When three kegs of Pacifico beer showed up at Delton Demarest's doorstep, he was excited. But unlike most people, he had hoped they'd be empty.
Instead, says the Denver artist, "they were unexpectedly full."
Still, Demarest was able to paint the outsides of the kegs in just a few days -- a project he'd taken on at the request of Pacifico, which began distributing its beer on draft in the United States just a few months ago; before that, Pacifico had only been in bottles.
The Mexican beer-maker chose an unusual strategy for its marketing campaign, however, sending a team of employees on a road trip with five kegs in their vehicle to Phoenix, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle; in each city, a local artist was hired to paint a colorful scene on one of the kegs before it was tapped and served.
Denver wasn't on that original list, but the campaign has made it here, and Pacifico liked Demarest's art so much, the company asked him to paint three separate kegs.
The first will be tapped tonight at 8 or 8:30 p.m. at Croc's, where it will be suspended from the ceiling above the bar so that beer drinkers can appreciate it. Croc's manager Erin Watson says the beer maker chose her restaurant because it serves Mexican food and has been around for a long time.
"I was really happy with how they came out," Demarest says. "Mine definitely have a different feel than the others." All three have artwork that adds a semblance of Southern California flavor to the Colorado feel. For instance, one shows a picture of a mountain biker melding into a scene of a skateboarder on a pier.
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And painting on the side of a keg "was definitely a challenge," says Demarest, who used acrylic rather than the aerosol that he is known for. "I've done large-scale cylindrical work, murals on poles, but nothing this small scale. Also, I'd turned in the concepts thinking the kegs were empty so I'd be able to manipulate them. But we got it done."
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Afterward? Demarest could use a beer -- and he'll have one tonight at Croc's.
To see the artwork on the kegs in other cities, click on the next page: