Seven breweries will be pouring new beers during the museum bar's tap takeover exhibition.
Credit: Mara Brandl/Getty Images

The transition of top craft beers from bottles to cans has also coincided with a growing interest in beer label art. The reasons are multifold. From a brewing perspective, these artistically-crafted new products deserve artwork that is equally involved, and the fact that breweries are making more, often limited-run beers means a larger array of artwork is necessary in general. Businesswise, as the number of U.S. brewers has topped 7,000, the need for products to stand out on a shelf is greater than ever. And from a purely artistic perspective, the fact that these can labels create a nice, rectangular canvas that can often easily be peeled off the aluminum and stuck to a wall is a nice touch.

Food & Wine has certainly noticed the trend: We ran a story featuring some of our favorite beer can art back in May. But label art is also jumping off of the can and into the legitimate art world. To wit, tomorrow, none other than London’s Tate Modern – home to huge names like Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Marcel Duchamp – will also be displaying work from the artists behind seven of Britain’s most exciting beer brands… and the breweries will be pouring the corresponding beers to match.

Tate Tap Takeovers are nothing new: On the last Thursday of every month, the museum’s bar has been handing the reigns over to well-known British craft breweries. But this month, the Seven Brewery Takeover is pushing that concept even further. One newly released beer will be poured from Northern Monk, Deya, Verdant, Track, Wylam, North Brew Co and Left Handed Giant. (As a Brit, I can assure you all these breweries are fantastic!) “Each has been created as part of a special numbered series, with corresponding artwork by the designers behind these great brands, inspired by each beer's place in the sequence,” the Tate states. “There will be commemorative art prints and postcards available, as well as large scale prints of the original artwork on display.”

“We have seen, first hand, how the impact of good design can make or break a new brewery but the artists themselves are rarely celebrated,” Toni Skinner, managing director of the distributor Pigs’ Ears Beers, which organized the event, told the Morning Advertiser. “We wanted to put the people behind the artwork front and center while exploring how the impact of their particular style of art can convey the identity of a brand even when stripped back to an image on the wall.”

Speaking of which, The Drinks Business provides credit where credit is due, highlighting all seven artists: “Among the breweries taking part are Newcastle-based Wylam brewery, with artwork created by graphic designer Sally Linsdell; Leeds-based Northern Monk alongside local graphic designer and illustrator Jon Simmons; Manchester’s Track Brewing with Dave Sedgwick; Bristol-based Left Handed Giant and local illustrator James Yeo; Cheltenham’s Deya and Suffolk-based painter Thom Trojanowski; Cornwall’s Verdant Brewing and Ed Chambers and Leeds-based North Brew Co. and graphic designer James Okelford.”

Of course, getting your art hung in the Terrace Bar of the Tate Modern is a wee bit different than going up on the wall alongside a piece from Salvador Dali. But seriously, how much more time do you spend drinking beer than you do wandering art museums? In some ways, having your art on a beer can might be even better exposure.