When I first started thinking about this project and how to make it a reality, Craig and his work at New England (Brewing Co.) was one of the artists of inspiration. As a self admitted NEBCO fanboy, I had grown to love the work of Craig and saw him as a fixture at one of my favorite breweries. With that said, I didn't have any expectations to get to interview him, but upon reaching out he couldn't have been nicer and humble about the inquiry.

This helped to validate what I hope you've come to enjoy here at the 16oz. Canvas, great people and great stories. This was one of our first interviews that we did live and it was great to be able to connect in 3-D at NEBCO. We enjoyed a few of their great beers and got chatting about Craig, his career, his art and his outlook on life. I'm sure you'll it enjoy it as much as I did.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Thank you Craig for joining us here.  We’re here at New England BrewBrewing company, this 16oz canvas.  I’m talking to Craig Gilbert, a local artist and also jack of all trades here at New England Brewing Company and -- yeah.  So I just wanted to, you know, again I appreciate you’ve made the time.

Craig:              No, thank you for recognizing and giving me the nod.  That’s cool.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   When I had the idea, I was spitting around with folks, you know, you’re a must get and I really, you know, notice what you do and I really appreciate it.

Craig:              Thanks.  That’s kind of weird because, you know, you don’t hear a lot about the outside of the beer because everyone’s just always "Oh my God that’s the greatest beer I’ve ever had".  It was -- "Oh, it was a huge hop bomb" and no one ever says like wow, really cool graphics.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Yeah, I love coming in and like it’s something new or a new fat Tanner comes out or -- well, now they have the Ocho and Dose, like I love the fact that there’s -- oh my God, that means there’s going to be a new label and so I mean yeah, that to me is one of my favorite parts of it and obviously art, when you’re going to a beer store and you look and you hope that the label is as good as the beer and that doesn’t always work out, you know, I've bought many a shitty beer that looks awesome.

Craig:              Been there many a times where you just go that is the greatest label but it’s horrible beer.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   And so I said, you know, the elevator thing is beer agnostic you hope the beer is as good as the label looks but, you know, that’s not always going to happen. But as an artist what is your background, you know, I want you to give your elevator pitch.

Craig:              Oh, the history?

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Yeah, your whole life and like, you know, just give it --

Craig:              I’ve always been drawing I mean ever since I could pick up a crayon and just scribble on a wall much to my parents’ annoyance.

I’ve just always been drawing, I’ve always been writing and that led to, you know, working at newspapers and, you know, writing and stuff like that and then illustrating and doing illustrations for newspapers and stuff like that and 'zines and magazines and when my buddy Rob who owns New England Brewing -- I’ve known him since ninth grade -- and, you know, just helping out whenever I could whether it was brewing, whether it was sweeping the floor or, you know, painting something and then one day he said, you know, "Hey, you draw, can you draw me a label for a can that we’re coming out with?"  And I said well yeah, of course, you know, no problem and he said yeah, it’s a double IPA.  Give us a name so I gave him like 300 names or something stupid because I’m nuts like that and --

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Right.

Craig:              -- and he’s all right, we narrowed it down to ten, you know, what’s next?  And I said I don’t know what do you want?  And he said well, what would you pick and I said, you know, Gandhi-Bot and he said why Gandhi-Bot, you know, what is that and we went through, you know, why and what it meant and all that and he said well, can you draw it?  I said well sure and I drew up this picture for him and that’s the exact first image on the Gandhi-Bot can was that and I was like well, I can draw it better and he -- no, no we’re using this, we’re using this.  So, -- and that started it, you know, with New England -- where, you know, they come up with an idea and I just, you know, throw it down on paper and give them a few examples and then they pick one that they like and I give a couple of more examples in that direction and then it gets settled on and you ink up a label.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   So, how quick is it from okay, we have this new beer coming out to we need a label and it becomes a label?

Craig:             (Laughter) Oh, that’s the cause of a lot of stress sometimes. 

Because, you know, I mean I’ve gotten -- I’ll be at home and I’ll get a phone call or a text message just saying hey, did anyone talk to you about a beer we’re putting on in about two hours?  And I’m like wait, what?  You want a label in 20 minutes?  All right, or, you know hey, you know, later this year in -- eight months we’re...

