Want to share the story behind your custom cap or label? Email me.


The Slug and Satellite

This numbered non sequitur series piqued my attention: was someone cellaring a beer for 10, 15, and 20 years? And...is that a slug??
Yes, that's a slug.
Over in London town, workers at a mobile satellite communications company called Inmarsat enjoy their very own fully-licensed, on-site pub. (The English have impeccable priorities.) Named as a parody of the pub chain "The Slug and Lettuce," the "Slug and Satellite" has served thirsty employees on Fridays 5-9 for many years. In fact, some of the all-volunteer staff have been working the bar for over five years. Manager Richard Locke decided that some recognition of service was in order, and so he ordered some honorific bottle caps. With a hole punch and some safety pins, he turned simple beer closures into "Up"-inspired badges of glory.
A Slug and Satellite Five-Star General
When not at their Friday posts, the Slug and Satellite crew have taken to flaunting their bottle caps on their employee ID badges, garnering plenty of attention for the bar in shiny style. Congrats, hard workers of the Slug and Satellite. We doff our hats to you, your years of dedication, and your worthy cause!


New Caps in Design Library

Here at BottleMark, we've been hard at work expanding our little business (not to mention fulfilling orders), and now the design library reflects our all-new printing process.
Lookin' good, dawg.
White caps. Matte finishes. Colors that pop. All at the same ridiculously low price. Whether you're ordering from the library or creating your own custom masterpiece, check out just how good our bottle caps look: BottleMark Design Library.

We've also added a few new designs...
Our Brew Date design features the beer style, a barley graphic, and plenty of space to date your beer with a sharpie. Great option if you brew a lot!
Because you still like using sharpies on your caps.
New Homer Simpson beer quote cap:
Because it's a classic.
If I had my way, I would spend my whole day adding meme caps to the library. But for now, I limited myself to only one:
Because we're all brewing beer better than Dos XX.
Got a great idea for a library design? You know where to find me.


West 10th Brewing

Homebrewer James from West 10th Brewing recently made some interesting concoctions. He found a tempting recipe on reddit's homebrewing community that joins the IPA styles of Bell's Two Hearted Ale and Stone's Arrogant Bastard. The result?
The hops will betray you.
This one's going on my to-brew list. Try it yourself! Two Hearted Bastard

James also had fun researching and creating his very own Tripel recipe, dubbed "Tripel Barrel." Wicked cap for a clever beer, showing here:
Bang, bang, shoot, shoot.
Find the Tripel Barrel recipe and more homebrewing chronicles on his blog: West 10th Brewing.


North Bay Brewery Tours

James from North Bay Brewery Tours piqued my interest with this cap.
Turns out he and a couple of friends started a business transporting the thirsty to craft breweries in Sonoma County, California. Forget winery tours! Free lunch, lots of draft tastings, and even some homebrew education: a Saturday well spent.

Each day tour visits 3-4 different breweries. A sampling of some of the locales:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
Bear Republic Brewing Company
Broken Drum Brewery
Stumptown Brewery
Third Street Aleworks
The Beverage People (Homebrew Supply)

Fun photos, courtesy Scott Manchester for the Press Democrat.
North Bay's tour bus unloads at Lagunitas

The chalkboard at Lagunitas. Thirsty yet?
This is why you take a bus.
We like the way you roll, North Bay. 

With some magnets, glue, and BottleMark-made custom caps, North Bay Brewery Tours now have awesome (and affordable) "schwag" to hand out to their guests.

If you're visiting northern California, take the tour! http://northbaybrewerytours.com/


Backyard Bounty

Robby from Alexandria, VA created this beauty.
I can almost smell them!
In his second year of growing his own hops, Robby had a big enough yield to hop a recent batch. He brewed a wet hopped harvest ale, and while the wort was boiling, he literally dashed to his backyard and returned with the bounty you see here—with just enough time to snap the picture he used for the cap, of course. Don't believe me? Check out the photos on his awesomely-named blog Profiles in Pourage.

