Can you read this mysteriously coded beer label?: Page 2 of 2

Rick Lingle in Labels on July 05, 2016

If you need a hint: Mike the beer expert also happens to work in the printing industry and therefore had a special appreciation of the label as did I. As an aside, he also directed my choosing Mr. Blue over Mr. Orange as the lead image by informing me that blue print, such as the neck labels, is much harder “to get right” than orange.



The answer: The CMYK "code" stands for Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Key (black) used for subtractive four-color process printing. The numbers signify the level of each color needed to produce the desired color, which in this case was blueberry.  Above you can also see the coding for Mr. Orange; every bottle has a neck label of the corresponding color.

I thought that was clever served with a strong flavor of printing terminology. Let us know what you think—feel free to comment below.

According to Norup Hellener, the line was bottled and labeled in Europe and launched simultaneously there and in the U.S. over the past three to four months.

“The labels do change a lot for the U.S. market,” she answered in response to our question. “On the European label, the front is clean with only the artwork. On the U.S. version, we need to put all the descriptions, net content, beer style etc., on front of the label. This is due to law requirements, but also because the whole ‘Government Warning’ field takes so much space it fills out the entire back label.

“Mr. White [shown below ] is quite different in style, while all the others share more similarities.”


Pure white therefore has zeroes for CMYK so TO ØL art director Kasper Ledet, who designs all the brewery's labels, chose instead to show on the label its position relative to Mr.Blue and Mr.Blonde on a color spectrum.

"The utility of the CMYK codes is used as a self-reference to the graphic design, which all label work is," Ledet explains.


There’s also an additional mystery—the inspiration behind the literally colorful names. Hint: It’s from a 1992 crime thriller.

Want another hint?  The film was the feature-length debut of director and writer Quentin Tarantino.

Before we answer that (below), we wanted to know what the brewer’s name, TO ØL, means.

“It means ‘Two Beers,’” explains Norup Hellener. “Danish ØL is similar to the word ale. Since Tore and Tobias founded the company, it's also an abbreviated adaption of TOres and TObias ØL, so ‘TO ØL’—Two founders, two beers.”  

As to the origination of the colorful cast of label "characters"? “We wanted to do a themed range of beers inspired by the movie Reservoir Dogs,” says Norup Hellener. You can find more information at



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