As seen in Juneau Empire

Alaskan Brewing Co. recently won an award for the art adorning its citrus wheat ale, a recent release for the summer. The Craft Beer Marketing Awards, an industry award for art and marketing of beers across the planet, announced that Alaskan Brewing was a first-time winner of a gold “Crushie,” their award for outstanding design or artwork.

Alaskan’s citrus wheat was rolled out just months ago, with an early-release edition being submitted to the awards for consideration, said Cindy Burchfield, creative project manager for the brewery, in a video interview.

“We were packaging it (the Citrus Wheat) in January,” Burchfield said. “We had never entered before, so we just got some of our new exciting styles and entered them.”

The citrus wheat ale features a silhouette of a hiker atop a mountain over a background sliding from orange to yellow to green, symbolizing the citrus flavors present in the beer, Burchfield said.

Cans are becoming a bigger and bigger part of the market, said chief operating officer Kristi McGuire, owing to aluminum’s higher recyclability, portability and consistency of quality.

“Consumers are choosing cans as a package of choice. The markets have shifted to more than 50%,” McGuire said. “Aluminum is more popular than plastic and glass.”

McGuire said that the design of cans, with their all-around coverage, compared to labels on bottles, allows for more innovative art.

“There’s so much more you can do to make it pop off the shelf,” Burchfield said.

The art itself reflects both the nature of the beer and its background in Alaska, as well as the popular Alaskan pastime of climbing tall bits of rock for sport and amusement. The ale itself is also made with wheat from Palmer, Burchfield said.

“We wanted to give people something to celebrate with after they’ve achieved that summit. The visuals in the background is Denali,” Burchfield said. “We went overboard with the color and vibrancy to show the citrus.”

The beer and the art are put together during the process so that they complement each other, McGuire said.

“Citrus wheat is a relatively new style on the market,” McGuire said. “Having this lighter refreshing style is perfect for the summer. This image really worked well for this particular beer.”

The beer is available at local retailers, bars and at the Alaskan Brewing Taproom.