Robby completed the look with some rockin' custom labels.
All dressed up and heading for the fridge. (Nice book, too.)
About his backyard bounty Robby jokes, "Soooo holistic, right? From bine to beer to bottle cap." Bravo!


Joe Nathan's Homebrew

Jonathan Dickerson may be new to homebrewing, but he's already got some fantastic bottle caps. After a little fiddling with a photo of his carboy, he created this design...
Rock that carboy!
...and ordered it in an assortment of colors!
I love this concept of color-coding homebrews: orange for pumpkin ale, yellow for pilsner, etc. It's a great plan for the experimental and spontaneous brewer, and a lot of microbreweries do it, too. Joe Nathan can make whatever he likes, whenever he likes, and he's already got caps handy.

Which is good because it sounds like he's a busy brewer. For Joe, it all started with the wonderful community at r/homebrewing. A special pumpkin ale for his wife followed, and he's already brewed five more beers! Way to go, Joe. Welcome to the best of hobbies.


Roark's Honey Porter

If you've got a small farm in Bucks County, PA, and you've got extra-pollinated honey, what do you do with it?
Brew, of course! Chip and Shannon love their farm, complete with peppers by the ton, chicken friends, and three honeybee hives. When the couple first wound up with honey a bit too strong for normal consumption, instead of tossing it, they started brewing. Good call. It's apparently just the kind of honey you want for beer! So that's homebrewed porter with homemade honey. Awesome.

They named their porter Roark after this guy...
On three: 1, 2, 3....AWWW!
Yes, yes, I do think the internet needs another cat picture. Roark is a polydatyl highland lynx with curly ears. I'm in love. I just hope Roark doesn't bother the chickens too much.

Hot sauce and honey porter and an impossibly cute cat. Now that's the good life.
Check out Chip's farming blog: http://sherwoodtaylor.com/


Blank caps, magnets, and more, oh my!

BottleMark recently added some new fun stuff to the shop.

We've got blank caps for those of you without any custom cap ambitions. Fully lined white and silver caps for $0.03 each.
Our bounty is as boundless as the sea
We're also offering these totally bizarre bullseye caps. We printed a whole heap of these to help calibrate our printer. They're raw caps, so the design may scratch a bit. But they're perfectly good for capping!
Won't you give one a home? Only a penny each.
Our favorite new product: practically-perfect-in-every-way bottle cap magnets. At 3/4" they nest exquisitely inside of a bottle cap. Ideal for crafting or displaying your custom cap. Order a magnet for each of your designs!
Made for each other.
Crafting with bottle caps? Check out our new services...
If you don't own a capper ($15-$60 bucks) but still want the "finished look" of a bottle cap, let us cap your caps for you!
Uncapped vs. capped (definitely a crafting-only service).
Making bottle cap jewelry and need a hole for a jump ring? We're punching small holes in caps for our customers, too.

Go explore the whole store! 


Henry Sipos's Clever Caps

Homebrewer Henry Sipos recently designed these clever beauties.
Simple, streamlined hilarity
This cap is doubleplusgood
The awesomeness speaks for itself.


Shizmo Brewing Co.

With a little bit of luck, you should be seeing this cap yourself in the future:
Lucas E. Szymanowski is living the American (homebrew) Dream. Inspired by Alton Brown's Good Eats (and who isn't?), Szymanowski started with a simple extract Belgian homebrew. Soon after, the wife joined the fun, and brewing equipment took up permanent residence in the house. Three years and many Belgian beer awards later, the Szymanowskis are now in hard-core planning mode to launch their very own commercial craft brewery. Their graphic is even professionally designed. A hobby no longer!
Totally legit.
Why call it Shizmo? Well, sometimes those nicknames from old school days just stick.
Shizmo Brewing Co's Hibiscus Saison
What's brewing now: Shizmo's Oktoberfest label
So if you're living West Coast style, keep an eye out in 2012 for these beauties. Best of luck with the launch, Shizmo! May we savor one of your Cinderella-story saison's soon!
Website: http://www.shizmobrewery.com/


Design Templates are here!

