Surly Cash Extra Special Bitter

Mar 03, 2011

It started in October on the weekend of my son’s baptism. My good friend John was in town, and we brewed a batch of beer as we had done many times before when I lived in Colorado. November passed; and, as I let it ferment, I eagerly anticipated the deliciousness that awaited me.

As Christmas approached, we at Happy Cog started planning our holiday party and, as we do every year, drew names for a secret santa gift exchange. I drew Chris Cashdollar. I was excited to draw his name, even though I had no idea what I would get him.

The last piece of this puzzle is Blue Beanie Day, a day every year in late November when everybody in the web design community dons blue hats to show their support for web standards. The day before, I shot photos of everybody in the Philly Happy Cog office all blue-beanied-up for the event.

As I was brainstorming ideas for Chris’ gift, it all clicked together. Of course! I have this beer that’s just about ready to drink, maybe I could do something with that?

I sent my dear friend Derek a message asking him if he wanted to collaborate on this project: A beer label with a custom illustration of Chris Cashdollar based on his blue beanie day photo. I sent him this photo of Chris to get the creative juices flowing:

Chris, aka Surly Cash

Derek didn’t hesitate. Minutes later he wrote back saying “I’m totally in!”. Just days later I had an amazing illustration to work with.

Surly Cash Illustration by Derek Balmer

Derek made it very easy for me. I designed the label and glued it on the night before our secret santa party.

A Bottle of Surly Cash Extra Special Bitter

There are only five of these in existance. I’m pretty excited about how these turned out! The look on Chris’ face was pretty dang priceless.

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