The Stories Behind North Texas' Beer Labels
While most of us are partial to the stories inside our beer bottles, sometimes what's on the label is pretty interesting, too. So we surveyed a few craft breweries in North Texas to learn a little more about the stories behind their labels, starting with one of the most popular new beers on the market right now, Revolver's Blood and Honey.
Revolver Brewing "The revolver used in our logo is the 1847 Walker Colt," explains co-founder Rhett Keisler. "Samuel Walker was a Texas Ranger that worked with the famed gun manufacturer, Samuel Colt, to produce a firearm suitable for the Texas Rangers to fight and protect themselves. At the time it was the largest black-powder pistol in existence. Only about 170 are believed to still exist out of the 1,000 originally made. In 2008, a pristine Walker Colt sold for $920,000."
Rahr and Sons Brewing Co. "The label on the blonde lager is my mom," says Fritz Rahr. "She was Miss Minnesota 1952 and second runner up at Miss Universe and Miss USA the same year. She was also a Juilliard graduate, opera singer. They say good looks and talent skip a generation, so I guess my kids are set."
Lakewood Brewing Co. "Really each label has special meaning for us. Lakewood Lager has the Lakewood Theater marquee. Rock Ryder has the cyclist which is a token to White Rock Lake," says Wim Bens. "Hop Trapp is a bear trap with a glass inside. Each label evokes a feeling about the beer."
But Bens says everyone at the brewery has a love/hate relationship with the imperial milk stout, the Temptress.
"It's a chore to make. It's a fight every step of the way," says Bens. "We call it our fickle temptress. She drives us nuts, be we can't let her go. I know I should stay away from her, but then I think, 'Ah ... what the hell.'"
Deep Ellum Brewing Co. Deep Ellum Brewing Co. had both the fortuitous opportunity and detriment of being the first craft brewer in Dallas, which meant hacking their way through a lot of undefined and up-for-interpretation city codes.
"My nickname was Dream Crusher as we were building the brewery," explains co-founder John Reardon. "With all our roadblocks and obstacles, I was always the bearer of bad news, crushing dreams. But, now, it's a badass label on a badass beer."
Now Reardon holds the title (and beer) close to his heart.
Martin House Brewing Co. Martin House in Fort Worth has a stark black martin as its logo. Co-founder David Wedemeier explains that it exemplifies a lot of what they're about as a brewery: native to Texas, a communal bird that likes hanging out with friends, an adventurer. But he's particularly partial to their dark stout label.
"It's sort of the black sheep of the group since no one ever calls it by its proper name, There Will Be Stout, which was a play on the movie There Will Be Blood, explains Wedemeier.
Over time they transitioned tap handles to "Pretzel Stout" since that's what everyone calls it, but the image in the background is the same.
"The beer has a very dark and oppressive feel about it and it's about oil. And 'dark and almost the color of crude oil' is a good description of the beer, which is why the name worked," says Wedemeier.
The label has an image of workers in an oil field holding a lantern against the backdrop of the night sky and the silhouette of an oil derrick. Wedemeier explains at first the lantern was used to light a cigarette, but then worried the TABC might not green-light that.
Cedar Creek Brewery Cedar Creek is based in Seven Points, southeast of Dallas. Founder Jim Elliott says his favorite style of beer is a pale ale, and he thought it would be cool to have his name on a beer, thus Elliott's Phoned Home.
"Scruffy's was a little different," says Elliott. "I went to the Henderson County Library in Athens. The ladies showed me old newspaper articles about stories of local people from way back. I was looking for something unique that would make a great story.
"There was this guy who made great 'shine, according to the article. Law enforcement was always on his tail but never could catch him. They described him as an older man with a gray and white beard, old coat and tattered hat. We came up with his name, Scruffy."
The legend of the evasive moonshiner now lives.
Peticolas Brewing Co.
Peticolas Brewing Co. Peticolas doesn't bottle, but its logo has as many layers as a pint of Velvet Hammer. For starters, founder Michael Peticolas explains that the logo is based on football (soccer) club designs.
The five-sided pentagon on the left side of the logo represents the five owners of the brewery -- his wife and their three kids -- and it is also the classic design of a soccer ball.
The "2010" inside the pentagon marks the year they started the process of opening the brewery. And the Texas emblem conveys their pride of being fifth- and sixth-generation Texans.
"Finally, we distressed the logo to give it a rugged, down-to-earth character, which is part of the brewery's culture and a core company value," explains Peticolas. "All that we really left out of our logo is Leeroy, the all-white tailless cat. He almost made the cut, but that's another story altogether."
The story of Leeroy sounds like a beer label in the making.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Dallas dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.