Yeah, so I’ve done labels in literally 20 minutes for this place where, you know, I’ll do it, I’ll scan it at home, I’ll email it in and then I come to work and it’s there on the tap handle.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Oh cool.  Someone managed to print it out and make it a thing -- good job, yeah.

Craig:              And then you got to roll up on somebody yeah, a little more warning next time.  Okay, thanks.  You know but then there’s stuff you get, you know, plenty of time and -- you get to, you know, really work on it and make it something that’s just -- you hope is just going to make people just go yeah.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Yeah, because I like your website because you have the early etchings - thatcraigguy.com - of RedRum I feel and then Weiss Trash.

Craig:              Yeah, I mean the labels and stuff I wanted to especially on my websites and since I finally got around to doing that --- it took me long enough.  But just to show people.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Well, every artist I have talked to have the idea like their website, like it always is like the last thing and say I had this project, I work on this, I work on that -- I haven’t touched my website in six months but I haven’t put down the pen or the pad so yeah, it’s pretty common.

Craig:              Yeah, I had, you know, I had all these original either pencil sketches or just, you know, like just plain old black and white pen and ink drawings of these labels and if people see them, you know, they see the full color label and I just wanted to show them, you know, what it looked like the first time it ever manifested in this world.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Right and how was the growing pains of like the wrap of the can and like trying to figure that whole like -- because it’s not a traditional canvas?

Craig:              That’s pretty much -- I mean that’s, you know, with computers nowadays I can just draw something just on paper and then scan it and then just tweak it in like Photoshop just to size or get a size template of a label or a can wrap.  And then just blow that up so it’s big enough then I can actually work on it so then when you drop it down, you know, cut it by 50% and it shrinks to, you know, it’s back to its normal size and everything works. 

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   What was it the first time like it came off -- you saw the label on the can?

                                  Some of the NEBCO Family.

                                 Some of the NEBCO Family.

Craig:              I still -- I’m -- I still get weirded out if I’m in a store and like there’s a can of beers sitting there and I go oh man, I did that label, that’s so weird. It’s just -- I don’t get it yet.  It’s just weird. 

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Well, yeah I’m just a patron here but I mean I think that your vibe, your energy I think is very fitting to the art and this place, you’re very -- you’re almost like a part of the -- almost like a human logo I think for New England.

Craig:              Awesome.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Right, I mean because -- yeah, you’re doing the labels, you’re in the back, you’re in the front, it depends on what day of the week where you’re at and you’re just -- yeah, you’re kind of part of the fixture.

Craig:              It’s all -- I mean, it’s all love.  I mean they make beer here that I actually drink, you know.  And everybody here is real close to being family, you know, there’s a lot of love here for -- between, you know, the brewers and the front of the house staff and the owners and, you know the business guys and all that stuff.  I’m talking like it’s a huge corporation.  There’s like ten of us here.  But yeah, and it’s, you know, and it’s just all about passion and love because there’s love for the product, there’s love for the people and there’s that passion and that love for just creating.  That’s kind of what I do whether it’s writing or drawing or hell, you know, cooking on really awesome chili.  You’re making it.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   But you also do poems and stories.  


Craig:              Yeah like I said I’ve always, you know, I used to be a newspaper writer and a copy writer for websites and all that and just for fun I write and I don’t know, I started writing really twisted little children’s poems, you know, they were nice and sing-songy and everything -- but, you know, it always ended in death and horrible destruction and --

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Johnnie, falls down a well.

Craig:              -- oh yeah, and that’s the least -- that’s the most pleasant thing.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Yeah, right.

Craig:              Then I just started illustrating those and then I, you know, what do you do next?  And I thought well, you know, we’re in an age now where you can -- you don’t have to go to a publisher.  You don’t have to get a, you know, literary agent.  You just put it out yourself so I just went online, did some shopping, we looked around, found some self-publishing sites, printed up my own books, sell them myself.  Yeah, I have fun with it you know.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Yeah, I think for music and art, I think the distribution model nowadays is so much different

Craig:              When I first started doing it there was nothing and I would, you know, go down to the coffee shop, I would, you know, spend, you know -- I knew I was just blowing money but you get these little books printed out, little chat books and you sell them and stuff like that.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Color copies were like a 1.50 a page, now it’s like 10 cents.

