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The History Behind the Label: Believer

Jan 17, 2017 Comments (1) The History Behind the Label: Believer

We are so excited that our fan-favorite double red ale is back. Believer is available NOW on the shelf and on-draft through April. Every ounce of Believer sold goes to organizations that are doing good. For more information about this campaign, please click HERE.

The artwork behind every Ninkasi beer has its own unique story. We pride ourselves in having an in-house art department that produces original designs that add to the creative brand of Ninkasi. The Believer label roots back to the love we share for our community and of course, great beer. 

Years ago, our co-founder and founding brewer, Jamie Floyd, wanted a tattoo that represented his love for beer. With the help of Infinity Tattoo Parlor owner Paul Zenk of North Portland, a heart with hops and barley was created to illustrate Jamie's passion for brewing.

His tattoo eventually led to the creation of our Beer is Love logo. Our artist in residence, Neal Williams, re-created the logo into the artwork for Believer one day on accident. “The Believer label really just came out of me having some extra time on my hands and deciding to re-draw the "beer is love" logo. I had no idea it would become a label,” Williams said.

We asked Neal to write about the goals and inspirations for the art behind this label. 

"The initial version of this drawing is actually a tattoo that Ninkasi co-founder Jamie Floyd got years ago. The tattoo consists of a burning heart vessel adorned with hops and grain. I was immediately drawn to the intricate lines moving the eye across the heart in the original, and I knew I wanted to keep a similar level of detail while giving it more of an organic, hand-drawn feel. As for the hops and grain, I've drawn so many of these in my position at Ninkasi, and at this point I could probably draw them in my sleep. I looked at a lot of classic tattoo flash to get ideas on how to re-interpret the design, but still keep the elements feeling somewhat iconic. I also drew some other common tattoo-style elements as requested by our art director, Nick Yarger, and he in-turn organized them into a cohesive whole for the label. Just like all of our collaborative labels, I'm always happily surprised to see the final result once it's passed through the talented hands of Nick and our lead designer; Wade Long."

"The goal for this label was to keep the essence of Jamie's tattoo (and the subsequent "beer is love" logo), while incorporating my drawing style and making sure the artwork fit alongside the rest of our re-branded line. Nick has been a long-time fan of classic tattoo art, so I let him guide the process and I took it as an opportunity to learn more about a style I didn't have as much experience with. We wanted the label to work as a whole, but to also include elements that could be broken off and used for our Beer is Love donation program of which Believer is an integral part."

We sat down with Ninkasi's Art Director, Nick Yarger, and asked him some questions about the Believer label.

Q. What is the process when creating a new label for a beer, and how does the art department work as a team to produce new artwork?

A. Before we begin creating any label I sit down with Nikos, our CEO and Jamie, our founding brewer to discuss the vision of the specific brand. In the case of Believer, I spoke to Jamie specifically and he talked to me about the tattoo on his arm and the artist who originally drew the image. Jamie and I are both fans of tattoos so we talked for a bit about the style and execution of his tattoo and the meaning of the traditional heart symbol with the barley and hops. These images represent his passion for brewing beer and the elements involved. I lead the creative direction, Neal William's does the illustration, and Wade Long designs each label. 

Q. How did you all work together to create the label for Believer? 

A. Originally created by Jamie's Tattoo artist, we interpreted the tattoo for the original Believer art and then our current Ninkasi Design Team evolved the art to what it is today.  

We hope that you enjoy the artwork and history of this label as much as we do. This beer was brewed to help the world be a better place. Be good, drink craft, and use our beer finder to track some down near you!


Comments (1)

  1. Kenny Weigandt:
    Jan 18, 2017 at 03:43 PM

    Killer post! Definitely did the tattoo justice. It helps that the beer is stinkin' delicious too!


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