When asked to create an image for small brewery Garage Project’s new brew Hellbender, there was one stipulation in the brief – the imagery must include a salamander.


But what does a nocturnal amphibian that’s capable of regenerating lost limbs have to do with beer?


The link is possibly as quirky as the packaging, but the folks at Garage Project are certainly never predictable. Apparently the hops came from a region of the Americas where the salamander is a native species… and let’s face it, you’ve probably never seen a salamander on a beer label before, which makes this vibrant piece of packaging stand out from the crowd.


“Based on the Salamander concept, I created a central goddess character to represent the strength of the flavours and used the Salamander as her minions,” says Anna, when asked about the idea behind the illustration.


“Because the label was to be shrink wrapped, I knew that there would be challenges with the artwork changing size when it was applied to the bottle.


To allow for this I incorporated the flames to add to the goddess narrative and create an eye catching pattern that would pop off the dark bottle on the clear wrapper. The flames also ensure that any distortion from the shrink process is less noticeable.”


According to Anna, overall feedback for the design has been very positive, with people buying the product for the artwork as well as the flavour.


The Garage Project website describes Hellbender as ‘a leviathan of a beer made with over a tonne of malt and a mountain of American hops’, warning customers that they are about to be tested, and hinting that this brew may just get better with age.


What will it taste like in a year? Two years? More? Will you ever get to find…



Garage Project



Anna Johnstone


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