I hate to get all existential on you, but this beer mat represents something more to me than just a printed coaster. I’ve long been fascinated by branding, promotional materials and mass production, and myself and artist James Price have been encouraging each other to produce some merchandise around our own artistic projects. It’s not a collaboration as such, just two people agreeing to travel in the same direction.
Above is my first beer mat, created to promote both Black Daffodil Press and my own Retrospective project, and designed to look as authentic as possible. They were printed by Mosaic Board Printers Ltd and look just like the real thing because they are the real thing. I had their minimum quantity of 500 for £50 + VAT and I’m delighted with them. There’s something quite surreal, almost fraudulent, about how convincing they are. My favourite fetishy detail is the copyright notice. Something inside me was absolutely certain that had to be curved like that, otherwise it would have been “not right”.
And this is my dilemma. I produced these to look as real as possible but they’re not real, and I’m not pretending they are. But they are real because they are printed by a company that does just that, prints beer mats, and they are 100% functional. It’s hardly a philosophical crisis, but I’m sure you understand.
The pictured example (above, top) was christened in The Rutland Arms, Brown Street, Sheffield, UK, and they will be making an appearance in various watering holes over the next few months. By the way, the staining is authentic. It’s Blue Bee Nectar Pale (ABV 4.0%) “A thoroughly refreshing pale ale, brewed with copious quantities of New World Hops”.