Art meets ales at Coronado Brewing Company


Beer can art is the single fastest way to turn a beer browser into a beer buyer. Over the past few years, digital and hand-drawn illustrations, as well as typography, have been the de facto design choices for breweries looking to make their labels stand out.

But Coronado Brewing Company is trying something new — turning to fan-submitted photography for their ART SERIES of quarterly can releases.

“Cosmic Ocean” was 2019’s first ART SERIES release from Coronado. The 7% ABV Brut IPA debuted in February and featured the Instagram contest’s winning photograph, taken by Southern California-based lifestyle photographer Anthony Drake. The long exposure photograph of the night sky was even named one of the 30 Best Looking Beer Cans in America—2019 by international content and design agency Ceros.

The second ART SERIES can, dubbed “Salt Spray Sour”, is a 6% ABV margarita-inspired gose featuring aerial surf photography from Cardiff-by-the-Sea-based artist Ryan Szot. Both Drake and Szot’s photographs were chosen by an internal team at Coronado over hundreds of other entries, each of which was required to tag the brewery as well as #staycoastal.

“The ART SERIES is a really fun way to showcase the amazing creativity of our fans and generate a lot of engagement,” said Melody Crisp, marketing director at Coronado.

Salt Spray Sour is “inspired by warm summers in San Diego, and the desire for an easy-drinking beer for the season,” according to a recent press release.

“We thought the gose style would be perfect for summer because it’s tart but not too sour, and the touch of sea salt makes you want to take another sip,” said Shawn Steele, Coronado’s director of brewing operations. “The lime, paired with the salt, makes this our fun interpretation of a margarita.”

This is the second year that Coronado has hosted the art initiative. Last year, all four of the quarterly ART SERIES releases were completed by Coronado-based artist, Kelcey “KFish” Fisher. But for 2019, the brewery decided to shift gears into an Instagram contest to both support emerging artists and increase their advertising presence on social media.

For aspiring artists interested in submitting their photos for the upcoming ART SERIES releases, Crisp has some advice.

“The criteria is really about expressing #staycoastal,” she said. She also encourages participants to submit a variety of photography styles to keep the series dynamic. Entries for the next release are due by June 1; check Coronado’s Instagram page for entry details.

Cosmic Brut IPA is now available on draft and in 4-packs at Coronado Brewing’s three locations, as well as throughout Coronado’s distribution network. Salt Spray Sour will be available on May 24 with more retail availability by June.