Of all the wonderful passion projects we've seen this year (and there've been many highlights), one to stand out is Paul McNally's ongoing BeerWax venture, where the Belfast-based designer combines two of his greatest loves: beer can design and favourite album covers.
Paul's imaginary craft beers pay homage to some of the best music albums in history: the names derive from either the album title, a song from the album or the band's name – usually as a pun. We personally love, "That beer needs therapy" as plastered beautifully across The Avalanches' six-pack tribute.
"BeerWax is meant to be fun and not take itself too seriously," Paul tells Creative Boom. "It's a simple premise, album cover beer can mock-ups with quirky names. It mixes my love of album cover design with the ever-growing trend for eye-catching (pun-laden) craft beer can branding.
"In some cases, craft beer cans are like mini works of art in themselves, and as album covers are essentially art, I thought it would be interesting to combine the two – a designed remix."
The ABV (alcohol percentage) of each BeerWax creation will either refer to the length of the album in minutes (for example, a 45-minute album is 4.5% beer), or the year the album was released (1981 being an 8.1% beer). This varies throughout the project.
The project began in March during the first lockdown and was a creative output while the world stood still. Since then, BeerWax has gathered a growing Instagram following – aided by bands, artists and radio stations sharing the mock-up creations on their own social channels.
"BeerWax takes inspiration from breweries like Yeastie Boys, and beers like Juice Springsteen (by Alphabet Brewery). There seems to be an ever-growing crossover between beers and bands (Metallica, Iron Maiden and Madness all having their own beer brands). BeerWax takes this idea to the extreme. What has surprised me most is the fact that many people think the beers are real. I'm inundated with messages asking where they can buy the beers."
Unfortunately, the beers aren't real, but rather designed mock-ups created for Instagram by Paul when he gets some spare time away from running his own studio – Stylografik. In future, Paul hopes to extend the project further by reworking album covers in various new ways – such as the recently added six-pack designs that pay homage to The Avalanches, David Bowie, EMF, and Supergrass.
To follow Paul's BeerWax project, he's on Instagram and Twitter. Or go to Beerwaxshop.com where you can also purchase prints of some of his designs. We'll take Brew Order and Shiny Hoppy People, please.