Beer Man

Crazy Mountain Brewery Gets Trippy With New Animal-Hybrid Labels

Bar menus and liquor-stores shelves have gotten crowded in recent years as the number of breweries in Colorado soars past the 300 mark — which is why it’s important to stand out, with both beers and logos. Crazy Mountain, the Edwards-based brewery that took over the former Breckenridge Brewery space on Kalamath Street this year, plans to stand way, way out.

Last week it revealed a new look for all of its year-round beers — labels depicting trippy, surrealistic hybrid creatures, each comprising three different Colorado-dwelling animals. So Magnus, the creature on Crazy Mountain’s Hookiebob IPA,has the head of a bison, the antlers of a moose and the body of a grizzly bear (he also has the arms and hands of a man, for some reason).

“They’re reminiscent of your childhood and Where the Wild Things Are,” says Crazy Mountain marketing manager Kaleigh Armitage. “It’s trippy. It’s a little different, out of the box. But it’s also memorable.”

The eye-catching labels and six-pack boxes were designed by Boulder’s Moxie Sozo, which also did Left Hand Brewing’s equally unusual labels. "They are a pretty big branding agency, and they were trying to branch more in the brewery business, so they presented us with a few ideas," Armitage says. "One of them was kind of a take on the label you see right now. And we loved it."

Armitage says that Crazy Mountain, which is only five years old, probably wouldn’t have embarked on a rebranding effort this soon but for the changes that have taken place over the past few months. Earlier this year, Breckenridge Brewery sold its headquarters at 471 Kalamath Street and all of its equipment — including a huge brewing system, fermentation tanks and a bottling line — to a real-estate company that turned around and leased it all to Crazy Mountain. In August the new tenant moved in; Crazy Mountain plans to open a tasting room and barbecue restaurant in November.

Previously, the brewery had only canned its own beer, but since it inherited a bottling line, owners Kevin and Marisa Selvy decided to start packaging their beers in twelve-ounce bottles as well. “We are hoping to be in all fifty states eventually, and even though Colorado is can-heavy, the rest of the country is very bottle-heavy," Armitage points out. "A lot of states we wouldn’t be able to get into without bottles.”

In discussing that change, the brewery realized that its previous logos weren’t consistent with one another, so it decided to change them.
The new look includes a made-up story that goes with each animal; the stories correspond to a part of the brewing process and to the flavor of the beer.

Crazy Mountain currently has seven year-round beers, but plans to make three more by the end of 2016. Right now, only half have the new logos, but the rest will follow. Moxie Sozo will create new designs for the brewery’s seasonal beers, too. 

"It's a lot of animals. Moxie Sozo has their work cut out for them," Armitage says, adding that the design firm has a cult following among people who are interested in labels. For Left Hand's, the company incorporates hidden pictures of Left Hand employees into each label. For Crazy Mountain, the firm plans to offer a sneak peak of its next animal.
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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes