Craft beer collaborations are all the rage, but Collective Arts Brewing’s partnerships are slightly different. The Ontario-based brewer, which is currently launching its products in the UK, works with emerging and seasoned artists on its can artwork and bottle labels.
Collective Arts Brewing was founded by Matt Johnson, formerly of Canadian stalwart Moosehead Breweries, and graphic designer Bob Russell just over five years ago. Since its first callout for artworks, it has received over 16,000 submissions from around the world, and worked with over 650 different artists and musicians. Its brewery in Hamilton produces six craft beers on a permanent basis, as well as multiple seasonal brews.
‘From a stylistic standpoint, we want to be as diverse as our artists, but we primarily focus on West Coast and New England IPAs and lots of kettle sours – we have a lot of fun doing fruited ones,’ Johnson told Imbibe.
The brewery’s bestsellers are Ransack the Universe, a West Coast IPA, and its World-Beer-Cup-winning Stanger than Fiction Porter, a New England IPA.
‘The first wave of IPAs [in the US] were from the West Coast and they’re typically relatively clear, but piney and hop forward in character, with some bitterness. There’s very little malt character, just in-your-face hops.
‘Now the trend is towards the New England IPA style, which is softer, less bitter, with a lot of haze and often quite chewy with all the hop character in there.’
Already sold in Canada, the US and Sweden, Collective Arts’ beers are now available in this market through Cave Direct. To celebrate the UK launch, the brewer has partnered with four local artists Sahar Haghgoo, Toby Brunsdon, Pete Ellis and Mat Miller to produce limited-edition beer cans.
‘There’s some amazing beers in the UK, such as Wild Beer and Cloudwater, but overall craft is very underdeveloped here,’ Johnson said.
‘I think it’s [due to] the pub chains being owned by historic brewers and retailers not evolving that quickly. The demand is definitely there, but sometimes the structure of the market takes longer to change.’
Ransack the Universe: 6.8%, £149.12/30l or £53/24x487ml
Life in the Clouds: 6.1%, £143.96/30l or £50.98/24x487ml