Craig:              Yeah, now I mean I can market my books almost 300% and sell them for $10 dollars which is still doable -- I feel fine selling it for ten bucks but, you know, that’s with mark up and I’m like all right, cool.  I can live with that and not feel like a scumbag.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Yeah.  It’s amazing just music-wise, bands -- they’ll play anywhere.  Like they have the idea to do a side project and be like oh, we made a record and it's like oh yeah, okay.  That’s pretty amazing.

Craig:              No, and you get something simple like, you know, garage band and then you get sound cloud and stuff and you can sit and home and make whatever you want and drop it on the web and done.  All these people get it.  That’s cool. 

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Yeah.  I mean the -- not GoDaddy - that's for  domains but there is the other one where you could just send your to -- CD Baby, that was the big one and now it’s Band Camp, you know, and -- I used to manage a band and we got signed and it was really -- it was just kind of like somebody helped offset the cost but nowadays you just do whatever you want.  Even iTunes originally was a ball buster.  You couldn’t get a song on iTunes now, you know -- because you had to have an album, had to be on a label and all this red tape and now Joe guy in his basement, you know, as long as they get their 95 cents of your dollar they don’t care.  They’re like sweet.  Yeah, I’ll take,  it’s like the pick out a  penny drawer like all right, we’ll take as many pennies as we can get.

Craig:              Right.

                                     The original hand labelled Gandhi Bot can

                                     The original hand labelled Gandhi Bot can

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   That’s great.  So, Gandhi-Bot, I have to ask --

Craig:              Okay.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   -- that was a huge -- that was a bummer and now to me was like the worst thing ever because when you talk about it - because the reason it was a kick ass guy, what better robot  - Gandhi and then for it to be flipped on its head.  After like eight, nine years of being out so it wasn’t negative, it was like all of a sudden somebody hit the Google machine and was like oh this -- this offends me

Craig:              You know it was around for -- like you said like five or six years, I think six years.  Yeah and there was just I mean everyone was cool with it. Then from what my understanding is there were two websites that were based in India -- that wrote -- and I read them both and they were both really poorly researched articles stating things like, you know, that we were a brewery that was located in Great Britain and that had hundreds of employees. But the deal -- I mean what it boiled down to, there is a actual law on the books in India that says you cannot defame Mahatma Gandhi, a father of the country or the national flag or the national anthem.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Right.

Craig:              And this was seen as, you know, hey that’s not cool so then you put it up on these websites and a lot of people read it.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   There’s a lot of people in India.

Craig:              In the billions.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Yes.

Craig:              And plus, you know, people who don’t live in India are reading it so -- and it was all internet based and, you know, one morning everyone here woke up and somebody looked at the Facebook post and said wow, we have, you know, 25,000 responses to our last, you know -- simply, you know hey, this is what we’ve got on top and 25,000 people respond so that immediately struck, you know, the flag went up of something’s not good. 

And then it was just this barrage of, you know, this is insulting, this is, you know, detrimental, this is horrible, this is not kosher and for about -- for a couple of weeks after that it seemed like the end of the world, you know, like when you’re getting death threats over --you know, a cartoon image and, you know, part of it is cultural ignorance, you know. 

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Yeah.

Craig:              Didn’t know and -- so it was decided to just alter the label.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Yeah.

Craig:              Most -- everyone called it G-Bot anyway because of -- you know shortening everything and making brevity, you know, primary. So, everyone called it G-Bot and we thought well, hey call it G-Bot and you can’t show this image because that’s what’s making people really uneasy so, all right, alter the image, no problem. 

You don’t want to be that guy.  You don’t want to just intentionally piss everybody off.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Well yeah, that’s what I was saying before about the family and like the small knit group like that’s to your saying, there’s hundreds of employees, is like no.  I mean probably that time it was maybe seven or eight of you.

Craig:              Yeah, there -- I think there was eight of us at that time.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Right.  So, there wasn’t -- I mean, since the expansion there was a couple of new faces here and you see like growing has gone from eight to eleven but like yeah, it’s not a malicious thing and it wasn’t even -- you couldn’t get it anywhere other than the local area so was the idea that it was malicious, that was the hardest part I think for those supporters.

