Our client base is fairly diverse. We help businesses ranging from a rock quarry in Central Texas, to a growing bank group in Colorado, to an Atlanta-based restaurant group. In addition, we’ve been very lucky the last few years to work with some of the country’s best up and coming craft breweries – designing beer can and beer bottle label art, creating logos, working up art for tap handles and web sites. Currently, with the always-creative visiting MAD Freak Steve (aka “MonkeyBoy”) Chandler leading the charge, we are in the middle of a fun brewery re-branding project. Can’t reveal all quite yet, but here’s a little sip of the new logo.
Well folks, in June The MAD House packed up all of its stuff and bid Austin, Texas farewell. We landed in a little slice of paradise on the Northwest Florida Gulf Coast, or as the marketing pieces call it, The Forgotten Coast. So, our address says Carrabelle, but we’re not actually in Carrabelle. That’s where our PO Box is. Many reasons for the move, mostly personal. Let’s just say it was time and we’re glad to be here.
We miss Austin and all of its cool. We miss our friends, Barton Springs, the music, Maudie’s, Bert’s BBQ, Gueros, Gourmands and too many other favorite restaurants, and the crazy-good craft beer scene – all of the things that will make it fun to visit Austin. We don’t miss the trying-too-hard-to-be-hipness, the insane traffic, the overtaxed (literally) and underperforming infrastructure, the 100-plus degree days, and the influx of outworlders – all things that will make it easy to come back home to Florida after visiting Austin.
Life moves a different pace here. Many restaurants in the area are only open Thursday through Sunday when the tourists flock to the area for fishing, beaching, birding, golfing and exploring. I found a few places with craft beer. There’s even a craft brewery (Oyster City Brewing) over in Apalachicola and another in Tallahassee (Proof). Beer festivals are in full swing right now with fests within easy “driving-to” range – though, a hotel in lieu of the “driving-back” is probably a good idea. For a fairly rural area, Florida’s law enforcement agencies give this area of the state plenty of attention. Following the rules of the road makes for a happy trip.
We find that extra planning goes into our travels to nearby bergs. You know, while in Crawfordville (30 miles away) visiting the screen printer, be sure to stop at WalMart for bacon (because name-brand bacon costs twice as much at the local IGA, and I needs my bacon). Or, if I’m heading to Tallahassee (50 miles away) to go to the airport or, say, meet with that beer prospect, better hit Costco for gas, bottled water and K-cups. Then swing by Whole Foods for produce (making sure to take the ice chest so I can keep things cool and fresh until I get home), and grab shrimp at that seafood place in Panacea because the seafood place in Carrabelle is closed today. These little things can have an impact if not carefully planned. Can’t just run over to the HEB for dinner fixings or grab a T-Man from Bert’s for lunch anymore.
Yep, it’s a bit different here. That’s what we fell in love with when we first visited a couple of years ago. Work is still the same for us both. We both are able to work from our home offices like we did in Austin. As long as we have cell coverage and internet, we’re in good shape. The airport’s an hour away when we need to travel. And work, we do. It can be quite consuming. Sometimes, even though we’re in the same house, we don’t see each other the entire day.
And that’s O.K. Because, on a Friday afternoon, we can knock off a little early and head for the beach. In the evening, I can take Mrs. MADHouseLarry to our favorite spot on “the island” for hot shrimp, redneck caviar and cold craft beers while the blazing orange sun sets into the bay. We like this place. It’s a delightful blend of locals and tourists all ready to put the week behind them and slide into island time for the next two days. Everyone is happy. Everyone is friendly. No one is trying-too-hard-to-be-hip.
Next time: Some new stuff The MAD Freaks have been working on.
The MAD Creative Freaks have been busy little bees the past few months producing artwork for our friends at Jacksonville, Florida’s Veterans United Craft Brewery and Clayton, North Carolina’s Deep River Brewing Company.
Below are a few samples of the fun.
