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


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.


Three Dogs Brewery

We've been printing lots of pet-inspired caps—heck, our first design, the "Happy Lab Lager," was based on our dog Mozi (yes, named after Mozilla)—but Mike Runkle's design tops them all.
The Hound Mountains: Samson, Cassie, Maya
Here's his story...
After 15 years of homebrewing, Mike decided to get the real goods and build his very own HERMS (Heat Exchanged Recirculating Mash System).
Awwww yeah!!! That's right: all grain brewing!
While Mike labored on this beauty in the garage, his three "loyal mutts" kept him such constant company that they would not let him work without them. Hard work deserves recognition, and so the Three Dogs Brewery was born!
The Loyal Staff, showing here:
Samson, Head Brewdog and Guardian of the HERMS

Cassie, Customer Relations
Maya, Marketing and Morale

You can recognize their silhouettes on the cap. Wonderful work!
You can learn all about Three Dogs Brewery, the HERMS, and what's brewing now for Mike on his blog: http://threedogsbrewery.webs.com/


Bridal Brew

What's the best wedding present? Beer, of course! To honor his sister's upcoming wedding, Aaron Ulrich concocted a special Bridal Brew and topped it off with this classy monogram wedding cap:
Simple elegance. I'm also a fan of the bride and groom graphic (available in a different version in our design library, thanks to Open Clipart, a great resource for designers. Woot free graphics!). A personal cap like this really makes the gift of beer memorable.

Congrats to the G's! May your "hoppiness" grow every day and your love never go flat!