Craig:              Yeah, we -- there really wasn’t a problem with the law being broken because we weren’t an Indian -- we weren’t a brewery in India.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Right.

Craig:              If we were we would have been shut down.  If we were we probably wouldn’t have done the label -- because we would have known about this, you know, this law being written up.  There was another lawsuit which probably would have been not good.  It was brought on by a -- one of the many factions I guess of Mahatma Gandhi’s family and they had some very powerful attorneys and believe it or not we don’t have a corporate jet to be zipping over to India for depositions and -- what not so, you know, and no-one had a problem with changing it.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Right.

Craig:              So, when that happened and then it was this -- I don’t know backlash barrage of people saying, you know, oh you kowtowed at political correctness and blah, blah and I’m like no, we just -- no, shut up.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   That we make beer and we’re part of a community --

Craig:              Exactly.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   -- and we made -- like, and you can argue if we’ve made a mistake or just offended people like we -- like even if some people were offended you weren’t trying to piss people off and it’s a great beer. 

Craig:              Believe me if we wanted to piss people off -- I could draw some shit that would make you cry. And I won’t even be trying with that so.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Right, just pull it from the archive.

Craig:              Yeah, I mean that was one of the things -- I mean just me personally, that was one of the things that upset me was I’m watching the news and it’s on the news. You know it’s on, you know, BBC World, it’s on Huffington Post, it’s on the local channels and they’re talking with, you know, some elected officials up in the Hartford area and he is telling the newsperson, you know, was obvious the intent of this label is to defame and degrade -- and he’s talking about all this intent and I’m sitting there going you never talked to me, you don’t know me -- you don’t know my intent.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Where were you five years ago, right?  Yeah.

Craig:              You know when I was about 13 I found a quote from Mahatma Gandhi that I still hold to my heart deeply and he said – and I’ll paraphrase it because I can’t remember it exactly but he said -- or he’s quoted as saying, “If I didn’t have a sense of humor I would have killed myself a long time ago.  And I said you know, what right on dude and I thought how appropriate is that for this particular situation?

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Well, right.  The idea that his family would fly in a jet where he would not step foot in the jet and he was a man of simple living so we use it as a ode of respect, yeah and so --

Craig:              And now I, you know, much better man than me because some of the situations that he was in, boy I’d have been picking up a stick or a rock or --

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   He’ll never have cheeks to turn at that point and you just kept -- yeah, smiling and going on his way and so --

Craig:              You know so like I said for about two or three weeks it seemed like the end of the world and then everyone forgot about it and it’s fine and it’s been fine ever since.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Right, and the new shirts are awesome, you know.

Craig:              Yeah, and, you know, everything’s working.  It’s cool.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   You see how it’s kind of like it’s part of the history but yeah, just that was -- it was a weird time because these folks all of a sudden were giving their input and it was like have you been to the brewery, have you -- I haven’t seen you in line waiting for growlers - where you’ve been, you know?  So what they’re doing like it’s like five years ago I could see that with the first launch, like that’s -- and that’s the period of time but you weren’t anti-anybody and that’s the bummer of it all. 

So, how many of your labels or images have you made?  I mean because I think now with the expansion they’re putting you to work more on the drawing side and if --

Craig:              Yeah, I mean that’s been beneficial because it started out with, you know with the G-Bot and everything like that and then it just kind of, you know, hey, can you do this and hey, can you do that and now it’s kind of, you know it’s a solid thing so I mean over time how -- God, I don’t even know.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:  The New Zealand Hops one - I can't pronounce that one, I'll butcher it.

Craig:              Oh.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Yeah.

Craig:              Motueka Ma-Uke.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Yeah.

Craig:              Yeah, I mean there’s that, there’s the Fat 10er logo, there’s --

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Even that right because originally those were one and dones that was great and you’re like well, we don’t have enough space that’ll make that again so -- and now Dose come back and then -- very family oriented imagery.  If you haven’t seen that I think it’s a raspberry on the tongue which -- yeah, it’s very -- a very fruitful one.