If you're not quite a design whiz, or say, you love one of our beer style caps in the library but you're making a cream ale or a steam beer, never to fear: BottleMark's Design Templates are here!
Soda Shop Template saves the day. Whoosh!!
Now you can download just what you need to get your design started. Templates include: a blank cap canvas, a complex design with graphics and circular text, and templates of all our beer style designs: Soda Shop, Bar Code, Comic Pow, Heavy Metal, Graffiti, and University of Homebrewing. I've also added links to the (100% free) fonts featured in the library designs.
Complex template is complex.
The templates are in SVG form, which open in a number of design programs, including our favorite, Inkscape (Totally free, you say? Totally free, I say.)

Some basic tips about the templates:
1. Download fonts first, then download the templates so the fonts display correctly.
2. Some of the templates feature a thin black circular stroke that represents the bottle cap. It's useful as a design guideline. Set the stroke to transparent if you don't want an outline around your final design. You can also set the fill of the circle to a color if you want a background color.
3. When you're done designing, export your design as a PNG, upload the PNG on the BottleMark website, and congrats! You've achieved custom cap perfection.

Try them out: http://www.bottlemark.com/svgtemplates
Got design questions or requests? You know where to reach me.


Mr. Marko's Magic Bottle Caps

Houston magician Mr. Marko has a secret. By balancing a simple pen on a bottle cap, say, on one of his brand-new custom ones...
Card stock, step aside! Bottle cap business cards have arrived.
...he can make the pen spin around his finger without touching anything at all!

Mr. Marko Magic specializes in special event entertainment for kids, and he loves this trick above all  others. After explaining the fun scientific principal behind the magic, Mr. Marko teaches the older kids how to perform the trick themselves. They even get to keep their very own Mr. Marko pens and bottle caps so they can impress their friends.
Just for kids?? Dang it!!!
Here's his short video featuring his trademark trick. Can you figure out how to do it?



Darbarian and Sons

John Bossong III is the latest brewer to adapt an awesome label into an awesome bottle cap:
Home brewing since 1985? Now that's impressive!
And here's the label to go with these beauties...
See more labels at the Darbarian photo site
When it comes to design, it seems the Darbarians are far from barbarians. It's delightful medieval iconography—a phrase I never thought I'd say. 

Lesson of the day: put a dragon on your bottle cap for instant awesome. And it'll probably earn a post from me.

Seriously love dragons.


Redditor Gus Stathes's Me Brewsta

So I was browsing around reddit the other day (as I do...everyday...) when I stumbled upon this:

Me Brewsta
Not coincidentally, the internet discovered BottleMark. Again. (Didn't crash this time.)
You redditors out there reading this and eagerly awaiting your caps need to thank Gus Stathes, the genius behind this post. Hope you got some good karma, Gus! You've definitely shared it with us!
The official pic from BottleMark Photography Studios (i.e. fancy lights, milk jug, and an SLR)
An enticing Bitter Blonde gets the honor of the Me Brewsta. Gus describes it thus: "a sessionable blonde ale (4.2%ABV) that's hopped to the gills. I wanted something you can drink all day, but still tasted great. The trick with a beer like that is not letting the hops take over. I use a half-ounce of Cascade for a bittering addition, then throw 5.5 ounces in the last 20 minutes.  It gives the beer a huge hop flavor profile without being overly bitter." Hops...all day...Me. Definitely. Gusta.

Gus usually kegs, but he couldn't resist the cap temptation. Credit to him for the better idea of editing out the face circle from the original graphic (might change the design library me gusta, which, yes I make the meme caps, and yes, I think F7U12 is funny, and yes, I'll take your meme suggestions).

