Our Stow Away series is the most ambitious thing we’ve done here at CMBC, and we’ve created packaging with just as much beauty as the brew inside. These 750ml bottles are pure art — from their imagery to their construction to their execution. With this higher-end release, we were really looking for something that communicated quality to you, our dear beer drinkers, because when we’re asking you to pay $20 for a bottle of beer, we know you want your bang for your buck.
We think we got it.
As with many things at CMBC, we wanted to keep this series to a nautical theme. The name itself evokes that feeling: not only does it refer to the fact that you can stow it away in a cellar for up to two years, but we’ve all dreamed about being a stowaway on a cruise ship to a beautiful and exotic locale.
“We wanted something different than our usual flagship designs,” says Courtney Rosenberg, our resident graphic design genius. And after a few discussions, “I went online and created a mood board — I looked at different packaging, different colors, different nautical looks — to sort of figure out what we wanted to go for.”
Each release in this series will be named after various parts of a ship: and since the keel is the first element of a ship that’s built when it’s being constructed, it only made sense that our first release in this series reflects that. “For every part of the boat that we’re structuring, we wanted that to be prominent in the image.”
After a few false starts — there’s really nothing exciting about a large picture of a keel — the team decided to focus upon the motion of the waves, with each element referred to in the name of the beer given some amount of prominence in the image.
“The waves are my favorite part,” Courtney says. “The waves look really neat, no matter what color they’re in.”
Each release is going to have a different color scheme to go with it, “but they’re all ones that you would see while looking at the ocean or looking at the sunset.”
The intricate designs have various symbols hidden in them, as well. “If you look at the compass, there’s our little New Jersey logo in it. If you look here and there, there are little easter eggs.”
With this series, we decided to go with screenprinted 750ml bottles. Designing screenprinting on a 750ml bottle offered some interesting challenges while also opening a world of possibilities. The colors had to be matched against the amber color of the glass, but we weren’t constrained by the size of a label. “We could do almost a full wrap,” Courtney says. We had the full bottle to use as a canvas.
Screenprinting gives the bottles a collectible feel to them. “You know, you’re not just going to peel off the label and use the bottle for homebrewing, which a lot of people do. It’s ours.”
Another element about the design that has Courtney particularly jazzed is that the tops are capped with melted red wax. “It looks kind of Shakespearean. It reminds me of the skull with the candle lit and the wax dripping.”
Courtney feels that the whole design has a “message in a bottle” feel, as if it’s the type of bottle a stowaway might use to relay a message back to shore.
We’re feeling pretty confident that you’re going to want to hold on to these bottles long after you’ve decided to enjoy the beer, whether it’s to display them on your mantel or bar, or get a message to a faraway land. “When they’re all lined up,” Courtney says, “it’s like a sunset.”
At least three more releases in the Stow Away Series are planned for this year, with the bottle designs having both variation and consistency. “The cool thing is that there are little changes in the design between each release.”
“They’re similar,” she says, “but completely different at the same time.”
Kind of like the series itself: all barrel-aged, sour brews, but all expected to be wildly different from one another.
We’re sure you’ll love Courtney’s work, too! Be sure to pick up a bottle (or three) on Saturday, June 25, at 11am.