Craig:              Yeah.  I mean there’s been a good chunk over the last couple of years and the assignments I guess have been increasing which is cool because, you know, hey, I’m happy making people happy by giving them, you know, solid beer and then to, you know, on top of that get to illustrate something and create something that, you know, hopefully will I don’t know get a smile on somebody’s face.  That’s also cool.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Yeah.  That to me is the foundation of the project.  I think it’s just as important I think, the imagery creates a feeling and has a sense to it.  The new one we were having beer, Cool Beans and I’ve read that that’s a great beer so I mean whenever I come back here  it’s like -- I mean you guys are going out with these like more adult looking tap-heads now so it’s kind of like what’s going on here before, it’s like a sticker, like a, you know, kind of -- so you guys are growing up a little bit but --

Craig:              It’s also spread out.  I mean because of label work here and having, you know, the beer community check it out and -- see it whether on a tap or a can or a shirt or whatever, you know I’ve scored other labeling gigs for other breweries which that’s huge I mean -- I love, you know, I, you know, will probably tear up if I keep talking about it because that’s really cool.  You know steady habit --

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   I was going to say a steady habit and then there’s the other thing.  I’ve numerised the other one, the Long Island Brewing.

Craig:              Long Island Brewing, yeah.  Gregg and Dan over in Long Island, they -- I did -- I’m doing some labels for them for a series of sours that they’re putting out called Grandma’s kisses.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   The possibilities are endless with that name.

Craig:              Dude seriously, as soon as he texted me that and he was like Grandma’s Kisses and I said I see lots of tongue, he’s like no, no, no tongue, no tongue.  I’m like come on.  How can you not?  He’s like no, dude you can’t. 

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Yeah.

Craig:              But yeah I mean that’s awesome that, you know, this donkey little brewery, you know, with eight schmucks who work here and, you know, and then I can go do labels for somebody else because they dig what I do, that’s really cool.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Yeah, and then you’re, you know, if you've never been to New England, they just started a monthly -- artist of the month series and what, about three or four months ago and you were the --

Craig:              Yeah, back in October.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   October of 2016.  Yeah and you were the inaugural, you know.

Craig:              Yeah, if you -- if you’re an artist and if you’re into the arts you know that it’s tough to get shows.  I mean you -- it’s a little easier now than it was say ten, 15 years ago, you know, you can get coffee shops and stuff like that but for gallery shows and stuff it’s ridiculous because you’ve got to go in and there’s usually, you know, a board of judges basically who, you know, and if they think your work is good enough to hang there then chances are good.  You’re going to have to drop some money in order to use their wall space and that means you’re going to have to jack up the prices on all your pieces and then you have an opening say and people who are friends of the gallery get the notice and they come down and you might have some friends who come down and then after that it’s in there for a month and honestly as much as I know artists, just from being one, not a lot of people just wake up one morning and go hey, let’s go to a gallery.

You know, a small gallery somewhere, you know, it really doesn’t happen all too often so it’s all about foot traffic and I’m sitting here one night just looking around at the walls going we’ve got framed pieces of our labels blown up, hanging on the walls.  Why not someone’s framed pieces of their own work here?  So I talked to Rob, the owner and he, you know, he gave me the thumbs up and that’s great so I, you know, probably hugged him and I said tell you what, I’ll Guinea pig it, I’ll take the first month and if it bombs then we’ll just drop it, you know, and if you want to keep going with it for a couple of months and see what happens and basically, you know, artists comes in, they get a month to hang their stuff on the wall and the foot traffic through here is ridiculous, especially when we’re putting on something that is really popular and I said, you know, you’ve got to do it.  You know galleries get minimal foot traffic, this place gets huge foot traffic so why not throw some local people stuff on the wall, who want to participate and have some fun with it?  So it’s been going since October and it’s been doing all right.

Just trying to mix it up so, you know, like what I did, you know, what I do in the fine arts, what I do, you know, for that, that hung up for a month and then the next month was, you know, some really amazing almost sci-fi looking paintings and stuff from this guy named Tom Drew and then after that, you know, there’s, you know, huge color pieces, you know, where the smallest canvas I think was, you know, 12 by 24 or something crazy and then after that is a guy who does scratch board where it’s all this --

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Drew.

Craig:              -- Drew Mullen.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Yeah.

Craig:              He came in here and just killed it with these pieces that were amazing and I mean you look around now and Stacy’s got her stuff that’s -- well, she’s got her opening tomorrow. 

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Now your art work is -- you kind of titled it, it’s the theme like flow.

