My first international award! Mondial de la bière in Mulhouse, France has given my Spruce Moose label a Silver Medal in the History Category in their Design Contest. The Beau’s All Natural Creative Team also won a Platinum Award (Highest distinction for illustrations & packaging) and another Silver for Mutineer and Bronze for Mates with Dates and Oktobock.
After a good friend of mine, Jordan had his bachelor party in July, a bunch of us in Vankleek Hill have started to throw axes (not us in that video) similar to what the boys in Toronto are doing. We added a few twists, mainly a “Yacht Club” theme (naming our axes like there were ships, and the events are called regattas or cruises), and the fact that we were really relaxed about what kind of axes we could use. As long as it was a hatchet, we didn’t complain too much. We slowly started to see the gimmick axes phase out though.
I thought I would splurge a little on my axe and since we don’t have solid regulations (one guy throws this) I decided I’d buy a fibreglass axe, after throwing a wooded handled axe for awhile. Bad move, the fibreglass makes the axe whip around too much and it’s tough for it to stick into the wood. So the axe became a community axe for people who didn’t know if they liked throwing yet. People treated it like shit, whipping it as hard as they could and not aiming, it was left in the rain, and it was never sharpened…it was dubbed “The S.S. Shitty”.
Then we made a game… Captain of The S.S. Shitty. Throwers go up against each other with their regular axe, for one round, winner goes on, ties count as losing and 2 new throwers go up if there is a tie. But, since some throwers are better than others, we wanted to make it fair. If you won 3 in a row, you had to throw the SS Shitty against your next opponent. 9 times out of 10 you would lose with that axe, but sometimes if you had got the hang of it and your opponent sucked a little too…you could win with it. So if you won with the S.S. Shitty you moved on to a new opponent, just this time you had to throw with your less dominant arm (if you normally threw double handed you had to throw with one less dominant arm) I don’t think anyone had won this way…. except last Tuesday.
It was a weird day, I had 4 different people complaining about the S.S. Shitty (no one could stick it… was this the week where it was too dull?) I was berated by “Can we just sharpen it once?”, the idea was that you were destine to lose with the Shitty, so why would we sharpen it I thought?
I was up, I wanted the whining to stop! I beat my first 3 opponents with “Uncle Gordie" the hockey stick axe my father made for me. I had to use the Shitty for my next match. I barely won, but a wins a win… It was now my turn to use my left arm to throw. My new opponent was having a hard time, and I sunk it once in the centre and won. A bullseye with the Shitty? People were in disbelief. So we didnt know what to do for my next handicap. I suggested covering my right eye with something. It was agreed, an eyepatch! As soon as I went to tap axe heads with Stephan, my next opponent, I knew I was in trouble… my depth perception was way off. We threw 4 times and Stephen was leading, so he went first on the 5th throw and accumulated only 6 points in this round… I had to hit the clutch (a target above the main target which is smaller, can only be hit on your last throw, and is worth 7 points if you call it) I called clutch and I aimed with my one eye, threw with my shitty left arm, and jumped in excitement when the S.S. Shitty actually sunk into the green.
I won by one point! No one could believe it.
I was forced to throw backwards for my next match. Nothing stuck… but I was happy anyway.
So…try axe throwing, I didn’t think I would like it at first, but it’s super addictive.
The Spruce Moose (Pro Am Series No 8)
Probably one of the most difficult designs I have been involved with. Never worked in this style (etching, or whatever you want to call it). I just went in head first while looking at some old stamps as inspiration and influence. I worked on the plane for what seemed like 1000 hours. I used old photos of the Hughes H-4 Hercules (The Spruce Goose) as reference. Jordan (the Beau’s creative director) put some last minute finishing touches on it, I banged out a Northern Ontario background and we put a fork in it. Really happy with the final product… and the beer is tasty too.