What happens when you’re a Brooklyn-based illustration studio that releases an absurdly, ridiculously, profusely detailed chart of beer? Unable to top this perfect intersection of high-minded design and sudsy, sudsy illustration, do you just pop a cold one and close up shop? Or do you put a fresh coat of wax on that handlebar mustache, grab another cronut, and get back to work?
Pop Chart Lab did the latter, doubling down on their design that’s been in the works since 2010 to create this 60-by-40-inch malty monstrosity called The Magnificent Multitude of Beer. That’s 5 feet wide. In fact, once the crew added in a whole new level of beer subgenres—like West Coast IPA and vegetable beer—the print ended up so large that Pop Chart Lab had to find a new printing crew capable of handling the job.
Yet at the same time, this ever-ballooning print is like an unintentional visualization of the last three years of the U.S. beer industry—we now have as many craft breweries as we had in the 1880s, with two more opening every day. The very scope of beer is expanding—even into the foods we eat—meaning if this trajectory continues, who knows what Pop Chart Lab will be printing in another three years.
As the company’s co-founder Patrick Mulligan puts it, "I think we can be happy at 60-by-40 for a while, but soon enough I'm sure we'll be looking for a printer that can print 100 inches wide."
100 inches? Try 100 feet.