F E AT U R E
Collaborative brews focus on
creativity in and out of the can
By Jim Timlick
Matt Johnston admits there were some skeptics when he
and business partner Bob Russell announced plans to
launch their own craft brewery back in 2013.
It wasn’t that folks were skeptical of their ability to brew suds.
After all, the two friends had worked together in the beer industry
before and were well aware of the challenges they faced.
No, the reason for the skepticism was the duo’s somewhat
unorthodox marketing strategy for their fledgling company,
Collective Arts Brewing. Right from the get-go they decided their
beer would be a celebration of creativity, not only the product
inside the can, but also in terms of how it was presented on
Rather than choosing a look that promoted their company
brand, the duo saw labelling as an opportunity to champion artists
and their work. That led to the decision to feature the work of a
different artist on each beer’s label and to change the look every
few months to promote a new artist and work of art.
“We had a lot of naysayers who thought it was a terrible idea,”
Johnston said with a laugh. “When we first started, someone
described it as my art student project. They said, ‘When you’re
done your art student project, let me know and I’ll have a job
Photos courtesy of Collective Arts Brewing
FALL 2020 § POURED CANADA § 35