Craig:              Yeah.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   So, how would you describe that to folks?

Craig:              Without looking at it?  It looks like bubbles.  It seriously just looks like bubbles but it’s just really small bubbles, really intricate, really tiny and it -- I don’t know.  I was asked one of my very first art shows ever at some -- at this coffee house in a nearby town and the woman who was in charge of it said, you know, you need a name for each piece and it’s the same pattern but it’s, you know, different pieces and you know, I said I’m not going to.  How do you name, how would you name them?  Just number it, that seems pretty medicinal and antiseptic and sterile, I don’t want to do that so she said well, you need to name the whole show then and I said fine you know what, every piece I do has a flow to it so I’m going to call it flow. 

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   There you go. 

Craig:              And it just stuck and every piece after and I was like yeah, remember it’s flow because it does.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   So, what is the medium, the -- because if you don’t see go to thatcraigguy.com, it’s -- one’s on a skull, you have it on a paintbrush so the base is, you know, objects but then on top of it is --

Craig:              Yeah.  It started out just -- honestly it started out as a doodle and the margins of papers when I was sitting in editorial meetings on a newspaper I worked for and no-one wanted to hear what I had to contribute so I just get bored to draw and I draw these little connecting circles and then I thought well, what if that got bigger so I did it bigger and I said what if I did that a little bigger and then I did it bigger and then I put a mat on it and framed it and it was just black ink on white paper.

And I did that for years and then I was trying to figure out how I can incorporate color in it and then I figured out a way to do that and then I had a friend who was putting on a music benefit, a bunch of bands and all the money collected went to an animal shelter. So, she gave local artists a birdhouse and said, you know, do whatever you want on the birdhouse.  So, I did this pattern on the birdhouse and then I said oh God, I got to put this on 3D things and I think two days later I was driving on the highway and saw a skull on the side of the road and I just pulled over, you know, I was like oh my God, a skull, this is amazing and then it was a deer skull and it was up on this rock and it had been out there for a while so it was bleached clean and I took it home and I put the pattern all into, you know, going in and out of eye sockets and stuff and just flowing over this skull and then I said well, we’re going 3D and then I did that and then I, you know, there were some other, you know, alterations and kind of an evolution of this pattern.  So, now it’s on, you know, stacked canvasses, that kind of resemble that typographic map with this pattern just going up and around and over and through and just rolling with it.

Craig and the most recent release of Barrel Aged Imperial Stout Trooper

Craig and the most recent release of Barrel Aged Imperial Stout Trooper

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Now do other folks work on labels too or do you have  first shot at label, how does that work?  As you're art curator here.

Craig:              I guess.  I think I’m it. I mean the altering of the Gandhi-Bot to G-Bot, that wasn’t me but that was a time constraint thing. Wherein they needed a label immediately and, you know --

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   They just cut his arm off.

Craig:              -- yeah, and just turn him into a pile of scrap you know, which I’ll, you know I’ll take claim for the idea.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   How many times did you get asked what’s the new name?

Craig:              Oh, yeah a millions of times.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   I love coming here but I have to imagine the questions are very, rarely unique questions you guys get asked.

Craig:              True.  I mean you also got to look at it from a different perspective, you can’t look at it as oh my God, I’m saying the same thing all the time. It’s pretty much oh my God I’m talking to a different person each time so technically you can look at it and say it’s not the same thing because you know if the same person was coming and asking the same question, they’ll get slapped.  I mean you idiot get out of here.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Over here there in midst of a new renovation and a I like the chalkboard door, it’s kind of the top ten of my most recently asked question. 

Craig:              That one --

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Cans are on this date. We can’t.  G-Bot is not sold here.  Fuzzy Baby Ducks...

Craig:              That was Julie.  Julie got so tired of answering the same damn question she just wrote everything on the door and then at the bottom I just wrote No because that’s the ultimate final answer, just No, straight up.  Hey, can I -- no.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   No.

Craig:              When are you going to -- no.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   I need to know -- no.

Craig:              No.  No, you don’t.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Facebook, yeah, it’s like every -- yeah, the chalkboard is a God send but even that your social media game has been picked up significantly. 

Craig:              Yeah, luckily the -- we have Facebook followers that will often say what we’d like to say --


16oz. Canvas - AJK:   So, what’s next, what’s the next label you’re working on?

