Presented by Schlafly Beer / The Saint Louis Brewery
Though Schlafly Beer’s motto is “hand-crafted in small batches,” this time of year the brewery also turns its attention to hand-crafted art. The crafts of both beer and art have gone hand in hand at Schlafly Beer for 14 years through the Art Outside festival, the brewery’s annual Memorial Day weekend art fair at Schlafly’s Bottleworks location in Maplewood, Missouri.
“We started Art Outside as a way to showcase all of the great local artists in the St. Louis area, in a relaxed atmosphere with some great Schlafly beers,” says Wil Rogers, Schlafly’s brand manager.
It goes without saying that Schlafly brought beer to the party–and not just any beer. Each year, the two-location and 27-year-old brewery brews a new beer exclusively for the festival. This year’s limited-edition beer, Gruit Beer, a beer brewed without hops and similar to a Berliner Weisse with a tart flavor and lower ABV, will be released in April and celebrated at the May Festival.
To connect the beer more to the artist community, the brewery started an Artists Series five years ago to feature the work of local artists on the 750-mL bottle label.
“The Schlafly Art Director reached out to us to design the bottle label in the Fall of 2017,” says Paige Brubeck, co-founder of Sleepy Kitty Arts, a St. Louis-based screenprinting and artist studio. “It was hard to design a label, however, without trying the beer first.”
“We did a lot of research on Gruit beers,” adds Evan Sult, Sleepy Kitty Arts’ other co-founder. “From the descriptions, we imagined this to be a good Spring beer that you could take to a park for a jazz festival and enjoy it out in the grass with others.”
With spring and early summer on their minds, Brubeck and Sult used their screenprinting basics–color, texture, and layers–to design a label that reflected the bright taste of the beer, creating a graphic that incorporated bright colors and florals.
Finally tasting the beer in mid-March, they found a beer that implied spices, herbs, botanicals, really a bouquet of plant life full of flavor layers. They felt confident their label design was an accurate depiction of what is inside the bottle.
“We often buy beer based on the label,” Sult confesses. “We love to have our work crossover with the things we love and we specialize in cool things.” According to their website, that includes everything from posters to “screenprinted goods for bands, theater companies, venues, wedding and commitment ceremonies, and other interesting events.” This beer label, however, will be the duo’s first 3D object.
Hosting a booth, Sleepy Kitty Arts will be one of the 65 selected artists from a 120-mile radius to showcase their wares at Art Outside.
“Drawing nearly 20,000 visitors each year, Art Outside is dedicated to showcasing local art in an approachable venue and manner,” Rogers explains. “Art Outside is not an ordinary fair, but one that features quality and affordable art, music, and plenty of tasty food and drink from Schlafly Beer. The festival’s mission is to increase public knowledge and appreciation for the local art scene by creating opportunities that connect artists, musicians, and the community.”
Check out Schlafly’s Gruit Beer and the family friendly, all ages welcome 14th Annual Art Outside at the brewery’s Bottleworks location from Friday, May 25 to Sunday, May 27. The live local music schedule can be found on the Art Outside website.
Sara Pletcher is the conference operations manager at Zephyr Conferences, the brainchild behind beer, wine, and food conferences for bloggers and industry professionals. Sara drank her first craft beer in 2009 and, therefore, naturally wrote her master’s thesis on the Delaware craft beer industry. She’s excited to finally put her passion to good work.