Collective Arts Brewing: Raising Creative Consciousness through Brewing

Matt Johnston and Bob Russell, Founders of Collective Arts Brewing, discuss the inspiration behind their grassroots brewery, which is dedicated to fusing brewing craft with the talents of emerging creatives.


Where did the idea for Collective Arts Brewing come from? Why was it important for you to help artists share their talents?


Making craft beer is a creative process itself. We believe that creativity fuels creativity, and we thought, “Why do the same boring label for every beer?” These artists inspire our creative beer making, but their work is also working to inspire creativity in our beer drinkers who are already beyond the mundane and ordinary.


We disdain the status quo; the more creativity in the world, the better. Profiling artists who are working hard to push their limits everyday, but having a hard time being seen, motivates us to get up every day. Our team is a big group of creative junkies and aside from making great beer, the art on the can is just another reason for us to do what we do. When a beer drinker discovers a new band or buys a print from one of our artists, those are success stories and what keeps us motivated to keep pushing the limits.


What artist(s) have inspired you the most in your life?


Matt: Never liked this question. There’s no one artist or musician that’s singularly made an impact on my life. Instead, it’s the collection of creatives from all genres of art and music that motivate me. I’m particularly obsessed with discovering new talent.


Where did your love of beer come from?

Matt: To be honest, I discovered my Dad’s coaster collection from when he travelled through Europe in his twenties. As he continued to travel, I asked him to bring back new coasters and bottles. I was inspired by the diversity in brewing from all over the world. Unfortunately, North America lacked that diversity. Like my love for discovering new art, I’ve always liked discovering new beer.

Where do you find the inspiration for your beer? Is the beer inspired by the art? Or is the art inspired by the beer?

We want our beer to be as creative, diverse, and authentic as the artists we profile. We take our new beer innovation very seriously and this is where our Collective Projects were born. Every season, we come up with a limited release beer that is our way of showing our creativity and a way of pushing ourselves. We want to respect beer traditions, but not be bound by tradition in the different styles that we do.

In the past, you’ve compared Hamilton, Canada to Brooklyn, New York. Could you tell us a little more about that and how you think Brooklynites will relate to your beer and your mission?  

Hamilton is an industrial city that’s been overshadowed by its neighbouring city, Toronto. It has creative roots that are fueling the growth of the city. Both Brooklyn and Hamilton have this beautiful mix of hard working blue collar, as well as creatives, that make for a raw, authentic, and inspiring place to be.



Collective Arts Brewing is officially landing in NYC! 

Join us at The Well for a creative collision of beer, art, and music. 8 mural painters painting live, live music, street food and a Collective Tap Takeover!