ZerØday Brewing Co. Can Release #LabelLove
ZerØday Brewing Co. has supported the arts from day 1 of opening their doors in April 2015 in the Midtown area of Harrisburg, PA. They have a deep appreciation for individual expression through music, artwork, theatre, film and of course, brewing. Crafting something by hand to tell a story or evoke a feeling is an important part of their identity and drives much of what they do at ZerØday.
The exterior brick wall of their building facing the customer parking lot is colorfully painted in swanky pastels by Sprocket Mural Works showcasing the brewery’s Harrisburg pride. They love their city and partner with many local businesses in the community to create unique events and experiences to bring folks from outside of Harrisburg into Midtown.
Walk through the front doors of ZerØday’s taproom and you’ll see a wall to the right of the bar that’s dedicated to paintings, illustrations, graphic design, small wall sculptures, photography and more that are for sale. It’s part of their rotating/seasonal art exhibit program. Always something new for the eyes to explore while enjoying their liquid art in a glass.
Previous bottle releases featured the work of local artists Ryan Spahr (Grievance Winter Warmer and Midnight Angel Russian Imperial Stout) and Rich Hauck (Lyrical Gangster Saison). One could say the artistic bar was set high for Zeroday’s first-ever can release coming up Tuesday, October 31, 2017 at the brewery. I knew the label artwork would be completely rad. And, it is BEYOND rad. Check it out. Not 1 but 4 different designs in each 4 pack! A beer collector’s delight. A design geek’s dream. (Hey design colleagues and friends, I know you just squealed in excitement. I heard it from here! It was definitely a squeal.)
Let me introduce to you, the limited edition JOHNNY ROMEO ZERØDAY BEER project.
The Artist: Johnny Romeo
Johnny Romeo is the Australian-born painter behind the pop art images on each of the limited edition JOHNNY ROMEO ZERØDAY BEER can labels. Johnny’s internationally known for his blend of eye popping use of color, provocative imagery and edgy type design. Modern art with a comic book feel. So fresh. So street. So “Yassss!”
Johnny often uses the images of rock stars, cartoon heroes and historical icons as his subjects. His works of art are in numerous public and private national and international collections. His portfolio also includes collaborations with Gilson Boards, Blink 182 and Lexus Australia. But over his career spearheading the global Neo-Expressionist segment of the Pop Art movement, he is best know for his portrayal of Ned Kelly – the infamous Australian bushranger.
Each of the 4 JOHNNY ROMEO ZERØDAY BEER labels adds a cheeky, electrifying modern twist to the legend of Ned Kelly. A historical character that in modern times “has become an Australian symbol of rebellion. He’s a symbol of what it means to battle against the odds. He’s a symbol of revenge and respect towards your family,” says Johnny Romeo.
You see. In the late 1800’s, Ned Kelly was an Irish Immigrant who came to Australia with his family. Ned was victimized by the corrupt police force at the time which lead him to eventually shoot and kill 3 policemen. A notorious outlaw who took shelter in the fringe wilderness of the Australian bush country. He alluded the authorities time and time again robbing banks and gifting the stolen money to the poor and less fortunate. A Robin Hood heart with a Jesse James bravado.
“In Australia he’s an icon. Ned Kelly is seen as a symbol of the Australian badland. He’s a symbol that everyone looks up to. But the reality of it is that he’s a criminal. He’s a cold-blooded murderer. On the flip side, he did it in self-defense. He did it because he revenged his family because the corrupt police officer at the time had raped his sister.”
Bucking the system. Rebelling against authority. A mythical-sized legend who’s history is very ironic and two-sided. Johnny chose to use rollicking renditions of Ned Kelly as a steam punk antihero pulled straight from the reels of a Tarantino film, full of Technicolour explosions. He notes that “Ned Kelly polarizes people’s opinions right now in Australia. They ask the question ‘was he a villain or is he an icon? Was he a symbol of hope? Is he a criminal?’ That’s what art is meant to do. Art is meant to actually stir up controversy, begin talking points and opening up dialogue.”
Each image on the beer can labels is an adaptation from Johnny’s Ned Kelly 5 foot by 5 foot paintings in acrylic and oil that are bombastic and bold. In your face confrontational. Johnny worked with a designer in his studio to take certain elements from his paintings, reconfiguring them and adding words that would give it a different spin.
For instance, when Ned Kelly was finally caught by the law and convicted, he was sentenced to death by public hanging. When they asked him if he had any final words, the only thing he said was, “Such is life.” Those words that were uttered by Ned Kelly or words that were used to describe the outlaw became letterforms in Johnny’s final can label iterations.
The JOHNNY ROMEO ZERØDAY BEER is described as “a Tropical IPA with Lactose, Tangerine and Guava with a hazy fuller body.” Ok. You got my attention, guys. You had me at ‘tropical IPA’ and then you just had to say ‘lactose.’ NEIPA Beer Hunters know what I’m talking about.
Based on Johnny’s electrifying pop art style and fun imagery, the team at ZerØday knew a bright and flavorful beer needed to go into these colorful cans. The ZerØday team pulled together to collectively brainstorm the possibilities. It was a no brainer to do an IPA beer style. But what would be the creative twist?
In my personal experience with packaging design, the beer concept comes first and then the label design is secondary. The artwork generally strives to reflect the beer flavors, beer style attributes or name of the beer in the visual imagery. But this project was a little different. A lot different. It was essentially breaking all the rules. And, that’s where the JOHNNY ROMEO ZERØDAY BEER project becomes pure genius. The Task: Construct a beer that portrays the Art – that makes you taste the art in every sip.
“The collaboration gloriously captures the undeniably fun and celebratory spirit that lies at the heart of Romeo and ZerØday Brewing Company’s works. This dynamic collaboration sees kindred spirits create a truly unique beer series that vibrantly brings together the worlds of art and craft beer.”
“We love traditional styles and west coast IPAs. So this vibrant IPA is new and exciting territory for us as a company,” Brandalynn Armstrong, Co-Owner & Business Manager of ZerØday Brewing Co. said. “Our main focus in designing this beer was the balance and the synergy of flavors. Tangerine for the bright freshness and guava to balance it out with a kiss of sweet. We’re very proud of this beer! It’s the beginning of some really exciting projects from ZerØday.”
Theo Armstrong, Brewery Co-Owner & Head Brewer, drafted the citrus-infused beer recipe and then got to work brewing 21 barrels (bbls) of the IPA with Assistant Brewer, Hannah Ison. They even involved HACC Brewing Sciences Intern, Jason, to help with adding the fruit. “This beer was a team effort. It took ALL of us to make this. Some of the best ones work out that way,” noted Brandalynn.
And, how does the beer taste? “Up front, the beer feels soft then there is a tangy note from the tangerine. The lactose gives body and sweetness to support the balance and the hints of guava play a key role in the tropical vibe we were going for. There is minimal bitterness from the mosaic hops, but lots of bright aroma and flavor. The mosaic plays so nicely with the citrus and tropical flavors of the fruit,” says Brandalynn on what to expect when drinking the tropical IPA.
Much like the Ned Kelly character portrayed in Johnny Romeo’s artwork, the JOHNNY ROMEO ZERØDAY BEER exemplifies that rebellious, bold spirit. I encounter many a beer critic that exclaim, “Lactose shouldn’t be in an IPA!” or “Northeast style IPAs are a mockery of the beer style. IPAs are supposed to be clear and have a big bitter bite!” I could go on and on about what some folks think India pale ales SHOULD be. But there are those brewing rebels out there bucking the system – in effect changing the perception and landscape of IPAs – creating lovely works of art with non-traditional ingredients. Essentially creating drinking experiences that change the way you think about beer. I’m excited to see ZerØday Brewing Co. stepping into the ring with their newest brew creation.UNTAPPD CHECK-INS
When It Comes to IPAs, Fresh Matters
River City Mobile Canning is coming to ZerØday just a day before the release to can and package the JOHNNY ROMEO ZERØDAY BEER. Immediate sales after canning is always a key factor to consuming IPAs in their prime. It’s best to drink fresh! I always advise beer drinkers to keep unpasteurized cans of IPAs cold and to consume within 30 days of canning. The hops used can break down very quickly and the beer tends to oxidize over time altering the flavor and changing its color.
And, at only 21 bbls it is a pretty limited run. So the 16 oz, 4 packs are likely to go quickly. And, when it’s gone, it’s gone. You snooze. You lose.
JOHNNY ROMEO ZERØDAY BEER Release: Halloween 2017
The JOHNNY ROMEO ZERØDAY BEER can release event will take place on Tuesday, Oct 31 from 4pm-midnight at ZerØday in Midtown Harrisburg, PA. There will be some cans available for single on-site consumption in the ZerØday tasting room. And, the 4 packs will be sold to-go for off-site consumption only.
Where To Purchase:
In the back of the brewery at the roll-up doors.
There isn’t a limit on how many 4 packs you can purchase. Buy as much as you want! 🙂
To commemorate the event, each of the vibrant designs featured in the special edition four-pack will be available for purchase as a limited run of prints.
