The making of a label: Stone 7th Anniversary Ale
(aka: The Stone 7th Anniversary Ale “cheat sheet”)

It's no secret that I like to sprinkle in an interesting word or two on the labels of our Stone brews... especially the labels for the Stone Special Releases. Over time, each of the special release labels has started to get its own tone. The Stone Imperial Stout is mysterious. The Double Bastard Ale, caustic. The Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine, insanely verbose and meandering. The Stone Anniversary Ale, obscure, obfuscating and, well, perhaps even obnoxious in its overuse of obtusely written oratory.

This past spring, I was thinking about how I was going to approach this year's label. It wasn't an immediate thing yet as the deadline was still a bit off in the future. At the Real Ale Fest, I got into a conversation with a local beer enthusiast and Stone fan by the name of John Bernat. I don't remember exactly how the conversation turned to the label of the Stone 7th Anniversary Ale, but at some point I said to John "I know, I'll challenge people to send in words and I'll work them into the label text. You first. Send me a word and I promise I'll use it." As always, one should be careful of promises one makes at a beer festival.

Well, John lived up to his side of the bargain and the next day he emailed me the word "ursine." When I looked it up, I remember thinking "great, how in the hell am I going to use this word in the label? I should watch what I promise at beer fests."

To read our email correspondence, click here

Then a few weeks went by. Other things commanded my attention and the deadline loomed closer and closer until, wham, it was almost upon me. Where does the time go? Suddenly, there was barely enough time to put the word out for, well, words. And then it dawned on me: I should have the Stone crew submit words! And so I did. I put out the word out in their paychecks (always a good way to get people to notice stuff) and gave everyone a little form and a deadline to submit up to three words with a deadline set five days later.

I got back 15 words from 13 members of the Stone crew. I'm proud in an odd sort of way to say that I used every single word that was submitted.

-Greg Koch

Click here to view "Making of a label: Stone 7th Anniversary Ale"
aka: The Stone 7th Anniversary Ale "cheat sheet"