Amherst Label Founded 1978

Remembering our roots…

Back in 1978, labels were produced by setting strips of type on a photo-typesetter. The “galleys” were then waxed and pasted up on art boards. Black and white logos and other images were added. The completed art was photographed or “statted” to make films which were used to make plates.

Eggs cost 48 cents a dozen and Jimmy Carter was President.

An intrepid former egg distributor named Nick Calvetti was ready to make a decision that would lead to a $14 million business—45 years and two+ generations later. His bold step was supported by his wife and his son, also named Nick Calvetti.

Graphics circa 1978
Our throwback logo (left) would have been created in 1978 by first drawing the shapes in pencil then tracing them with a rapidograph ink pen. The circles would require using templates to guide the pen; a straightedge or ruler would help with the straight lines. The artist would work at 300% scale because photostatic cameras could reduce to 33% well. Flaws would then be less visible but the goal would be to keep trying until a perfect drawing was executed.

Rapidograph pens were used to ink logos in 1978. They needed to be disassembled and cleaned regularly to keep the ink from clotting. Images from Wikipedia

We will be sharing more about Amherst Label’s story and the customers, employees and suppliers who made everything possible.

Anniversary Celebration. We have a celebration of sorts planned for this year—an exhibit of customer art in the gallery we unveiled for our 40th anniversary.

For this anniversary exhibit, we will be celebrating the art of the can, the beautiful customer artwork used on our craft beer customers’ products. We will be collecting our favorite images—and inviting customers to submit theirs—and displaying the art and the cans in the spring with an opening reception and tours. More about the exhibit we’re calling CANVAS soon.

Marketing assistant Skylar Curtis and neighbor Andy Simpson experiencing the art at Amherst Label


What is Amherst Label up to now?

For our 45th anniversary, on April 20, 2023, 2-6pm, we are mounting an exhibit entitled “CANVAS” celebrating the art of the can—or more specifically—the label art ON the cans of our beer-brewing customers.

What’s the motivation for the CANVAS art exhibit?

Week after week, year after year, we watch labels go out our doors. Many are stunningly beautiful. And that is how the idea for CANVAS started: Recognizing the art of the label. The actual art that was created to be part of the label design is worthy of notice, display and appreciation. Just like art in a museum or gallery!

What’s the background here?

For our 40th anniversary in 2018, Amherst Label installed gallery lighting and designated an art space in our cafeteria. Our inaugural exhibit featured the work of notable regional artist Stanley Hallett, the uncle of the owner of Amherst Label. We had employee art exhibits after that and have pretty much been dreaming about a customer art exhibit ever since. 

Why CANVAS/beer labels and not all customer labels?
We focused on beer labels because we produce so many gorgeous beer labels. If this project is a huge success, we would love to feature other customer labels in the future, for example coffee, wine or specialty foods.

What kinds of art will be featured?

Before any selections were made, we set aside labels featuring beautiful works of art. Watercolors, oils, acrylics and digital art. No particular preference, just impactful art. We expect that the final exhibit will include many media.

How will the artwork be chosen?
The nominations will close at the end of February. Depending on the number of pieces submitted, the final art will be curated either in-house or with outside expertise. In-house, our marketing manager majored in art in college and has a history of creating and displaying art, as well as developing exhibits in museum settings. She’s getting lots of input from the Al-team but none of us would ever want to disappoint a customer. So if we have to make tough decisions, we are prepared to bring in an outside art consultant to help jury the entries.

Whose art will be featured?
We started with a few of our favorites but mostly we are asking customers to submit their proudest pieces.

How big is the CANVAS exhibit?

The final presentation will include 15+ framed reproductions of the original artworks.

What else will be on display?

In addition to presenting the art in frames on the wall, the actual cans will also be displayed. So along with high-resolution art files, we will be collecting the customers’ products. Demonstrating our longtime motto, “Every label tells a story,” the background on each piece and each artist will also be shared.

What can attendees expect at the opening reception on Thursday, April 20?

In addition to the Art Opening and unveiling of the CANVAS exhibit, the bar will be open for tastings of the various beers. We are delighted to have a professional bartender on our staff—Sherri Edwards, our Customer Service Manager. She will be running a carefully-monitored but fun tasting. Other refreshments, tours of the facility and maybe a few surprises are also planned.

Who is invited to attend the opening?
The exhibit will feature beer labels from all over the Northeast and we are very much hoping that customers, artists and colleagues will join us. Memberships of the NH, ME, MA, VT, NY, RI and CT brew associations will be invited. Our employees, their families, neighbors, community members and press will be invited to attend by RSVP. Members of the Greater Merrimack Souhegan Valley Chamber of Commerce are also on the guest list.

If I can’t get to the opening, could I get another chance to see the exhibit?

Yes, the exhibit will be up at least until the fall of 2023 and we would be happy to host guests by appointment. Email to arrange a visit.

How do I submit art to be considered for CANVAS?

During February, Email and send an image of the label. That will start the process. From there, we need to be sure we have the artist’s blessing and then we will need contact information for the customer and artist. We will need a high-res file of the art. And eventually we will need a can for display and potentially a supply to share at the opening tastings.