Bart Kaminski: The Man Behind Your Favorite Beer Shirt

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You might not know his face or name, but you probably know his designs.

Whether it’s on your go-to beer fest shirt or a local brewery’s logo, you’ve seen his work.

That man is Bart Kaminski.

bart k hop hedz

He has been designing beer shirts, brewery logos, beer can labels, local business websites, and much more for over a decade now with his two ventures, Kollision Media and Hop Hedz Gear.

Kaminski said he was immediately drawn to the beer industry.

“My first beer client was Albert,” said Kaminski, talking about Al Kominski, no relation, at Pizza Boy Brewing Co. and Al’s of Hampden. “He had me doing all kinds of bottle labels, can designs, and other designs.”

Kaminski said it was then that he realized how much fun it was to be in the beer industry and wanted to find ways to get more involved.

Shirts, Hops, and Captain America

hop hedz

Kaminski created Kollision Media in 2010, but he long had the idea for Hop Hedz Gear.

“I would go to festivals and see all these really cheesy beer shirts,” said Kaminski.

You know the ones he’s talking about. They say things like, “This guy needs a beer,” or “Don’t talk to me until I have a beer in my hand.”

Kaminski not only thought he could create better shirts, but he also knew this was a way to get more face time with breweries.

“I printed off a bunch of shirts with my first design of the Certified Hop Hedz shirt, and it started to work on both fronts,” said Kaminski. “Not only was I getting more clients, but I was also starting to get a lot of interest in the shirts as well.”

When he first started designing shirts in addition to the beer tees, Kaminski also got a lot of experience working with a Philadephia-sports company, Philly Phaithful. Kaminski said Philly Phaithful is where he started to cut his chops in logo design.

Kaminski kept going from there. He designed more and more shirts, and if you step into a local brewery or find your self at a festival, there’s a high chance you’ll see a Hop Hedz creation.

There’s no surprise that the “She’s Crafty” design is one of the best sellers. Kaminski said it took off when he first produced it, and it has stayed in the top sales ever since.

“My best selling shirt is definitely Captain Hops,” said Kaminski. “I was just looking at Captian America’s shield the one day and thought it would look pretty cool with a hop on it.”

Another top seller and one Kaminski seemed particularly proud of is his Hops Nation design.

“One thing that I have always loved about the brewing industry is just how homegrown it is, and how down to earth these people are,” said Kaminski. “They are blue-collar people, and I wanted my Hops Nation shirt to portray that.”

Local Logos

Hop Hedz Gear is just part of what Kaminski does. As he said, it’s what allowed him to find a way into the industry.

Local breweries would notice his designs and tag him for some of their work.

“Zeroday is one of the breweries that helped me get in on the ground floor,” said Kaminski. “The graphic designer they had at the time wasn’t hitting it right, and they asked me to take a shot at designing their logo.”

When creating the Zeroday logo, Kaminski said he came up with two versions of a proposed logo. One he was excited about, and the other, while good, didn’t catch his eye too much.

“Surprisingly, it was the second logo that I drew up just as another option that they ended up going with,” said Kaminski. “After a few tweaks and some color changes, we had the logo they use today.”

Kaminski continues to work with local breweries. He designed Boneshire Brew Works’ logo, and when The Brewery at Hershey was gearing up for a fresh look for their cans, Kaminski was the guy for the job.

Kaminski also designs all of Molly Pitcher Brewing Company’s bottle labels and apparel.

Kaminski said his passion is in beer logo and can designs. Recently he started working with another semi-local brewery, Stickman Brews from Royersford, PA.

If you’re not familiar with Stickman, the theme of the brewery’s branding is in the name. Stickmen. This meant that Kaminski was going to have to start drawing by hand again.

“I took out my pencil and paper and started doing these stickmen designs, and they absolutely loved them,” said Kaminski. “Those are definitely some of my most favorite designs I’ve done.”

Kaminski doesn’t just work in the beer industry.

He’s worked with construction companies, Ginter’s Auto Body, local restaurants like Arooga’s Grille House and Sports Bar, Cafe 1500 and Level 2 in downtown Harrisburg, and other manufacturing companies.

But, as he said and is evident when he talks about it, his passion is in the beer industry.

Setting himself apart

Beyond his creative skills, Kaminski’s business model also gives him a leg-up on other design companies.

Kaminski differentiates himself by not only being the creative behind everything, but he is also a distributor.

He can not only get you a sticker design, but he can also work with his producers to get you the best product for the best price right to your door.

With Kaminski, you don’t need to hop around to a multitude of companies; he already has an arsenal of them that he trusts at the ready.

“I’m a one-man show, and I work with a lot of vendors,” said Kaminski. “The companies that I work with only work with people like me. I work with them so much that I get better rates.”

Kaminski might never say this, but I will. Another aspect of his business that sets him apart is his work ethic.

At any one time, Kaminski could be at festivals in Philadelphia, New York, Harrisburg, and all other points in between.

This takes him back to those days when he was trying to get his foot in the door into the industry that has embraced him. Now, you would be hard pressed to go to a local, or even non-local, beer event and not see his influence somewhere among the crowd.

With a myriad of festivals on the horizon, there are ample opportunities to check out Kaminski’s latest creations or pick up one of the classics like Captain Hops or She’s Crafty.

If you’re itching to get a shirt right now, you can always head over to his online store, and it will be delivered right to your door.

James Werner
Author: James Werner

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