Mankato artist selected to design Surly Brewing’s Darkness label

Mankato artist selected to design Surly Brewing’s Darkness label

MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — After pouring over the work of dozens of artists, Minneapolis’ Surly Brewing Company has selected a local artist for a big opportunity.

”I love monsters. I love drawing monsters, I draw all sorts of scale slimey things,” said Mankato artist Justin Bergo.

Bergo’s talent and a passion for all things scary makes him Surly Brewing Company’s pick for their 2021 Darkness Artist.

Each year, Surly searches for a new artist to design a label for one of their most popular beers, a Russian imperial stout called Darkness.

“When the beer first was released, it was released in growlers only. When it came time to put it in a bottle, the company owner, Omar, decided that he’d like to have some local artists make the label for the bottle. The first bottle label ended up having a monster on it. Then for the years after that it sort of became whoever ran into Omar at a party and said they wanted to draw the label, he would do that, but we formalized it,” explained Lead Designer at Surly Brewing Company, Michael Berglund.

Since 2007, a new local artists’ work is splashed on ‘Darkness’ cans, bottles, posters and more.

To land the paid gig, artists must send in portfolios along with the reason why they believe their work should represent ‘Darkness,’ — an opportunity Burgo said he has wanted since first trying the beer years ago.

“I got picked up by my brother at the airport and he’s like, ‘dude, we got to get some Surly Darkness’ and I said ‘what is that?’ We had some and he’s like ‘you got to check out the art.’ Once I saw the art I said I’m in — I have to draw for this. Ten years later, here I am; I get to draw monsters for one of the best brands in Minnesota. I’m very excited,” said Burgo.

While Burgo was selected for his previous work, he gets to design a brand new creature for the upcoming label. The public can expect to see the new design hit the shelves around Halloween.

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