When these quirky illustrated cans landed in my inbox, I thought for sure they were European. An artisanal Italian brewery. Definitely. Fun use of animals, perfect muted color palette and beer names that I don’t understand, yet love.
But, much to my surprise, these cans hail from Big Axe Brewery in Nisswa, MN. The outdoorsy adventures on each can are a perfect fit for this fishing-heavy lake region. The soft whimsicality of the design continues onto the brief story for each beer in Big Axe’s lineup—which are sure to stand out on local beer shelves.
“A Wapaloosie is a small, conch eating mammal, that finds nothing more pleasurable than to climb to the tippy-top of a tree.”
“He steps lightly with his right foot and heavy with his left. this cursed devil, the Axe Kicker, scours the north woods felling any tree that gives him a crooked look.”
It actually hit me when I was watching a Minnesota–Wisconsin football game where they battle for that big axe. I thought, ‘Wow, that’s a big axe—hey, that could be the name of our brewery!’ We’re in the northland and there’s a lot of Paul Bunyan folklore in the area and lumberjack history around here so it just made sense.
— Chris French, Owner & Brewer (via The Growler)
“The Agropelter leads a spiteful existence. whipping and tossing rotted limbs with no regard for passers by.”
In an interview with CBS Minnesota, French was asked to describe his brewery in one word. His response was “inviting.” These cans convey that feeling beautifully.
“A Fire Cat is rarely seen more than once. It prowls the woods, leaving its path in a fiery blaze.”
“Stonehouse is confidently built with a strong foundation. Rest easy, as no stranger’s knock will interrupt the good times had within the Stonehouse.”
“The Splinter cat will hurl itself from tree to tree, smashing the trunks into pieces, revealing the tasty morsels inside.”
“Its food source is the handle of an axe that has been leaned deliciously against a tree. The Axe Handle Hound is the primary motivation for a lumberjack to keep working.”
“When the fish rise to the surface of the water, Bildad quickly springs past and smacks the unsuspecting prey with its paddle-like tail.”
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