Beck’s Edison Bottle, World’s 1st Playable Beer Bottle


“19th Century technology meets 21st Century music over a bottle of beer in the latest extension to the Beck’s Record Label project. This time, the art label has evolved, and been replaced by the grooves of Auckland band Ghost Wave. Their new single was inscribed into the surface of a Beck’s beer bottle which could then be played on a specially-built device based on Thomas Edison’s original phonograph.” See the Video and HEAR the bottle after the jump!

“Making the world’s first playable beer bottle was a formidable technical challenge. The clever people at Auckland firm Gyro Constructivists first had to design and build a record-cutting lathe, driven by a hard drive recording head. Then they reinvented Edison’s original cylinder player, using modern materials and electronics and built to very fine tolerances. The Edison Bottle made its public debut at SemiPermanent in Auckland in May to a standing ovation from the assembled media and design community.

Beck’s has had a long association with music and art. In fact, at about the same time Heinrich Beck was brewing his first beer in the 1870s, Tom Edison was tinkering away on designs for the first phonograph. Considering how beer has influenced recorded music since then, this physical collaboration was very appropriate and long overdue.”

Client: Beck’s New Zealand
Creative Agency: Shine Limited 
Machine & Bottle Production: Gyro
Making-of Video Production: VICE
Record Label: Arch Hill Recordings
Band: Ghost Wave
Album: Ages
Featured Single: Here She Comes

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Via The Dieline

The Plant brands new Jamie Oliver Trattoria venture



Jamie Oliver is launching new restaurant Trattoria, with branding by The Plant.

The first Trattoria branch will open next week in Richmond, west London, with interiors designed by Blacksheep. Work began on the Trattoria project around November last year.

Trattoria will be loosely based on the Jamie’s Italian brand, though with a more ‘local Italian’ feel, according to The Plant.



Matt Utber, The Plant founder, says, ‘It’s a Jamie’s Italian sub-brand in a sense, but what they’re offering is a more direct, stripped-down menu. It’s a very simple offer but with all the quality you’d expect from a Jamie’s Italian.

‘[The Jamie Oliver brand] wanted to build an offering that’s more appropriate to take into the suburbs and smaller towns.’

The branding uses a black and red colour palette, with interiors aiming to give a ‘simple, stripped-back’ feel, according to Utber.

He says, ‘From a brand perspective we wanted to create a sense of a much more local restaurant. It’s a more intimate experience – the food and visual aspects look more family–owned. The approach we’ve taken to the design is very honest.’



The Plant used traditional-looking gold-leaf script typography for the signage and shop front, and a menu featuring ‘very simple’ typographic and design elements.



As brand guardian for Jamie Oliver, The Plant has worked on other projects including Jamie Oliver at Gatwick, which also features interiors by Blacksheep, British restaurant Union Jacks and a number of Jamie’s Italian restaurants.

There are currently no firm plans to open further branches of Trattoria.

Via Design Week

Black Cow – World’s First Pure Milk Vodka




Black Cow is the world’s first pure milk vodka, made entirely from the milk of grass grazed cows and nothing else. Fresh whole milk makes an exceptionally smooth vodka with a unique creamy character.

Pure Milk Vodka is the invention of West Dorset dairy farmer Jason Barber. His inspiration came from a desire to diversify the produce from his 250 strong dairy herd and his deep personal interest in vodka.


The milk is separated into curds and whey. The curds are used to make cheese, the whey is fermented into a beer using a special yeast that converts the milk sugar into alcohol. This milk beer is then distilled and treated to our secret blending process. The vodka is then triple filtered and finished, before being hand bottled.

Incidentally Black Cow is made from the same milk that is used to make Barber’s 1833 cheddar, winner of the World Cheese Awards Cheddar Trophy 2012

Ideo/Samuel Adam’s Beer Can & Budweiser Bowtie-Shaped Can


Samuel Adams engaged Ideo to undertake research and development into a new can, which was honed with the help of sensory expert Roy Desrochers from GEI consultants.

One of the findings was that much of what is perceived to be taste is actually smell, so the opening has been moved slightly further away from the edge of the lid and nearer to the drinker’s nose to help accentuate hop aromas.

A flared lip and wider top have been introduced in an attempt to emulate drinking from a glass, delivering ‘a more pronounced, more balanced flavour experience’ according to Desrochers, who says the extended lip makes the drinking experience ‘smoother and more comfortable.’

An hourglass ridge creates turbulence ‘to push out the flavour of the beer’ according to Samual Adams, which says that all of the modifications to a standard can design work in concert to improve airflow and aroma.

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Prototype on the right

The can was tested to assess how it impacts flavour, and how its ergonomic form controls flow and the way beer hits taste receptors on the drinker’s tongue.

Samuel Adams is saying the difference between the new can and a standard one ‘will be modest’ but drinkers should notice the difference.



When the format launches in the US this summer it will be the first time Samuel Adams has been available in a can.

Founder and brewer Jim Koch says, ‘I wasn’t convinced that Boston Lager would taste as good as it does from a bottle.’

In other beer-can news, Budweiser is set to launch a bowtie-shaped can, which is structured to mirror the brand’s logo.



The can will launch in the US next month, but will not be available in other countries.

Pat McGauley, vice president of innovation for Anheuser-Busch, Budweiser’s parent company, says, ‘This can is incomparable, like nothing you’ve ever seen before.’

He adds, ‘We explored various shapes that would be distinguishable in the marketplace, but also viable from an engineering standpoint. Aluminium can be stretched only about 10 per cent without fracturing, which requires that the angles of the bowtie be very precise’.

