North High Brewing Taps Stephanie Rond For Latest Classic Rock Themed Double IPA Release
If you’re a fan of beer, it would be hard not to notice the new collaboration on beer can art between North High Brewing and artist Stephanie Rond. Rond’s signature style can be found on the newly-released “Break on Through” IPA, the fourth in a series of classic rock themes, following “Stardust to Stardust” (inspired by David Bowie’s passing), “Final Countdown” (a Europe song that references David Bowie), and “Mr. Fahrenheit” (named for the protagonist in Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now”).
“Although we’ve worked with outside designers and artists for several can designs in the past, this is the first time we’ve reached out directly to a specific artist, and given them carte blanche on a can design,” says Gavin Meyers, co-owner of North High Brewing.
“Gavin and I have been neighbors for several years,” says Rond. “We’ve been looking for a chance to collaborate for some time.”
“When we moved in to our house 10 years ago, we were impressed by her garage which is always adorned with an assortment of her trademark artwork,” says Meyers. “With the launch of our classic rock themed double IPA series and the funky cans that accompanied them, a can collaboration with Stephanie seemed more and more like a good idea.”
Since the beer already had a name, Rond was asked to pay homage to The Doors, and carry some elements over from “Mister Fahrenheit”.
“That is where the cat (Dorrie) in the space helmet came in, a nod to the tiger in the Fahrenheit can,” says Rond. “The space theme also carried over and runs through several of the North High cans. The universe has been a theme in my artwork since 2014, so it was a great fit.”
For those intrigued by the art on the can, they will be rewarded with ‘fruity, piney and resinous hop aromas balanced by a slightly toasty malt flavor. The bitterness is pronounced without lingering.’
“It was an absolute joy collaborating with Stephanie on this project,” says Meyers. “She really did her research into our brand and the meaning behind The Doors’ song, and produced a can that is both unique, and a perfect complement to our double IPA series. Seeing her cat Dorrie in a space helmet as a carryover of the spacesuit-wearing tiger (from the Mr. Fahrenheit can) was hilarious.
“It was such an honor to design this particular can,” says Rond. “I used to listen to The Doors back in high school and it was fun to reconnect with the band by listening to their songs as well as researching them. As an artist, it is important to me that every element is intentional.”
Rond shares a description of the elements in the design:
-Blue Characters: I have used blue characters since 2011. They represent the “ghost of humanity”, which represents all of us.
-Universe: In my artwork, the universe represents the lasting, universal connection we all have to those we have lost.
-Cat: Dorrie represents a shout out to persistence and love for all living beings.
-Brick Wall: Walls show up often in my work – they represent a discussion of outdoor space, safety, and accessibility.
-Door: The door is a metaphor as well as a shoutout to the band. This is why it “floats” within the composition, rather than being literally anchored in the wall.
-Bubbles: a nod to happiness as well as fermentation and carbonation.
-Break on Through: From the research I did on the band as well as their influences, I concluded they would agree “Break on Through” is an intangible experience. Our experiences are all different, so the piece I created for you has nods to what we personally need to break through. It is also a subtle metaphor of our collective need to “break through” toward a better version of humanity, which is an underlying theme in all of my work.
“It was my first time doing a beer can, but the long and thin composition was a lot like doing the billboard designs I’ve done in the past few years,” says Rond. “Gavin was looking for a wrap around effect, that told a story. I hope the beer drinkers enjoy the beer and the story!”
Break on Through IPA is available at the North High Brewing taproom at 1288 N. High St., as well as dozens of local retailers, including many Giant Eagle, Kroger, and Whole Foods stores, Lucky’s, Weilands, and other places that carry local craft beer. You can also find it on draft.
It’s somewhat of a limited edition, available for the next couple of months before it is replaced by Stardust to Stardust, but it will return next fall. The 6-pack retails for $14.
Hear more from Rond about her work, background, and process in The Confluence Cast.
For more information, visit northhighbrewing.com.