Johnny Romeo will be flying in from Australia to do a meet and greet as well as tell the story of Ned Kelly from 4-7pm.
Halloween + Art + BEER = We’re totally down to check it out!
The LA Residency (Local Access) Art Exhibit at Converge Gallery
“But wait… there’s more!”
Actually there’s a lot more. While we’ve focused on the beer release and the artist who created the labels, this project is much bigger. A full blown, collaborative art initiative.
Johnny Romeo and Converge Gallery have been working on a project called: THE LA RESIDENCY (LOCAL ACCESS). It’s been described as “an exciting new community art project that showcases some of Pennsylvania’s leading artistic talent in a completely new and forward-thinking way,” and has been a year in the making. It brings together an eclectic and dynamic line-up of 12 Pennsylvania-based artists: Chad Andrews, Daniel Berberich, Andrea Mcdonough Varner, Matthew Rose, Jeremiah Johnson, Kurt Hermann, John McKaig, Mark Loughney, Brian Spies, Tyler Coey, Liz Parish, and Mike Eagan, alongside Johnny Romeo and his Sydney-based artist assistant Abigail Atienza.
Curated by Johnny, the line-up of participating artists each represent a distinct and electrifying voice within the contemporary Pennsylvanian art scene. From the surrealism of Mark Loughney and Liz Parish, to the Pop collages of Matthew Rose, THE LA RESIDENCY draws on a diverse and thrilling cross-spectrum of art-making practices. A firm believer in supporting emerging talent, Johnny will also hand-select works from local college and university students to be featured in the show at Converge.
Each of the participating artists have contributed 10 small works on paper to be exhibited. Given only 15 – 30 minutes to complete the works, THE LA RESIDENCY offers artists the freedom to remain as true to their style as the short time frame allows, while openly encouraging them to embrace immediacy and a gestural approach to art-making. The paper works exhibited are characterized by a liberating sense of looseness and urgency that sees artists moving out of their comfort zones, highlighting the artistic process at its most raw and spontaneous.
THE LA RESIDENCY (LOCAL ACCESS) is a bold and ambitious community project that reinvigorates the way artists and audiences alike interact with art.
With each piece of artwork left unsigned and valued from $20-50, THE LA RESIDENCY aims to democratize art, allowing audiences to engage with art and develop their own sense of its value without being swayed by reputations or art market prices.
We talked with John Yogodzinski, Director at Converge Gallery in Williamsport, PA, to get the scoop on the JOHNNY ROMEO ZERØDAY BEER release connection to the art show. “Johnny came to me last year with an idea to have a beer that features his artwork. We chose ZerØday Brewing Co. because they are known for their collaborative beer launches with artists, plus their brewery has a gallery inside. Through the help of ZerØday, we made it a reality. Brandalynn Armstrong is absolutely amazing! She helped put this beer collaboration all together in a rather short amount of time.”
Here is the full lineup of fun Johnny Romeo events planned for the week:
- Johnny will be working with the Williamsport Area High School students to do a full sized mural in his style.
- The JOHNNY ROMEO ZERØDAY BEER Launch at ZerØday on Tuesday, October 31st (Halloween) that also includes a meet and greet with Johnny Romeo and limited edition prints of the can labels available for purchase.
- The Converge Gallery exhibit in Williamsport, PA is opening on Friday, November 3rd. Johnny will have limited edition prints of the can labels available for purchase as well as 3D relief sculptures on display at Converge. In addition to the exhibition, there will be a launch of a hardcover book highlighting Johnny’s career titled ‘Plastic Fantastic: 10 years of Johnny Romeo.’ There will by an After Party at the Moon & Raven at 9pm. The JOHNNY ROMEO ZERØDAY BEER (aka Tropical IPA) will be at both events.
- An 80’s Prom at Converge Gallery on Saturday, November 4th.
About Converge Gallery & Johnny Romeo’s Partnership:
Converge started working with Johnny Romeo back in 2013 showcasing a few of his colorful skull paintings and later planned a solo show for October of 2014. From there they’ve done interesting collaborative projects, launched 2 books “TV Land” and “Plastic Fantastic,” done talks at universities, colleges, and high schools in the area, had a print exhibition, collaborated with Gilson Snowboards, and even helped discover an emerging artist, Mark Loughney, who is currently serving time at the Dallas Correctional facility. Mark was so moved by Johnny’s words from a radio interview that he reached out to Johnny and Converge scheduled a group exhibition to debut his work.