A few decades ago, you couldn’t move for scantily clad women adorning pumpclips and bottles, yet today there’s – probably unsurprisingly – very little female imagery featured in beer design. Then we found Mothership, who’ve subverted old sexist tropes by featuring incredible, powerful, game-changing women in their branding. This is a brewery with inclusivity right at its heart. We caught up with founder Jane Frances le Blond to find out more.
What’s the story behind your design?: “Our overall design ethos is to be inclusive. We aim not to alienate anyone with our designs but to delight as broad an audience as possible. Our special “Extraordinary Women” series – featuring illustrations of women who have led inspirational lives – aims to be eye-catching and educational, introducing people to these women and telling them about their lives.
Talk us through the women featured on the specials range: “The women we choose to feature are women who are not hugely well known, but have done amazing things with their life. The aim is to give them a bit of exposure and share a story that might not otherwise be shared. We’ve shared/have plans to share the lives and achievements of women of a wide range of ages and races, we have women from a range of sexualities and women who have lived with disabilities. This is an ongoing series and diversity is the priority for us. Codebreaker, for example, our New England Double IPA is dedicated to Joan Clarke, a little known cryptanalyst whose work in WW2 in cracking the Enigma Code saved countless lives. Seeds of Hope, our peach pale ale, featured Wangari Maathai, the first female African Nobel Peace Prize winner, environmental and women’s rights activist and founder of the Green Belt Movement which has planted over 51 million trees in Kenya.”
How do you work with the illustrator / designer etc? “I do all the design for Mothership, as my background is in branding and design. We work with two illustrators – all core range can illustrations are by Atelier Bingo (https://atelier-bingo.fr), an amazing French illustration duo, and our “Extraordinary Women” illustrations are by the amazing Erin Aniker (https://www.erinaniker.com/About-Contact) who is a hugely inspirational illustrator who does lots of work for women and minority ethnic groups.”
Who else’s design do you admire? “As a designer, one of the things that enhances my experience of drinking beer is beer can design. A bit like records and record sleeves, I enjoy drinking a beer and looking at the can design. I love the illustrations on the Wild Card cans, they’re beautiful, surreal and they draw you in, I can get really lost in them (the beer is outstanding too). I also think Duration do a great job with their cans, their photography is really nice too, and they do some brilliant promo videos – there was one recently where they really brought the can to life by animating a flare in the design (https://fb.watch/3IFH76sse-/). I also really love the Canopy designs – they’re such fun, as beer should be!”
Apart from your own beers, whose are you currently enjoying? “I have my hands pretty full with 3 children aged five and under in lockdown and so perusing beers is fairly low down on my priority list. Instead, I subscribe to the fantastic Hop Burns & Black Sub Club who I trust to send me a case of the best beers of the month each month. Last month’s highlight was definitely a Drop Project West Coast IPA.”
What’s your most listened-to album of 2020? “I think I listened to more playlists and podcasts in 2020 than albums. Currently enjoying the Josh Widdicombe and Rob Beckett Lockdown Parenting Podcast. 6 Music is almost always on in our house, and if it’s not that it’s a Hey Duggee song or something like that!”
Reading / watching anything interesting? “Things I’ve enjoyed recently are The Queen’s Gambit, Industry, currently watching Back on All4, enjoying the new series of First Dates (shhhh!). Mostly easy watching stuff as life is pretty hard, I don’t need to be challenged by TV too! Roll on the new series of Gogglebox starting soon! Currently reading The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey which I’m really enjoying – a very surreal story of a mermaid caught on a Caribbean island who turns back to a woman from the past when brought onto land, all written beautifully in a gentle rolling Caribbean dialect.”
What are you looking forward to in 2021?: “Getting my children back to school/nursery. Having a moment to myself. Going somewhere that is not my immediate vicinity. Seeing my wider family. Not feeling totally overwhelmed by all aspects of my life. One or some of the above would be nice!”
Cats or dogs? “I have 2 cats so I’d have to say cats but I do also like dogs if that’s allowed…?!”
Oh go on then. Just this once.
To find out more about Mothership please check them out here: