Are you a creative working in the hospitality industry? Beavertown wants to hear from you
We chat to Beavertown’s creative director Nick Dwyer about his experiences in hospitality, how he landed the “best job in the world”, and the mission behind Creatives Untapped.
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- 21 April 2023
It’s not uncommon to meet a creative who is working in a bar, cafe or restaurant in order to fund or support their craft. And often these creatives will be bustling away at their practices in their spare time, sketching on napkins, doodling on receipts and building a portfolio of work, so that they’re ready to jump at any opportunity that might arise.
In a new campaign by Beavertown Brewery, creatives working in the hospitality industry across the UK are being celebrated and brought into the spotlight. Launching in time for World Creativity Day on 21 April, Creatives Untapped aims to uncover the best creative talent within the UK’s hospitality industry. The campaign invites creatives to submit existing work into a competition, and will then highlight 10 winners working in hospitality. Those selected will receive £1,000 in prize money, the chance to promote their work on Beavertown Brewery’s marketing channels, alongside an interview and feature on It’s Nice That, plus the chance to showcase work in an exhibition alongside other winners.
Balancing hospitality work and creativity is a story that Beavertown Brewery’s creative director Nick Dwyer knows personally. Growing up on the Norfolk coast, Nick always enjoyed “making a mess” as a child – “to the point where my parents had to remove the black paint from paint sets because I would just mix it with the other paints and turn everything black,” he recalls. This readiness to embrace mess eventually informed his illustrative style – one that today is heavily inspired by comic books, sci-fi and cartoons such as Ren and Stimpy, The Simpsons and Futurama.
After moving to London and graduating from an Illustration BA at Central St. Martins, Nick – like many creative graduates – found himself flitting between restaurant jobs. Then, his best friend James Rylance (who now runs Ideal Day Brewery with his wife Nia and children) referred him to Duke’s Brew and Que in Haggerston – Logan Plant’s first brewery pub. Brew and Que is where Beavertown Brewery first started, a brewery known for craft beers like Neck Oil IPA, Gamma Ray APA and Lazer Crush Alcohol Free IPA. James asked Nick if he wanted to come in on a freelance basis to design beer labels.
Armed with his sketchbook, Nick went full steam ahead into the challenge, eager to catch Logan’s attention with his designs. It wasn’t long until Nick designed the labels for Gamma Ray and Black Betty, the former quickly becoming known to regulars as ‘the spaceman beer’ for its sci-fi feel and iconic palette of yellow and blue; the design was also paired with Beavertown Brewery’s ‘B’ pyramid design, created by Jonah Schultz and featuring a desert landscape which had appeared across a few previous bottle designs.
After great success with his designs at Beavertown Brewery – particularly the famous space-themed Gamma Ray label – Nick started to formulate a mission. “I set about dismantling Logan’s plan to have a different artist for each label by always having fresh designs on me whenever he was around,” he says. “It worked a treat.” Nick sought out a more permanent role at the company and became the self-titled art director for the brand (he’s now creative director). In 2014, Nick worked on a large redesign with Beavertown Brewery when they transitioned into using aluminium cans. “From there we just kept building on how much the designs were resonating with people. It’s such a great way to force your work on people when they have to look at it if they want the tasty beer,” he says.
A few years have passed since and it’s safe to say that Beavertown Brewery’s label designs are some of the most recognisable on the shelf – the playful characters, colourful palettes and storytelling tell you that it’s Beavertown Brewery beer you’re about to drink – and that it’s a design drawn up by Nick. “It’s so satisfying to have people spot little Easter eggs and even the pen mistakes I’ve made in the designs and search me out to ask questions about them,” Nick says. “Conceptually, I like to keep things pretty open-ended so people can apply their own ideas and stories to them. Being overly prescriptive with this sort of thing makes it less accessible and I think accessibility is part of the charm with Beavertown Brewery. Almost like anyone could do them (they could).”
Looking back, Nick feels like his experiences working in hospitality were vital in his development as a creative, and ultimately in finding his dream job. “I didn’t realise it at the time but [hospitality] was essential to my development in so many ways,” he says. “I have never been good at taking feedback in… well any scenario, let alone specific feedback sessions. But chatting with the people I worked with and for was my way of seeing if a wide cross-section (found from working in hospitality) thought my ideas and concepts worked.” By sharing his ideas with his fellow hospitality coworkers, Nick was able to gain confidence, mingle with likeminded people and get his foot in the door. And, ultimately, he was able to carve out his role at Beavertown Brewery – according to him, “best job in the world”.
Nick wants to give creatives who are currently working in hospitality the same opportunities he had when he was finding his route into the industry. Hence the launch of Creatives Untapped. “The hospitality industry is awash with incredible creative talent. I was so lucky to find a platform so quickly at Beavertown Brewery, so really it’s an opportunity to not only try to find talent, but give someone a platform too,” he says.
So, if you’re a creative working in any sector of the hospitality industry – part-time or full-time – and you’d like to get involved in the campaign, please follow this link and apply via the Beavertown Brewery website. Submissions will run for four weeks and will then be judged by a panel co-run by Beavertown Brewery and It’s Nice That, who will select the 10 winners. Applications close at midnight on 19 May 2023. Good luck!
Beavertown Brewery: Creatives Uptapped (Copyright © Beavertown Brewery, 2023)