Beer Labels

Thyholmer Pilsner Labels

As modern artifact few objects tell more about popular culture than the labels used to identify drinks. In this case it is beer labels from the Danish province of Thy in northwest Jutland. It’s a windy region surrounded by water and these themes are reflected in the labels.


Old (left, or top) and New (right, or bottom) Labels of Thyholmer Beer
Bridges are highly visible structures on the landscape, as are wind turbines. These regional beer labels consciously link several prominent landscape features that speak loudest to residents and visitors of the province. There were wind plants located at either approach to the bridge in the late 1990s when I lived in the region. Thus the turbines and the bridge are associated on the labels.

The old label is a simple sketch linking the water, the bridge, and the wind turbines together. The wind turbines are generic, almost abstractions, but the label conveys the bridge’s characteristic architecture.

The new label includes an outline of the Thy district, which is nearly surrounded by water. (Holm means island or islet in Danish.) The fishing boat now incorporates the maritime industry. The bridge’s arches remain, but they now become abstract. The wind turbines, in contrast, become more specific and identifiable. They are Bonus turbines standing on three-legged towers characteristic of the period when they were installed (see the photo at the top of this page). Unfortunately, the bright new label with the sharp computer-generated graphics is marred by the UPC bar code. The price of modernity?

The brewery is in Thisted about 50 kilometers north of the Oddesund, where the bridge–and the wind turbines–were located.