Beauty and the Beer: How These Instagrammers Are Going Beyond the Bottle Shot

August 07, 2020

By Courtney Iseman, August 07, 2020

The “craft” in craft beer is an even exchange, according to some beer Instagrammers. Scroll through a growing corner of beer Instagram and you’ll see users putting as much imagination into posts celebrating different beers as the breweries who made those beers applied to their production. From makeup to nail art to cosplay, some craft beer fans are stepping far outside the simple can-and-pour shot, and even beyond the influencer-approved selfie-with-beer in a nice outdoor setting. 

“The process goes two ways,” says Caroline S., of the cosplay and design-heavy Instagram account @glimmerofhop. “Not only does beer speak to people, but there’s this cycle where the community influences the breweries.” A mother and therapist in Northern Virginia, Caroline believes it’s the dedication of beer fans, like those making artwork to laud their favorite brews, that has helped the scene grow.

On @glimmerofhop, each beer Caroline drinks becomes more than just a drink. It’s a spark for nostalgia, or the launchpad for a high-concept expansion of the can’s label art. The same phenomenon, of beer coming to life as a channel of self-expression and of its drinkers showing their appreciation through their own unique talents, plays out on different accounts like the makeup artistry feeds @brews.n.brushes and @hoppy_face, the nail art feeds @liquoredandlaquered and @beersandnails, and the cosplay feed @brewswithbunny. While inherently individual, these Instagram pages all reveal the creativity and diversity of the beer community. 

Photos courtesy of @liquoredandlaquered / Samantha Kullman.

Thinking of “beer Instagram” conjures up images of boss pours, proper glassware, whales scored, and hypebeast merch. Beer cans with coordinating makeup looks don’t spring to mind—but these are the feeds that reveal craft beer’s reach. In each case, these pages are extensions of their users, who place beer into their own worlds with their own jobs, hobbies, and passions.

For Anabelle Rondeau, the Quebec-based makeup artist behind @brews.n.brushes, makeup and beer merged because of beer’s inspiring nature. Rondeau had been mastering recreating looks she found on YouTube and Instagram, but struggled with being able to dream up her own original motifs. 

“One day, I was drinking a beer and thought, ‘Oh, this beer label is so beautiful, maybe I could do something inspired by that,” Rondeau recalls. “[Beer] helped me to become more creative, and to create my own looks.”

Rondeau, who says the makeup looks she posts take anywhere from one to three hours on average, shares a muse with fellow creative beer Instagrammers: label art. The evolution of cans and bottles over the past several years has demonstrated that what’s on the outside counts almost as much as what’s on the inside. Breweries know art is key in standing out on crowded shelves. The emphasis breweries have put on labels, partnering with local artists and tapping into different trends, has resonated with these beer Instagrammers.

“I’m always amazed by the creativity, nostalgia, and statements these can artists come up with,” says Samantha Kullman, of @liquoredandlaquered, who also sees her account as a way to mirror craft beer’s vision with her own, and even as a sort of collaboration with labels’ artists. “An artist already created the label, so the nails and the art I create with it is the part that I get to showcase.”

@brews.n.brushes and @liquoredandlaquered directly reflect the surrealist portraiture of Brasserie Gallicus’s Double Aura IPA and the poppy prints of Keith Shore’s Mikkeller designs in their makeup and nail motifs. For @glimmerofhop and @brewswithbunny, label art gets the pop culture treatment, whether the correlation is immediately obvious or not. All four Instagrammers find inspiration a few different ways: they stumble upon a beer and select patterns they want to explore from the can art, they shop for cans that may lend themselves to different themes, or they have a shoot idea and look for a can or glassware to match.

@brewswithbunny’s Ebony Thompson is a longtime cosplay enthusiast going pro: she currently lives in Orlando, Florida, training to be a fairy godmother at Disney World. Thompson is a bit newer to craft beer, and started her Instagram account to learn as much as she could about different styles and breweries, and to meet like-minded beer lovers. She says people responded enthusiastically to early posts revealing her nerdy self—in comic-book costumes or surrounded by retro video games—so she started working beer into her ideas for cosplay shoots or building the shoot around a beer she found. When we spoke, Thompson was excited about the New Wave Radical Blonde Ale from Pontoon Brewing because of its Rugrats-style can art, of which she has since posted shoots.

Photo courtesy of @brewswithbunny / Ebony Thompson.

From Rondeau’s makeup and Kullman’s nail art to Caroline and Thompson’s cosplay, these Instagram posts are much more involved and time-consuming than your typical #craftbeer shot. For these creators, though, the return on the investment is high: they value the community they have connected with, they appreciate getting to express their love of beer from their own perspectives, and they like turning beer into more than just a drink, but a hobby—something many beer fans seek as we drink mostly at home now.

“You don’t want to be stuck watching TV all day,” Thompson says. “Maybe this inspires people to get out and do something, and be creative on their own feeds—not just cosplay, but something more creative than a chug.”

For many of these Instagrammers, finding a supportive online community further nurtures their creativity.

“It’s definitely about getting to meet people,” Caroline says. “The craft beer community on Instagram is so diverse. You have more serious people providing serious commentary on beer, then there are people who are just having fun with it. I enjoy getting to know that wide range of people.”

That kind of diversity is both embraced and demonstrated by these types of creative Instagrammers, who emphasize that beer fans can be any kind of person in any walk of life who show their their appreciate in any kind of way. The definition of a “beer Instagrammer” reaches far outside the #hazeboi box.

“[These Instagram accounts] show the creative side to beer, and that it’s not only one kind of person who drinks beer,” Rondeau says.

“I especially enjoy the female presence on Instagram,” Kullman adds. “Let's be honest, beer in general has long been associated with the dudes and it's nice to see the emergence of women in the craft beer scene and industry.”

ZX Ventures, a division within AB InBev, is an investor in October
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