Craig:              Oh.  What the hell am I working on?  Well, we just got a Fuzzy Baby Duck image approved.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Was that your image?

Craig:              Yes.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Is the -- there’s a rumored image that’s by the time -- it’s like a rainbow of unicorn type.

Craig:              All right, initially -- all right, going back a few years.  You said all right, we’re going to make an all Citra hopped IPA and it’s going to be big because this recipe, it’s just -- it’s this big IPA, it’s a hot bomb and it’s Citra so it’s going to be, you know, that orangy -- and this might be big because at that time Citra hops were just blowing up.  

And this was a few years ago so we said all right, well it’s going to be really popular with all the hop heads and, you know, all the craft beer, you know, jerks and geeks which are us and all of our friends.

So, we said well what do you want to do with the name?  And we were just sitting around and we were just riffing on each other, you know, and we decided that it had to be a name that you would be totally embarrassed to order in public so, you know, they were just horrible names being brushed.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Right.

Craig:              I wish I could remember some of them because they were just ratchet and I want to use them again.

And it ended up being Fuzzy Baby Ducks like someone said baby ducks and I just went Fuzzy Baby Ducks because that extra adjective just makes it even worse and then everyone said I wouldn’t, would you order Fuzzy Baby Ducks in a crowded bar?  It’s like FBD, I’ll have an FBD.  So, you know, we made it, we put it out, we -- this was in the old space so, you know, we put it on tap and we started selling it and people were crazy, were embarrassed to buy it, I mean say it.  So, we said all right, we won. 

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Yeah.

Craig:              We set out on a goal, make it embarrassing, you know, names and then it backfired because it got really popular and got hyped up on, you know, like beer advocate and stuff. Everybody wanted it even if they’ve never tried it and then everyone’s, you know, yelling Fuzzy Baby Ducks, Fuzzy Baby Ducks so we thought oh, crap so --

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Backfired.

Craig:              -- when we had to redo it, you know, we all decided this label’s just got to be just the worst.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   It’s like brony-esque.

Craig:              And, you know, it’s basically the visual version of being embarrassed to say.  So, it was decided that it’s got to be something, you know, if you put it in a can somebody’s going to hide the can.

So, I ended up drawing all these puffy clouds and on one of the clouds is a like anime looking unicorn with this rainbow shooting out of its butt and it’s curving around through some more clouds and sliding down the rainbow, our little baby ducks and then there’s little hearts flying around and it’s -- oh, it’s horrible.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Is the can going to be pink?

Craig:              I love it.  Yeah, it’s light blue and rainbowy and pinky and it’s -- ah, and the little unicorns kind of looking back at you as the rainbow shoots out of its but and every -- and I --

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   I hope you guys make hoodies and t-shirts.

Craig:              I brought it in and -- because, you know, the deal is, you know, you get an image and you send it into the state and they approve it or they disapprove it. My understanding is that if it’s approved you can put it on anything.

If it’s not approved you can’t put it on alcohol so you can put it on t-shirts and stickers and whatever the hell you want.  So, this kind of got submitted and it was, you know, oh, they’re never going to approve this.  It’s a unicorn shitting a rainbow.  We can’t.

And it got approved so we it was kind of oh, like wow, what do we do with it now?  So you know as far as putting it in cans yeah, it could happen.  I mean we have the ability to do it.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Yeah, we have the technology.

Craig:              Yeah, so when?  I have no idea.  So, everyone’s still kind of like you want to put on a shirt?  Wait, you can put it in a can? Do we want to put it in a can?

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   So, how long was it, how long do you wait, I mean how long is that period?

Craig:              That’s primarily the brewery, you know, that’s, you know, because in order to put something on a can it does take time because the canning place that we use, you know, they’ve got to get the image, they’ve got an image, download it into their system so they will print on a can and then it’s not, you know, an overnight thing to my understanding.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   But legally you can just send it to the government to approve it, like how long do you have to wait for that and you’re like here’s my rainbow pony.

Craig:              I think that was a couple of weeks.

Yeah.  That was a few weeks because I remember being at work here and Pat, the tasting room manager came down and said, it got approved.  You know we all just went what, really?  Holy crap. 

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   There you go.

