CRATE Brewery

by Dan Jamieson

Bitchin' Drinks

At Bitchin' Kitchen we love good design more than anything, unless there is beer.

Put good beer in good design and you will have us talking for days. CRATE Brewery seems to have it all. We chatted to Tom Seaton, one of the owners of CRATE, to find out what makes them so special.

  1. Who are you and who are your products aimed at?

People who are discerning, interested in design and attention to detail but not necessarily into luxury or super premium.

  1. Who does your design and branding?

One of our founders (Kyle Hickey) did the original branding work in conjunction with the other three founders (Tom Seaton, Jess Seaton, Neil Hinchley). Currently the illustrated versions (on cans) are done by Dan Jamieson who is an old friend / employee from our early days in Hackney Wick.

  1. How would you describe your aesthetic in five words?

Re-purposed, Misused, Innovative, Exceptional, Fun

  1. I loved the little dude on the Watermelon can. How do you work out the design approach to new products (ie. what’s the connection between the taste of the beer and the label design)?

The designs are very much linked to the beers – the original tessellated patterns (still on the bottles) are relating to the intensity and profile of the beers e.g. stout is a bold black line and lager is a dotty fizzy pattern. The can designs e.g. the “Wheatermelon man” are more expressive but are attempting to convey the same subliminal message. Wheat beer is an old style with a farm-yard element due to the Belgian wheat yeast. The character is a watermelon who farms which is meant to evoke summer / countryside.

  1. Watermelon is not typically associated with beer. How do you come up with flavour combinations?

It was a strange choice which actually probably happened by accident – as not many people on our QC panel would have been likely to sign off such an idea! However we have a “brewers tap” development concept at CRATE where crazy ideas get trialled on a small basis and the ones which we think make the cut get put into cans etc.

  1. How important is design to your brand in a commercial sense?

Design is crucial. We are heavily led by our retail experience – who wants to go to a “cool bar” vs a not cool one. We try to bring that to our packaged product, however it’s very hard to emulate the fun and excitement that people experience when they walk into CRATE on a white labelled bottle or can in a shop or bar elsewhere. That’s the job of the design.

  1. Which artist would you want to design one of your labels?
Whoever designs our products needs to be someone who we know / who knows us – so fame and glamour don’t really feature in our wish list – that basically means that it needs to be someone who is passionate about CRATE and can translate the feelings I mentioned above into a design. I’m sure Antoni Gaudí would have done a great job though.


Zaneta Stepien
Resident ZuQeenie