10 Questions For...
1) Where are you based, how long have you been there for?
A: I’m based at the Brewery, in Tottenham Hale, London, but have been here from pretty much the very start. Beavertown was about 2 months old when I was asked to have a go at the Black Betty and Gamma Ray labels, which was essentially my foot in the door. I started working at Duke’s Brew and Que, Beavertown’s original home in Hackney and worked my way up from there, showing Logan sketchbooks and drawing whenever and wherever I could.
2) Tell us more about how you got into doing the Beavertown artwork, your overall role in the brewery and what you’ve got coming up this year that’s super exciting?
A: On paper it’s a really strange job, but its certainly an amazing one. My main role as creative director is producing the illustrations for and then doing the design side of our cans, bottles, banners, metal signs, stickers, t-shirts, hoodies, caps, beanies, badges etc etc. All the Beavertown artwork is me!
Back in the day when we were a little smaller, I also used to run the social media / photography side of things now but as of over a year ago that falls to the wonderful Kamilla Hannibal.
Our core range of beers is in printed cans, which when we first introduced them was a huge deal. It involves a totally different process to design for them, having limited colours and 100% vector artwork.
Coming from having hand drawn everything up until that point it was a bit of a shock. With our special, one off beers we have a unique, star covered can that we then match a label design to to make it appear seamless, meaning I have a lot more room for creativity with textures and colours, so I guess all the special beers we have coming up are what I’m most excited about designing for.
Then there is the Beavertown Extravaganza in September which is going to be huge, with a lot of scope for cultures, artwork, videos, maybe some animations and all sorts. Look out for some very cool new Beavertown artwork too. A busy summer ahead!
3) Who was your main influence that got you into design and who inspires you now?
A: I transitioned from traditional oil painting to illustration when I was finishing up at school: I used to make CDs for my friends (although mainly girls I had crushes on) and I would illustrate the cover, inside and back with the track list. Studying English at school was a big influence as I used to take the visuals from books by people like Brett Easton Ellis and Thomas Pynchon and turn them into illustrations.
Also music – I have always loved lyrics and they formed a huge part of how I tell stories now. Later on I was introduced to gritty graphic novels from the likes of Grant Morrison and Warren Ellis, along with the darker side of comics such as Batman and Preacher, and it revolutionised the way I would draw and the detail I would incorporate.
I’ve always been hugely attention seeking, which translates well into beer design when you want it to be eye catching! In a nut shell my job is having unfamiliar folks notice and try our beer, and loyal fans recognise it instantly.
4) What if push comes to shove is your favourite all time London bar, brewery and beer?
A: Thats too hard. You can’t do that. I’ll always have a huge place in my heart for Duke’s (our place) where I was first introduced to good beer, but I’ve also been spending a lot of time at Mason and Co, down on the canal in Hackney Wick. It’s an offshoot of Five Points Brewery who also make stunning beers. I would say that they are probably my favourite London Brewery at the moment then too, especially if we are going on volume drank recently.
My friend James Rylance is knocking it out the park with his brews at Urban Farmhouse, Redchurch Brewery’s barrel program.
Beer is way too hard as it changes daily, seasonally and mood-ily (?) Five points Pale and Pils are consistent favourites and regularly spotted wherever I go, our Bloody ‘Ell is perfecter this time of year if kind of lethal, and if I could get any more of Urban Farmhouse’s “House Brett” I would take the lot. Bitter is better. (The flavour not the stye)
5) What are the top few places people anyone visiting London right now should head to for great beer, food, good times?
A: Dukes is a must if you’re a meat eater, Mason and Co has a load of amazing places around it to try out too so its kind of a one stop shop for food and beer lovers, but if you want a solid pub experience with great atmosphere and solid beer selection The Adam and Eve in Homerton is the place to go. Yard Sale Pizza just opened up by my flat in Walthamstow so if I’m not working on new Beavertown artwork then that’s where I’ll be.
6) Who do you think is doing the most interesting beer things worldwide right now?
A: The understated but phenomenal Burning Sky in Sussex seem to have never had a miss when it comes to high risk, wild fermented beers. In terms of artwork it’s always cool to see what Omnipollo or specifically Karl (Grandin) are up to. It seems so effortless, and even without any text you can spot an Omnipollo beer miles off. I also had one of their beers topped with soft serve recently and loved it.
7) Where would be your favourite beer destination/adventure if you could choose to head somewhere on holiday?
A: I haven’t explored much of Germany, and the Pilsner / Lager culture over there, but would really like to. When I was last in Berlin I thought I got a good cross section of what was available but have since been told I barely scratched the surface so need to head back! I go to Canada every summer to visit my wife-to-be’s family and the beer available + the sunshine + the endless lakes = the best.
8) What gets you motivated each day and do you have some favourite tunes you have that get you in the zone whilst working on the Beavertown artwork?
A: Absolutely! if I’m not cycling (safety first kids) I’ll blast Psych / surf rock into my brain with my morning coffee. Thinking about it, I have probably never completed a drawing without having listened to music at some point but it’s not always the same thing. Sometimes I just need loud noise to block out anything but the paper and pens in front of me, other times it needs to be something that makes my mind wander. The Frowning Clouds, Heaters and Los Tones have been on repeat lately.
9) What is one awesome discovery you’d like to share with our Beer Adventurers that you’ve found out on your own beer journey
A: Ha! I’m pretty traditionalist with my beer pairings. Pizza, burgers, crisps. My Dad and I debate for hours over whether beer and olives are a good pairing, but I say without a doubt yes. He thinks chocolate is which I don’t get. I cook a lot and normally pour beer into whatever I’m cooking.
It was a while ago but sour beers were a revelation to me. When you get them right they are perfect for pretty much any occasion, and a great way to get non beer drinkers into beer.
The biggest part of this odd journey was my first sip of a craft beer – before that beer was just beer and absolutely fine the way it was, which is absolutely not true, and hopefully the whole industry is slowly but surely absolutely changing that notion
10) Finally – where can people find you at next and more information about you and Beavertown?
A: I pop up a lot on the Breweries various social media channels – Insta, Facebook, Twitter – and on our website. My personal website which has all the Beavertown artwork on it is nickdwyerillustrations.com