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Newburgh Brewing Company’s Cream Ale Wins’s “Most Loved Beer Label” Competition

A local brewery vies to win an online competition for best beer label

Newburgh Brewing’s Betsy — future king (queen?) of beer labels

Photograph courtesy of Newburgh Brewing Company

Update (4/6/15): Newburgh Brewing Company’s Cream Ale, lovingly adorned with an illustration of Betsy the Purple Cow, has won’s “Most Loved Beer Label” competition for 2015. Congratulations!

newburgh brewing company wins beer label competition
Beer label champs!

Update (4/1/15): It’s official! Newburgh’s Betsy label defeated Dogfish Head Brewery by more than 233 votes! They’ve now advanced to the semifinals. Keep checking here for more updates, and be sure to show your support at’s competition site.

Meet the Hudson Valley’s latest claim to fame: Betsy, a purple cow that is bringing the Newburgh Brewing Company into the national spotlight. Betsy is the star of the unmistakable label for Newburgh Brewing Company’s flagship beer, the Cream Ale. This popular brew was already a novelty for being one of the first beers brewed and canned in-house right here in the Hudson Valley. And now, thanks to a beautifully designed label by Matt Bouloutian of Modern Good design studio, the Cream Ale is now in the Elite 8 of CNBC’s “Most Loved Beer Label Competition.” (More on that in a minute.)

But first, a little backstory. The Newburgh Brewing Company rose swiftly in the competitive world of craft brewing. It was just three years ago that high school friends Paul Halayko and Christopher Basso opened the brewery in a four-story, 160-year-old brick building near the banks of the Hudson River. With Halayko managing the business end and Brooklyn Brewery-trained Basso taking charge of mixology, the duo quickly evolved their company from being Hudson Valley brewing’s best-kept secret to making waves on the national craft brewing stage. 

Related: Why Newburgh Brewing Company Is Craft Beer’s Best-Kept Secret

Halayko hopes to use their success as part of the effort to revitalize Newburgh, a town that hopes to return to its glory days as one of the Hudson Valley’s best places to live. (Don’t believe us? We named it one of our Top River Towns in 2015.) Halayko and Basso hope to expand their canning repertoire with their critically acclaimed Brown Ale, but it’s their innovative Cream Ale that’s making waves right now.

Which brings us back to the contest: Though there is no physical prize for winning the tournament, it’s a matter of pride for Halayko — and he couldn’t be more proud of what the brewery has accomplished so far. “We were just thrilled to be put in the round of 64,” he says. “The fact that we’ve made it this far is an amazing testament not only to the label itself, but to all the wonderful support we have received.” 

Betsy currently faces off against Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale in the tournament’s fourth round. Newburgh is the last remaining Hudson Valley brewery in the tournament, after Shmaltz Brewing of Clifton Park fell to Pennsylvania’s Victory Brewing in the second round.


Related: Shmaltz Brewing Company Cheers to Chutzpah


Help keep the Hudson Valley in the game — and send Betsy and the Newburgh Brewing Company to the final four — by voting here. Fourth round voting ends on April 1 at 10 a.m. Good luck, Betsy!

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Welcome to The First Draft — a column devoted exclusively to all things beer. Yes, that’s right, from taste-tests to profiles of brewers (and homebrewers) to expert advice (hello, Craft Beer 101), we’re going county to county, city to small town to uncover all the sudsy stuff you need to know. Heck, we’ll even let you know which brewery has the coolest looking T-shirt in town. You can expect reviews, food and beer pairings, roundups, trends, expert advice, homebrewing, profiles, big beer events, best nights out.

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