Plenty of folks have taken a road trip for a special beer release, to visit a favorite far away brewery, or just for the hell of it. Heidi Geist is traveling across the country making stops at a new brewery, in a new state, practically every week.
The Portland, ME-based artist is embarking on the 48 Beer Project this September, with major sponsorships from Liquid Riot Bottling Company, Novare Res Bier Café, and Bissell Brothers Brewing. Over the course of a year, she plans to stop at (at least) one brewery in each of the 48 continental states. For every brewery she visits, she’ll be designing a one-of-a-kind label for a special release beer.
Heidi’s no stranger to the world of can art — she’s designed labels for nearly 20 breweries over the past three years, notably 13 labels for Portland’s Bissell Brothers. What is new this time is that she’ll often have less than a week to design the label before the beer’s released.
She’ll be doing most of her work out of a mini school bus she converted into a mobile art studio. The bus will also double as her living quarters over the course of the trip.
“I’ve always had this constant need to move, but also exploring other cultures,” Heidi said.
This cross-country expedition is the best of both worlds for Heidi: exploring new parts of the craft beer community and returning to her roots of traveling.
The list of breweries along the 48 Beer Project’s route features a wide variety of superstars, such as Trillium Brewing Co., Jackie O’s Brewery, Against the Grain, Foam Brewers, Civil Society Brewing, and Dancing Gnome Brewing. (Check out the full list of brewers below.)
After reaching out to nearly 100 breweries across the country, she ended up with a mix of some she’s worked with before and some she’d never even heard of. Understandably, she wasn’t able to pick just one or two that she’s looking most forward to. Ultimately, Heidi said she’s equally looking forward to catching up with old friends and meeting new folks and hearing their stories.
She said these breweries weren’t chosen based on their popularity, but on the people behind the scenes. Their vision, effort, quality, and how they connect with their fans played a major part of mapping out her stops.
There is, in fact, a method to this madness. The breweries that have been chosen filled out forms beforehand with info such as label dimensions, whether it’s a can or bottle, logo to be featured, etc. This was a good conversation starter with the brewers she hadn’t worked with before, and also means there’s more time to focus on the creative elements once she rolls into town.
Once at the brewery, Heidi gets to work in the studio and eventually delivers the finished product to the brewery for labeling. Again, this is all over the course of less than a week — including travel.
It’s up to each brewery to decide what kind of event will be held to commemorate their label, if any. Some have already mentioned some plans, while many are still anyone’s guess.
There’s more to the 48 Beer Project than just the beer. Heidi said she’s looking forward to meeting plenty of new people along her trip, not just at the breweries she’s collaborating with but also at beer bars, art galleries, anywhere.
“I want to share more than just the beer. I want to share the stories,” she added.
The trip will be chronicled in the form of photos, video, interviews, and more. These will fuel a YouTube channel of her adventures, and possibly a full-length documentary when all’s said and done.
|Arizona||Tombstone Brewing Co.|
|Arkansas||Ozark Beer Co.|
|California||Casa Agria Ales|
|Connecticut||Beer’d Brewing Co.|
|Florida||Civil Society Brewing|
|Georgia||Creature Comforts Brewing Co.|
|Idaho||Woodland Empire Ale Craft|
|Indiana||Indiana City Brewing|
|Iowa||Exile Brewing Co.|
|Kansas||Central Standard Brewing|
|Kentucky||Against the Grain Brewery|
|Louisiana||Parleaux Beer Lab|
|Maine||Allagash Brewing Co.|
|Maryland||Union Craft Brewing|
|Massachusetts||Trillium Brewing Co.|
|Michigan||Speciation Artisan Ales|
|Minnesota||Wild Mind Ales|
|Mississippi||Lazy Magnolia Brewery|
|Missouri||Perennial Artisan Ales|
|Montana||Bozeman Brewing Co.|
|New Hampshire||Northwoods Brewing Co.|
|New Jersey||Magnify Brewing Co.|
|New Mexico||Ex Novo Brewing Co.|
|New York||Plan Bee Farm Brewery|
|North Carolina||Bond Brothers Beer Co.|
|North Dakota||Drekker Brewing Co.|
|Ohio||Jackie O’s Public House & Brewery|
|Oklahoma||Prairie Artisan Ales|
|Oregon||Great Notion Brewing|
|Pennsylvania||Dancing Gnome Brewery|
|Rhode Island||Long Live Beerworks|
|South Carolina||Birds Fly South Ale Project|
|South Dakota||Fernson Brewing Co.|
|Tennessee||Blackberry Farm Brewery|
|Texas||The Collective Brewing Project|
|Virginia||Adroit Theory Brewing|
|Washington||E Nine Brewery|
|West Virginia||Weathered Ground Brewery|
|Wisconsin||Funk Factory Geuzeria|