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Bewery Vivant unveils 're-imagined' beer label with braille

It's an ale made to spark conversation about what it means to be inclusive.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — It's a beer made for its feel and it's brewed with Michigan hops and grain. 

For the past few years, Grand Rapids' Brewery Vivant has been the official beer sponsor for SiTE:LAB's art installations. It allows the brewery to create a limited release beer that ties into the art. As part of ArtPrize's Project 1, the people behind SiTE:LAB in collaboration with DisArt created an installation that works to highlight art from the disabled community. So, Brewery Vivant and SiTE:LAB worked together to come up with a beer that promoted inclusiveness.

"We kind of had this idea of just doing this real simplistic label," Brewery Vivant CEO Jason Spaulding said. "You know, not do really fancy art, but really kind of draw attention to the braille."

The Braille Pale Ale has its name in braille on the side of the can. The braille label is made possible by new technology at Middleton Printing & Label Co. in Wyoming. 

"Brewery Vivant understood what our technology could do, they understood that it could bring a multi-sensory experience to their customers," said Steve Middleton, president of Middleton Printing. "In essence, we made labels more human."

Middleton said as far as he knows, this is the first braille beer label out there.

"We have completely re-imagined labels," he said. 

The label design was also done by Not Design, a Grand Rapids studio. Spaulding said the Braille Pale Ale has largely been a collaboration of local groups and businesses. 

"Being a part of the community is important and this whole project was really fun," Spaulding said. "We are small enough that we can do these things." 

The beer can be found at Brewery Vivant on tap or in cans, and the beer will also be present at SiTE:LAB events. There is a limited supply of it, but Vivant is also utilizing braille labels at their 'weird cousin brewery' Broad Leaf Local Beer in Kentwood. 

Emma Nicolas is a multimedia journalist. Have a news tip or question for Emma? Get in touch by email, Facebook or Twitter.

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