Deep River Brewing Company’s JoCo White Winter Belgian Style Dubbel Ale
Veterans United Craft Brewery’s Naughty Rye IPA Tap Art
October is nearly upon us and the Freaks here at The MAD House are preparing ourselves mentally and physically for our annual pilgrimage to the Mile High City for the Great American Beer Festival. To be quite honest, I nearly swore it off after last year. Seemed to me it had gotten way too big, and way too crazy, and way too commercial, and with way too many stumbling, bumbling, fumbling overindulgers weaving the aisles.
But all of that is only part of what makes GABF what it is – one of the best beer festivals in the world. There really aren’t very many places where one can go to sample such a variety of excellent craft beers from such a variety of craft brewers from such a variety of locations. And, admittedly, it’s getting harder every year to actually meet the folks who brew the beers, but when you do, they are almost always happy to spend a few minutes talking to you about their creations.
Add to it that it takes place in a really cool town: Denver. One can spend the daylight hours exploring all of the new breweries that have popped up, eat at some of Denver’s most excellent eateries, go for a bike ride, tour distilleries, or escape the city for a day in the mountains or a do a loop up to Ft. Collins, Longmont and Boulder.
We haven’t finalized our off-time plans, yet. We’ll spend some of our time there meeting with our excellent brewery clients, some more time introducing ourselves to others we feel like we can help, and leave the rest open for exploration and sampling.
So, yes, I’m going back. Who can write off such an awesome event. We learn a little more about how to “do” GABF every year we’re there. And, I’m sure we’ll learn a bit more this time. We’ll take that knowledge, put on our protective gear, and plunge headlong into the masses.
If you’ll be there, keep an eye out for us (the MAD cow will be on some item of clothing at all times) and let’s toast to craftbeer!
We’re happy to announce Deep River Brewing Company in Clayton, North Carolina has chosen The MAD House to design cans for a number of their beers. Here is a press release from the brewery:
“On the eve of our 1 year anniversary Deep River is taking a BIG step in making our beer much more accessible to all craft beer lovers. How you say? We will be canning our beers starting April 15th!
Back in December, the company purchased a brand new canning line that will enable us to package our beers into 16 ounce cans. We are excited to take this step because that means you can have Deep River beers at the beach, golf courses, pool, and everywhere you can imagine!! Plus we have been picked up by Harris Teeter grocery stores and will expand our presence at Whole Foods Markets and local bottle shops.
Be on the lookout for launch parties around the Triangle and be sure to ask your local retailer for Deep River beers!!”
Here are the first three you should see soon. More will follow.
We called upon Visiting Design Freak Robert Lin to help translate the owners’ ideas into aluminum art. Drawing heavily on the active outdoor lifestyle of the owners and many of the brewery’s fans, Robert created a basic template with interchangeable elements to represent the different beers. Seasonal and one-off releases will have their own unique look.
Also under way are designs for the brewery’s delivery vehicles and a special anniversary logo. Look for the cans to hit the shelves in the Clayton/Raleigh area in the next few weeks.
Package design perplexations (Is that a word)? Anyway, contemplating package design but just too busy brewing to give cans, bottles, milk trucks a second thought? Let us help. Holler at us today!
Intuition Ale Works called upon The MAD House recently to morph our can designs for their three flagship brands to fit labels for 22oz bomber bottles. Visiting MAD Design-Freak, Derrit Derouen, took the original can designs, pulled the elements apart, and rebuilt the brand puzzle on a label.
The MAD House is pleased to announce our can design for Austin-based craft brewery Hops & Grain Brewing‘s beer, Zoe, went into production last week and lucky Texans should start seeing the cans on the shelves soon. The MAD House’s visiting design-savant, Derrit Derouen, is responsible for the look and feel of the Zoe can and did a great job sticking with established Hops & Grain branding elements while giving Zoe her own vibrant identity. See other Hops & Grain work by The MAD House HERE.
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