News & Politics

Meet DC’s Guru of Beer-Can Design

His sudsy designs really pop.

Photograph of beer cans by Mike van Hall.

Ten years ago, Mike Van Hall left a law career to pursue his passion for graphic design, and he’s since become a go-to local for a specific skill: designing beer cans. We asked him about a few of his faves.

Ditto DIPA for Nighthawk Brewery & Pizzeria

This can was part of a larger project that included designing the restaurant. The overall idea was to fuse the spirit of ’90s skateboarding with an ’80s look. One surprising reference point: the restaurant where the kids hung out on Saved by the Bell.

Senate Beer for the Heurich House Museum

The Christian Heurich Brewing Company’s Senate beer flowed through DC from the 1880s until 1956, when the company shuttered. In 2019, the museum released a version made from info found in the National Archives. “I wanted a design that was modern but had a link to the heritage,” Van Hall says.

Clear Nights IPA for Aslin Beer Company

If this one jumped out at you on the page, that was Van Hall’s plan: It’s supposed to pop on grocery shelves. His visual concept was to evoke a cityscape at night.

No Backsies Wheat Beer for Aslin Beer Company

See the hands? Van Hall thought about the beer’s playground-­game name and decided to evoke memories of playing tag. But if it conjures something different for you, that’s great. “I want people to have their own interpretation of it,” he says.

This article appears in the April 2023 issue of Washingtonian.

Julia Rosenberg
Editorial Fellow