So in honor of our biggest customer base at the moment, I bring you our newest cap.

Thanks, everyone! I'm no longer lurking. Oh yeah, and...Chuck Testa.


Bootknocker Brewing Company

Gale Wagner of Bootknocker Brewing Company knows how to design.
And from the looks of the blog, Bootknocker also knows how to brew. Find recipes and more fun at bootknockerbrewing.com

Curious about the name? Senior year of college, Wagner signed up for a History of Blues class (wait...that's awesome. I love college!), and as they studied the quirky tradition of Blues names like "Blind Lemon Jefferson," he and his frat brothers were inspired to form "Mad Spank and the Bootknockers"—mostly a parody band, but they did play once in a while. This collegiate blues tribute now lives on in some really sweet brews.

Over the last 15 years of brewing, Wagner has also been drawing and designing labels, going from hand-drawn work to Illustrator and Photoshop. He's earned honorable mention in Brew Your Own's 2011 label contest for this beauty, the Barleywine "Eye of Horus."
Now that BottleMark has launched, he gets to try out his artistry on a new kind of canvas. Here's the cap to top off this brew...
Mythos meets Beer.
Love, love, love it.
Check out Brew Your Own's 2011 Label Contest Winners.

So I'm thinking...bottle cap design contest? Oh yes, my friends. It will happen. Soon. 


The Best Bottle Opener

Bottle cap collecting is totally awesome. They're small, colorful, unique, and—like little love notes carefully stowed away in a shoebox—the sole bearers of deliciously delicate memories, of Blonde Ales and Belgians once tasted, now gone. Check out our collection of commercial caps:
My love life, mounted on a magnetic board.
And now with custom caps, these memories can be all the more delicious. You probably want to preserve one from your order for posterity.

So how do you open a beer bottle without damaging the cap? The average opener bends the cap in the middle: a very unattractive result. So everyone's on the search for "The Perfect Bottle Opener." What does BottleMark recommend?

The simple answer: if you're homebrewing, use twist-off bottles! No opener required, and you get a undamaged cap every time. Only problem: twist-off bottles are really weak. A twist-off bottle has a thinner lip than a normal bottle (and bottle cappers grab onto the lip of the bottle with lots of force), so after two or three uses, the top will break off. Yikes!
Some homebrewers don't bother using them.

So...is there a way to preserve caps on normal bottles?
The best answer: The perfect bottle opener is the one that you have. Plus a quarter.

Here's the trick...
1. Place a coin on top of the cap (a US quarter is the ideal size). The coin transfers the pressure from the middle of the cap to the edged teeth of the cap, thus preserving the cap's shape.
2. Gently apply your bottle opener to two or three places on the cap. Gently, mind you! The cap should come off easily in your hand, without any violence, if you do it right. NOTE: If you apply your opener to one place only, you'll end up with a flared edge.
See the technique in action (both correctly and incorrectly performed) in this short video...

But if you've run out of change and the bottle's not a twist-off, try to find an opener without any sharp teeth to it (the wider, the better) and apply mild pressure all-round.

Some other cool bottle openers and techniques...
Klein bottle bottle opener
Mounted gargoyle opener (WANT!)
Key-style Churchkey, perfect for key chains. Lots of different versions available, from the ornamental to the disguised.
Ring opener
Credit Card sized opener
Winner for the most bizarre: Flipflops with an opener in the sole.
Winner for the most disturbing: The "Happy Man" Opener (who, from the looks of it, has more reason to be sad)
The "Sentol" opener, a most crazy contraption: push down on the bottle, and the cap pops off clean. Available @ bottlepal.com

Other people swear by using a simple BIC Lighter (cool video here).
Really. Just an average lighter.
And then of course, there's always your teeth.
The original bottle opener.
Clearly there's no end to the bottle openers out there. But as long as you have something and a quarter, your cap will come off clean!

Just...don't buy the happy man.