The story behind 2nd Shift’s new beer labels

Beer Of The Week

2nd Shift labels

If you’re a fan of beer label art, then here’s some news for you. Below is the story behind the new labels gracing the cans of 2nd Shift Brewing’s two new Liquid Spiritual Delight variants.

The story behind these amazing beer labels

This past week, St. Louis beer lovers were treated with two new releases from the team at 2nd Shift Brewing. Almost upon release, I began to notice comments on social media regarding the label art of the new Coconut LSD. I could see something was a-brewin’ so I reached out to longtime 2nd Shift Label artist Kyle A. Scarborough.

Scarborough is from Washington, Missouri, and is an award-winning and internationally published tattoo artist, illustrator and owner, and creative force behind The Washington Tattoo Collective located in historic downtown Washington MO.

If you visit 2nd Shift’s website, you can see more of Scarborough’s work. He is the primary artist on all the labels that help their beers stand out on those crowded shelves.

Here is what Scarborough had to say regarding his latest work, starting with the coconut label.

Tell me what we’re looking at on the can of the coconut variant. What inspired this image?

Much of the ideas come from the Criders unless we’ve had moments where it was left up to my own imagination. It’s the easiest job I could ever ask for. The ideas are usually so off the wall that it makes for an easy interpretation.

That and I think once, maybe twice, have I needed to revise or change anything in all the years we’ve worked together. They’ve been nothing but huge supporters of what I’ve done, and that means a lot.

The coconut variant is a new adaptation of the classic LSD label, simply put. Much of the label work is an evolution of what came before it.

The original being a caricature of sorts of Steve with pinwheel eyes, so naturally, the updated version illustrates not only the new flavor component but also an updated look of the man himself.

I just get to have fun, and since the coconut idea went so easily with the beach scene, it was all added, bringing in an 80’s-inspired color palette as well, because, why not?


Are there any hidden messages in the image?

Not intentionally, though the amount of people who claim to find hidden meanings in much of the work I do in regards to illustration jobs is puzzling. I’m simply not that clever.

Tell me about what we’re looking at on the can of the vanilla variant? What inspired this image?

Pretty straight forward, really. Sometimes my direction is to keep more of a classic look; something a bit more attractive.

That one may have been done in color as well and they chose to use a black & grey version. Honestly don’t recall off-hand, but it’s all a collaboration, so whatever they want and however they want to use it.

Nothing more than that, really. Some beers call for funny ideas, some more complex, and in this case, just something a bit more attractive and simple.

Why did you go in two directions with each of the cans?

All comes down to what they’re feeling. I think my main approach is to always make things as bold and fun as possible, really playing on some of the names of the beer, so when they ask for something a bit more subdued, we go with that.

Anything else about these cans that I haven’t asked you about, that you think readers might find interesting?

Not really, aside from perhaps noting that, for whatever direction the artwork can go, it’s so rarely much more of a chat beforehand outside of my asking if they have any ideas, and them pretty much going, ‘sure, sorta, but not really, have at it’.

I have a general theme and I’m allowed to just run with it, and that makes any artist’s job incredibly easy and relaxed, and together you get the best out of one another.

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