PRESS RELEASE / February 8, 2024 (Massachusetts) – Mass Beer Week returns March 2-9 with a logo designed by one of the industry’s own. Zach Manza, founder of Manza Media and an employee at Shovel Town Brewery in Easton, is the winner of the second annual fan-voted art contest hosted by the Massachusetts Brewers Guild. Manza’s original artwork will be used on collectible glassware available at participating breweries throughout Mass Beer Week, and across all promotional materials for the statewide celebration of craft beer.
Manza, a lifelong illustrator, took inspiration from scenes across the Bay State for this year’s Mass Beer Week design. The Mashpee resident explains, “the western part is a can, and then it spills over” into the South Shore and Cape Cod. He credits his wife and muse, Stephanie, with the idea to center the landscape on a spilled can of beer, which relates to his day job and fits in with his playful, whimsical style.
Manza works in the kitchen at Shovel Town, takes photos for the brewery’s social media, and also collaborates with the marketing team to design label art. He started as a line cook two years ago, and has since reimagined the Easton company’s branding to feature a shovel-shaped template on every can. Consistent imagery is more marketable than the outsourced, can-by-can artwork Shovel Town previously commissioned, and collaborating with their employees fits the vibe of a local craft brewery, Manza says. His bosses, coworkers, and fellow craft beer fans “love that kind of community, where a guy who works here does the cans.”
In January 2023, Manza also painted a full-scale wall mural inside the Easton taproom. The large, hand-drawn piece was a challenge for the self-taught illustrator, who likens his style to mid-century children’s books like Corduroy and Harry the Dirty Dog and typically uses pencil and watercolor (or, their digital equivalents on the illustration app Procreate).
Manza, who grew up in New Jersey, moved to Massachusetts after high school and has been a freelance illustrator ever since. He has illustrated many children’s books, including the Puffa the Lionhead Bun series, but publishing is a competitive industry with fairly low pay for artists, he shares. “In the brewery space, anybody with a creative thing will end up wearing different hats,” says Manza, who is also a musician. “I’m being compensated, and I love being in it.”
Manza’s art will emblazon social media fliers, glassware and T-shirts to highlight Mass Beer Week and help drive traffic and tourism to our state’s breweries. Sales of the collector’s glass—this year, 17-ounce Sidra tumblers—are a fundraiser to support the Mass Brewers Guild’s mission to promote craft beer in the Bay State.
Besides bragging rights, the artist received cash and a prize pack from the MBG for submitting the winning design.
Mass Beer Week runs Saturday to Saturday during the first week of March. Visit breweries throughout the state to get this year’s collectible glassware. To learn more about Mass Beer Week, check out massbeerweek.org