber College or elsewhere, to participate by submitting their artwork to