A local brewery has been recognized as among the best for its craft beer packaging.

Lupulin Brewing Company of Big Lake and Lupulin’s designer, Marcus Paulsen, won the top prize for best packaging design for a can in the inaugural Craft Beer Marketing Awards (CBMA) for Lupulin’s Coffee Shop Assault Vehicle.

The award, known in the beer marketing industry as a “Crushie,” was awarded at the CDMA’s virtual awards ceremony in June. It’s like an Emmy award for brewery packaging design.

Lupulin’s Coffee Shop Assault Vehicle was a platinum award winner in the category along with “Imperial Somethin’ Got Played In the Mail-Six Pack Board Game” by Wiley Roots Brewing Company of Greeley, Colorado.

Gold Crushies awarded for best packaging for a can went to designs by Second Street Brewing Company of Sante Fe, New Mexico, Sun King Brewery of Indianapolis, Indiana, and the Denver Beer Company of Denver, Colorado.

Paulsen watched the CBMA Crushie Awards ceremony life on a computer at Lupulin’s Big Lake Brewery when he found out his design for Coffee Shop Assault Vehicle won the CBMA’s top award in the category.

“I was excited,” Paulsen said.

“My fists were in the air, I was screaming and hooting and hollering,” said the man behind all of Lupulin’s eye-catch can designs and marketing efforts.

The label for Lupulin’s Coffee Shop Assault Vehicle was designed by Paulsen, but comes with a lot of inspiration from brewery co-owner and brewer Matt Schiller.

“Matt was very specific in his vision for Coffee Shop Assault Vehicle,” Paulsen said.

The label features what Paulsen refers to as a hipster on a scooter. 

The hipster wears a cool hat, a pair of Converse-style sneakers and pair of glasses, with a Trapper Keeper over his shoulder and a cup of coffee in a to-go cup raised in one hand. A gray cat rides on the front fender of the scooter.

The design was originally made for a special release of 500 bottles, but was later redesigned for cans, Paulsen said.

The design has some added special meaning to Paulsen.

“The design for Coffee Shop Assault Vehicle was the first one I did after coming on full-time here at the brewery,” Paulsen said.

Paulsen has been with Lupulin Brewing Company as the company’s designer since the brewery launched in April 2015.

He met owners Schiller and Jeff Zierdt at an initial investors meeting in a garage prior to the brewery’s opening.

He arrived at the meeting with a design in hand that would eventually become the brewery’s logo.

“I was working as a graphic designer in Elk River for 17 years and had a love for can design. I always wanted my art on a can, and when a friend of mine told me about the investors meeting, I decided to go,” Paulsen said.

Paulsen first looked at Lupulin Brewing Company as a means to supplement his income as a freelance graphic designer. That opportunity grew into a part-time job.

“We grew to much for it to be a part-time job, which led to me being offered a full-time opportunity,” he said.

Paulsen says he has been given a lot of creative freedom, which has resulted in some very creative can designs for Lupulin products.

That includes what might be his favorite design for the Lupulin-brewed IPA, Fashion Mullet.

Paulsen eyes a 2021 return to the CDMAs- and a second Crushie- with Fashion Mullet’s can for the beer described by Lupulin as “Business in the front, party in the rear.”

Reach Jeff Hage at jeff.hage@ecm-inc.com

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