Bennington brewer takes bronze in global brewing magazine label design contest

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Bennington brewer takes bronze in global brewing magazine label design contest

Sat, 06/27/2020 - 3:00am -- tim

Brew Your Own Magazine hosts the largest home brew label competition in the world. This year they received hundreds of labels from all over the world to include entries from over a dozen countries! Will Gardner, local brewer, was the only American Home Brewery to place in the top 4 with a Bronze award for his Ascension IPA label.

Vermont Business Magazine Will Gardner has been home brewing for nearly a decade and was the Head Brewer at a popular Bennington, Vermont, Brew Pub for 5 years. He has won awards for what goes inside the bottle/can, 2018 Great International Beer Competition 1st Place & 2nd Place awards and 2 Silver Medals at the Beer Wars 2018 competition, but this is a first for what goes on the outside.

“I have been designing labels for a while now and my skills have increased over the past few years. I entered a few labels on a whim and was pleasantly surprised to learn that I took bronze and was the only American Home Brewery to place” Will said.

There was some rather stiff competition as well with the most ever entries received for the popular competition. Additionally, there were entries from over a dozen countries.

In the July/August Issue in which the magazine announced the winners stated, “Maybe it was the quarter-century anniversary but whatever it was, this year’s label contest drew more high-quality entries from home brewers than we have ever received before. And they weren’t just from here in the States either. It’s fair to say, the BYO Label Contest has truly gone international in its 25th year. Each of the top three winners were foreign entries — and of the 18 winning labels published over the next few pages, seven countries are represented. That is definitely a first.” 

“This was the first ever competition for label design that I have entered”, said Will. “When I develop a beer recipe it all starts with a feeling or concept, that transitions to a beer style and what ingredients to utilize. Then the thought process shifts to the label design and how to capture the spirit of the concept, recipe, and branding to complete the total package”.

Will has shifted his focus to his home brewery, Passion Brewing Company, based in Hoosick Falls. It is his hope to open a commercial brewery at some point but the current Covid-19 crisis has slowed that progress. Will is also known for organizing the popular home brew festivals to include the Summer HomeBrew Festival, Winter Home Brew Festival, and the newly created Fall HomeBrew Festival slated for October 17 of this year at the Bennington Brush site in Bennington.

“Being a home brewer and then a professional brewer, I have always tried to shed a light on all the incredible brewers we have here locally. I started the home brew festivals as a way to allow local brewers to pour their creations to the masses and get tremendous feedback on them. When brewing professionally, I would often have local brewers come in and brew as a way to further their experience and education”. 

As for the label, Will says, “The Ascension label has deep meaning to me and represents growth, both personally and professionally. I really love the way it came out. It was inspired by attempting to ascend to a new level of brewing both creatively and with specific ingredients (malt and yeast selection). I have been tweaking a New England IPA recipe for some time and was able to take it to the next level. I have always loved space as well so the marriage of idea, ingredients, and design really came together to produce an award winning label”.

You can view the full label in the Brew Your Own Magazine July/August issue, at Will’s website,, or on his Facebook Page. 

(Bennington, Vermont) – ​