Diamond Knot is partnering with APEX Art Culture Center to mix APEX’s Dogtown Collection artwork with its beer cans. (Photo provided by Diamond Knot Brewing Company)

Diamond Knot is partnering with APEX Art Culture Center to mix APEX’s Dogtown Collection artwork with its beer cans. (Photo provided by Diamond Knot Brewing Company)

Diamond Knot Brewing taps Everett’s APEX to add street art to beer cans

The Mukilteo brewery partnered with the art and culture center to slap graffiti-style artwork on its newest beer releases.

EVERETT — Mukilteo’s Diamond Knot Brewing was at the vanguard of the craft beer industry in the Pacific Northwest.

They were brewing craft beer for more than 30 years when it was a nascent industry dominated by homebrew hobbyists. The Diamond Knot taproom has been a stalwart on the Mukilteo waterfront since the days when Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp were running roughshod on the NBA.

But with that experience comes familiarity. And with familiarity comes, well, maybe not contempt, but apathy.

To reintroduce its brand to a new generation, Diamond Knot has been tinkering with its look, flagship beer lineup and one-off recipes over the past few years. That includes a full-on logo and branding refresh a few years ago and regular releases of new specialty beers like its popular Lazer Sword, a New England-style IPA.

The brewery’s latest effort might be its most audacious.

Diamond Knot is partnering with APEX Art & Culture Center to mix APEX’s Dogtown Collection artwork with its beer cans. Through six releases this year, Diamond Knot is showcasing six urban artists on its cans of hazy IPA. Each beer will be a uniquely curated recipe created to pair with the artwork.

“Diamond Knot is a legacy brand and I think there’s a coolness factor with this artwork that we were drawn to,” said Todd Owsley, the brewery’s sales manager. “We love APEX and what they’re doing. We wanted to be a part of that.”

The latest release will showcase artwork by Black Light King, a Los Angeles street artist who hides his identity behind a luchador mask. The beer is scheduled to be released on June 20 and is available in four-packs of 16-ounce cans at Diamond Knot locations, Town & Country Market in Mill Creek and local Safeway locations.

Prior releases have included artwork by Seattle-based street artist Charms and AngelOnce’s Charlie the Angry Elephant character. Unfortunately, the popular cans with Charms artwork are sold out, but a few four-packs of the AngelOnce cans remain at Diamond Knot locations.

The APEX Art & Culture Center, part of the rebirth of the former Masonic Temple building at 1611 Everett Ave., has curated one of the largest collections of street art on canvas in the world. Most would refer to APEX’s Dogtown Collection as graffiti, but to Gloryanne “Baby G” Carswell, daughter of APEX owner John Carswell, it’s more than that.

“We want to change people’s perspective on graffiti and street art,” said Gloryanne. “It’s about breaking down stereotypes and making it more accessible to a new audience. It’s been so cool to see the artists humanized through this project.”

Gloryanne “Baby G” Carswell in the APEX Art & Culture Center with Diamond Knot Brewing’s Dogtown Collection, a collaboration with the venue. (Leland Dart Photography)

Gloryanne “Baby G” Carswell in the APEX Art & Culture Center with Diamond Knot Brewing’s Dogtown Collection, a collaboration with the venue. (Leland Dart Photography)

Fifteen years ago, John Carswell regularly visited L.A. to meet street artists in the middle of the night while they created their art on buildings, trains and more. After years of building trust with the artists, he convinced them to visit his family farm in Snohomish and eventually express their artwork on canvas and on murals in the city.

Eventually, John curated a collection in a gallery in Snohomish, before recently moving it to the new APEX Art & Culture Center last year.

“He wanted to preserve the history and the culture in a collection,” Gloryanne said of her father. “It took years to build that collective trust, but once they understood that he simply loved the craft and skills of the artists, they warmed up to the idea of showing their artwork in a gallery.”

Today, the Dogtown Collection of 100% aerosol graffiti and street art is on dozens of canvases adorning the walls throughout APEX and Kings Hall, a music venue in the same building. APEX also holds regular “paint battles” with two or three artists painting together at the same time in a competitive atmosphere.

Owsley said it was easy to convince the brewers and marketing team at Diamond Knot of the project once they saw the artwork. Late last year, APEX sent over about a dozen different art pieces and Owsley and others picked out their six favorites to be shown on cans.

Beer can artwork has become a seriously competitive part of the business as breweries battle to catch the eye of consumers. It’s important to stand out on crowded beer shelves, and sometimes cool artwork can be just as important as what’s in the can.

“Our brewers loved the idea,” Owsley said. “It was something new and exciting and I think they saw it as a way to reach a younger, hipper beer drinker.”

Following next week’s Black Light King release, Diamond Knot plans to release three more cans this year with artwork from street artists Ichabod, Saints and Skill. For more information on the beers, the artists and the Dogtown Collection, visit diamondknot.com/dogtown-collection.

APEX’s PTK Jam 24

APEX Art & Culture Center will host a two-day, all-ages celebration of graffiti and urban art. Preserve the Kulture Jam 24 is Aug. 16-17 at APEX, 1611 Everett Ave., Everett, and will include paint battles, live mural painting, live music, breakdancing, a lowrider car show and kids activities. For more, visit apexeverett.com.

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