According to Budweiser, the development of the can by Anheuser-Busch engineers required ‘major equipment investments’ at Budweiser’s can-making facility in Newburgh, New York.

It adds, ‘Significant capital investments also were required to upgrade packaging lines at the Budweiser breweries in Los Angeles and Williamsburg, Virginia, the first breweries with capability to package this unique can innovation’.

The can, which has been in development since 2010, will only be available in eight-packs, and will not replace the traditional Budweiser can.

The slimmer design means the new cans hold 11.3 ounces of beer compared to the traditional can’s 12 ounces.

The brand says there is ‘no written documentation on the origins of the Budweiser bowtie’, but that the double-triangle bowtie logo was introduces to emphasise the full Budweiser name ‘when too many people were using the “Bud” bar call too frequently’.

The brand says the bowtie symbol was first used in a Budweiser national advertising campaign in 1956.

The launch of the can on 6 May is being supported with a marketing campaign that includes digital, print and television. It will be available in US grocery stores, supermarkets, convenience stores and liquor stores, according to the brand.

Via Design Week

To Stop Eating Food


Rob Rhinehart thought he spent to much efforts and time on food preparing, so he came up with Soylent. An odorless beige cocktail supposed to offer you the “nutrients required by the body to function”. He uses vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients like essential amino acids, carbohydrates, and fat. Says that he “also added nonessentials like antioxidants and probiotics and lately have been experimenting with nootropics.”





Other than the name – from a science fiction film – and the food laziness talk, Rob thinks his creation as a new way to approach food and global hunger problems. I also though about the connexions we can make towards design. Soylent is designed for optimization, function efficiency. I know human factors like culture, economics and tastiness are never out of the question. But it is interesting to see how “minimalistic” food can be and how wide food design potential is. I don’t know about you, but I can’t see food like a white t-shirt I put on everyday. The considerations are important, but there’s more than that.




Get to know some more:

Rob Rhinehart Vice interview

Rob’s Blog

Kings County Distillery


Kings County Distillery is New York City’s oldest operating whiskey distillery, the first since prohibition. Founded in 2010, soon after the creation of a New York State Farm Distillery License, Kings County makes handmade moonshine and bourbon out of the 113-year-old Paymaster Building in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The distillery uses New York grain, traditional processes, and unorthodox distilling equipment to make distinctive whiskey. Our moonshine won “Best in Category” for corn whiskey at the 2011 American Distilling Institute’s Craft Spirits Conference and Kings County’s bourbon won a bronze medal at the 2012 Conference.

Text: Kings County Distillery

Photos: The Selby






The Only Chart You Need To Mix A Proper Cocktail




We’d been trying to complete a chart of cocktails for over a year. It’s sorta been Pop Chart Lab’s white whale. This journey started, as every PCL chart does, with a bunch of research dumped into Excel. In December 2010, we compiled a document of nearly 200 cocktails broken down by ingredients.

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Then we moved into OmniGraffle. In our first attempt, we grouped the spirits, wines, liqueurs, cordials, etc., and then started drawing lines connecting each ingredient to the appropriate cocktail. We then drew another line connecting the cocktail to the appropriate glass along the bottom of the chart.

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We could tell right away this likely wasn’t going to work. The ingredients were taking up way too much space, and every cocktail connecting to a glass at the bottom was creating a huge bottleneck. Just to make sure, though, we started color coding and pushed a little further.

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Convinced this wasn’t going to work, we put the idea on the shelf for a few months. In September, we were working on a chart of the ingredients in candy bars, and we ran into a similar problem. The majority of the bars had milk chocolate in them, which meant a lot of lines running to the same place.

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Our breakthrough here was putting the chocolates in the center, the candy bars in a ring around the outside, and then the other ingredients at the top and bottom.

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We knew this same arrangement could work for the cocktails chart if we put the shared ingredients in the center and the cocktails in a ring around them. In this draft from November, we used Excel to make a pie chart of the spirits and then put that in the center, the liqueurs and bitters on the left, mixers up top, and garnishes on the right.

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This was looking promising, but as we filled in more of the chart, it was getting tough to read.

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The solution was to move more into the center pie chart. In this next version, all alcoholic ingredients–spirits, wines, bitters, and liqueurs–were moved into the center pie chart, with mixers up above and garnishes down below.

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This proved to us that the concept could work, so we moved into working in Illustrator, where it’s easier to draw curved lines than in OmniGraffle. We started with an old-time-y treatment, complete with overly long subtitle. Here it is before we filled in any of the connecting lines.

And here is what it looked after we spent 40 hours drawing lines. If you look closely within this jumble of vectors, you might be able to find the exact moment at which we lost our sanity.

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A ridiculous amount of work went into this, but the lines were so dense that we couldn’t even follow them to proofread it. The only solution here would have been to increase the size of poster, and with 1-point lines we were already at a 27×39 poster. To make this legible, we probably would have needed to print it on a 4-foot-by-6-foot piece of paper. So instead, we did the smart thing and ruthlessly culled the list of cocktails down from 175 to 68. We lost a lot of good cocktails (such as the Flaming Homer), but it was worth it to get a more legible poster. We also switched the look from the staid old-time-y style to a Saul Bass-influenced ’60s vibe.

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The reduction in cocktails let us do a few other cool things, like include the ratios for each of the ingredients as well as the serving glasses, which made the chart a lot more functional. We also shook up the center pie chart to give it a more kinetic look.