Craig:              So, that was a big laugh.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Right.

Craig:              So, we’ll see what happens with that.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Let’s get it.

Craig:              But I mean as far as stuff going on I mean I just did the new Cool Beans one, I don’t know why.  I like the old one.  


16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Now there’s rumors of a calendar, there’s been some calendar photos which I’m not sure if that’s a goof or why is that.  The good thing about the internet is that --

Craig:              Yeah.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   -- you know it doesn’t let you get away with anything. 

Craig:              Like one of my best friends, every once in a while, like once a week we try to get together and just catch up and she, you know she fills me in on her kids and we just, you know, gossip I guess and just catch up and we always go out for, you know, food and drinks and so we get done with dinner and we’re always just bloated and -- but being, you know, self-loathing bastards that we are we always get dessert because, you know, you’re really full.  What else can you do except eat more?  And we always get dessert and then one day I was just like Diana, I’m so full and I just -- I flicked off the cake that we got.  We got this big slab of cake and it was just deadly and she said, you know, you just gave the finger to our cake.  Well yeah, you know, fuck that cake dude.

So, she said wait a minute and she got her phone on, she took a picture of me giving a finger to this cake and then she sent it to me and I thought that’s really funny and I just think, you know, that’s a calendar.  And she said what?  And I said yeah, I mean like a calendar, I mean like flipping off desserts or something stupid and then I woke up one morning and just said, you know, I’m going to make a calendar and I, you know, found a place that makes calendars online and I had her take some pictures of me yelling at fruit because that was stupider than giving the finger to desserts.

And I put it together and I had a bunch made and just thought all right, it’s getting close to December so, you know, I might sell like two or three, four tops and I’ll give the rest away as gifts and a couple of my idiot friends and all is good and to try and get rid of a couple of them, I put it up on Facebook when I was here at work and I got home and turned on my phone and I had like a 1000 messages or something stupid like dude I need one of those stupid calendars.  I’m like oh my God, I know a lot more idiots than I thought I did.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Right, I found a niche market.

Craig:              So, you know, I bought 25 figuring, you know, all right I’ll need a couple of dollars, get a good laugh and make some people chuckle somewhere in their veal pen at work and looking at me yelling at fruit every month and I sold out of them and I had to get, you know, another batch made up that night so I’m sitting there in living room I go, what the fuck is going on?  Oh shit what is going -- and then I got my phone going -- I got to order more, I got to go to the website, and it just blew up so I quickly had my fried Taren take other pictures of me.  I went out and bought a bunch of dessert, different desserts and then I sat at my kitchen table just giving the finger, you know, whoopee pies and cheesecake, cookies and it’s so dumb and I sold out of them too so.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Right, it’s like version three.

Craig:              So, now I’m sitting there going oh man, you know, and then, you know, that little part of my brain’s going, you know, all right, this is a new market.  Birthday cards where you’re just flipping out like a birthday cake or you know, or, you know, you’re punching, you know, a donut.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Yeah, just something that’s bizarre and hell, maybe some will go buy it. 

Craig:              Yeah, that’s where I started.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   The serious part of your portfolio, yes.

Craig:              No, yeah, that’s getting me some mad jobs on Madison Ave.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   But I think that’s -- I think that people -- yeah, like i said before, there’s a vibe when you come into New England, some breweries are -- I mean any brewery is very systematic yet to be this amount of the X and Y and perfect but some places are a little too stale and I think that no one say coming here is a stale place to be.

Craig:              I hope not.


16oz. Canvas - AJK:    Thank you so much.  Like I said when I started doing this project you were the person I hoped I could connect with and I think it was great, I think it’s -- this is one of my favorite brewers in the country and I just think that the art is great and I always look forward to it and I think it’s -- yeah, it’s special.  So, if you haven’t had a chance to come on down, it’s not a Jaguar Dealership, it’s in the back so just come on back and --

Craig:              Yeah, and follow your nose, follow the smell of the grain.

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Yeah. All right, thanks so much.

Craig:              Well, thank you.  I mean I appreciate you, you know, singling me out.  That’s really cool. 

16oz. Canvas - AJK:   Yeah, it’s going to be great. 

Facebook: Art by Craig Gilbert
Twitter: @thatcraigguy13
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