January 24th was Beer Can Appreciation Day, and we thought it was a great opportunity to pay homage to those bright, dynamic vessels that carry the liquid from the tanks to your hands – as well as the person who designs them.
Alongside Aaron Reames and Chris Crawford, Mike Shaughnessy is one of the co-founders of Bent Water Brewing and serves as our Creative Director. If you’ve ever admired the gold and green swirl of Sluice Juice or a variety of colorful gorillas on our beer cans, you have him to thank.
Mike is an accomplished artist and creative director who spent twelve years at Hill Holliday, where he conceived and oversaw work for Cadillac, Major League Baseball, Liberty Mutual, Bank of America, Dunkin’ Donuts, Great Wolf Lodge Resorts, Cracker Barrel, Fireball Whisky, and Frontier Communications.
We sat down with Mike recently to ask him a few questions about what brought him to Bent Water and how he has helped create and evolve the brand over the last eight years.
I was one of the first taste-testers for Aaron’s original homebrew recipes (aka, backyard drinking buddy). I knew that Aaron was seriously contemplating starting a brewery and was looking for early partners, and while I love beer, my background is advertising and design. So when we needed to develop a brand I agreed to join the team of founders.
We knew from the very beginning that we were going to be focusing on distribution; we wanted our beers to be high quality and accessible to people. With a goal of lining thousands of shelves with our product, we knew those cans would need to pop. At the time there didn’t seem to be a ton of color or vibrancy in the market. I was at CBC and across the room I saw Rhinegeist, and I was really into their take on branding. Their approach actually inspired me to lean into color and patterns, specifically optical illusions.
I really enjoy the illustrative cans. In particular my most recent project was designing a collaboration beer for the Frostbite Face-off, a pond hockey tournament that we’re sponsoring and participating in this winter. The beer is called Chilly Gorilla and features a badass Yeti on the label. I think people are going to love it.
That’s such a tough call. I love the patterns that shift on the can like with Sluice Juice and Thunder Funk. I also love all the gorillas: Double Thunder Funk, Supercharger, Primordial Haze. But if you force me to make a decision with a 5 second timer, I might have to give the nod to Blast Off, our annual anniversary beer. It’s actually canned with 2 different designs: one has more of the original pattern motif featured on so many of our cans, and the other features an astronaut hovering in orbit outside of Earth with a pair of Blast Off beers keeping him fueled. Every 4-pack features 2 of each label, which I think is very cool and different.Back to News