Innovative beer bottle designs

In a week in which Dutch lager Grolsch unveils its new look to the UK market and the spurious but bold Ethel’s Brew brand from New York reveals itself to be an elaborate ruse, here are some beer packaging projects that have caught our eye.


Grolsch by Cartils
Grolsch by Cartils

Yesterday a Cartils designed new-look Grolsch was revealed to the UK market with a more vivid green and new red accents, a redrawn identity with a more prominent Grolsch G and a more defined brand badge that this sits within.

One thing that hasn’t changed though is the classic swing-top bottle, known in The Netherlands as ‘de beugel’ or ‘the brace’, which allow the bottles to be opened by hand, without the need for an opener. The tops used to be made of porcelain, but are now made of plastic.

Grolsch by Cartils
Grolsch by Cartils

Incidentally, as part of the Cartils redesign, bottle size has been increased a move prompted by perhaps unsurprising research that found, ‘Consumers that identified themselves as world beer drinkers were 36 per cent more likely to buy the 330ml bottle compared to the previous 275ml volume,’ according to UK brand owner Molson Coors.

Ethel’s Brew

Ethel's Brew
Ethel’s Brew

Meanwhile the Bold but questionable Ethel’s Brew – apparently run by the eponymous Brooklyn grandma and which featured campaign posters with slogan’s like My Husband Is Dead. Let’s Party’, and ‘Apparently I’m now a GILF’ was revealed as a hoax.

It was all driven by the brand story that one Ethel Goldschmidt, an 88-year-old widower from New York, was looking to realise her late husband’s dream of making beer. 

Grolsch by Cartils
Ethel’s Brew

The concept was a stunt by ad group DDB Worldwide, who promoted the beer at the Cannes ad festival to show how it can build a brand and make a target market.

The creative was designed by Coy! Communications, who turned what is actually a beer by French brewer Brasserire Duyck into Ethel’s Brew. Masses of collateral was worked up in a two-day shoot.


Brewdog's The End of History
Brewdog’s The End of History

Ethel’s Brew is made to look stark and conservative next to this taxidermy-led approach by Scottish independent brewery Brewdog, which turned to Doncaster-based taxidermist TaxiTony to design these bottles.

The 55per cent ABV beer, The End of History, is meant to be served in small dashes and was an experiment into ‘how far we can push the boundaries of extreme brewing’ according to Brewdog, which has sought an equally extreme packaging solution.

Grolsch by Cartils
Brewdog’s The End of History

Brewdog says, ‘Only 12 bottles have been made and each comes with its own certificate and is presented in a stuffed stoat or grey squirrel. The striking packaging was created by a very talented taxidermist and all the animals used were road kill.’

Nevskoye Ice

Nevskoye Ice by Wren & Rowe
Nevskoye Ice by Wren Rowe

Many consultancies have made alcohol packaging something of a specialism, and although it is fair to say that there is less scope for innovation in beer branding then spirits, sometimes there is still scope for experimentation.

Wren & Rowe has created this textured bottle for Russian brewer Baltika’s beer Nevskoye Ice which is a redesign project in which ‘the bottle has been moulded to look like ice’ according to Wren and Rowe co-founder Michael Rowe.

‘We’ve also made it look icy with the blue and silver colour scheme, but the only area that’s flat is the labeling area,’ says Rowe.


Heineken by Iris
Heineken by Iris

Heineken’s STR bottle featuring a design by Iris, won a D&AD Yellow Pencil for its innovative and literal response to increase the brand’s visibility in nightclubs.

The bottle, which uses digital printing techniques, is, according to Iris, the world’s first UV light bottle.

Heineken by Iris
Heineken by Iris

‘Light Up The Night is a minimalist design aluminium Heineken bottle, which comes together under UV light, revealing the Heineken Star Trail,’ according to Iris. 

Hide Comments (2)Show Comments (2)
  • jojowinner November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    like the little squirrels pretty tight!
    talkin bout beer, saw they were using “bottle on ice” chiller stuff here in NYC, thought these’re pretty sick too!

  • Kathleen Holmes November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I think that Brewdog’s taxidermy specimens are in poor taste and they actively discourage me from buying products from this company product; it shows to me a thoughtless lack of appreciation of our fellow creatures.

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