Detroit’s Atwater Brewery Adds New Beers, Tony Roko-Designed Labels


Detroit’s Atwater Brewery next month will introduce three new flavors — a grapefruit session ale, a rye malt, and an imperial bock — along with new branding designed by Detroit artist Tony Roko.

“We’ve been all about Detroit since we brewed our first German-styled lagers 18 years ago and said we wanted to ‘bring Detroit everywhere,’” says Mark Rieth, owner of Atwater Brewery. “We’re now doing that with distribution in 27 states and Canada and still growing. Now we’re focused on making sure people remember us and think about us first, and that’s what these new labels are intended to do.”

Roko, who’s created commissioned pieces for Lady Gaga, Jay Leno, and Ford Motor Co., among others, says his relationship with Atwater began five months ago.

“What started as a single painting for one label for just 40 cases of beer five months ago has turned into designing 26 labels,” Roko says.

The Ferndale-based branding agency Driven Solutions worked with Atwater and Roko on the theme and packaging.

“Each beer has its own unique personality and profile, so we proposed the idea of creating a character for each beer in the portfolio,” says Brian Cusac, principal and chief creative officer of Driven Solutions. “The most important thing a craft brewer can offer a customer is authenticity. We feel that Atwater provides this in spades by staying true to the types of beers they like to make and by never forgetting their Detroit roots.”

Atwater’s new brand theme is “Atwater Brewery. Born in Detroit. Raised Everywhere.” The three new beers include Going Steady IPA, a grapefruit session ale; Corktown Rye IPA, a spicy and sweet aromatic rye malt with a caramel backbone; and Tunnel Ram, an imperial bock.

The beers will be available at craft brew retailers and at Atwater in the Park in Grosse Pointe Park and Atwater Biergarten and Tap House in Detroit. Rieth says the brewery is set to open their second biergarten and tap house in Grand Rapids next year.