Food Truck Photography


Food Truck Photography

There are few things better than stumbling on a food truck and eating a tasty meal in a unique location. Check out these photos from some recent food-truck photoshoots:



Project Recap: Photography and Storytelling For Craft Brews at the Zoo

We love storytelling. So when we were approached to the help the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago tell the stories behind some participating breweries at their Craft Brews at the Zoo beer fest, we grabbed our cameras and pens and just said, "Uh, yeah!"

Brews & Bites: Band of Bohemia To Bring Beer and Food Pairings to Craft Brews At The Zoo

Band of Bohemia is a different kind of brewery. For one, it’s the only brewpub in the world to have earned a Michelin star. That’s because everything they do - from the food, to the service, to the beers, to the coffee and cocktail program is elevated well beyond the typical brewpub experience. They also brew beers that are complex yet delicate, taking notes from the wine world by using subtlety and seasonality to accentuate flavors in the food they’re served alongside.   

We sat down with Band of Bohemia’s Director of Sales Dane Lewandowski to learn more about their beer and food, and get a sneak peek at two of the beer and food pairings they’ll be bringing to Craft Brews at the Zoo on June 16th.


“We are what we like to call a “Culinary Brewhouse.” A place where beer and food come together as a marriage, with a singular purpose to please the guest with subtle nuances of flavors derived from seasonality and simplicity. It’s about creating a sense of tradition, slightly obscured.  When you walk into Band of Bohemia, the idea is to take away what you think a brewpub should be.  Initially you walk into our parlor, a small space somewhat reminiscent of grandma’s house, and then into a much larger space, that has the feeling of openness, but at the same time a feeling of great comfort, like a friend’s living room. You are meant to feel welcome, to feel at place, to feel at home.”


“The beers we make are what we call “culinary ales.” These are beers that begin by thinking about seasonality and food. From there we can start the process of what is in seasonally and where we want to take the food menu. When we brew, we like to keep our flavors intricate but subtle, again thinking of wine and it’s nuances. As we are looking to pair our beers with food, it is important to keep this aspect in mind, this way we can now create that marriage that wine has always had with food by manipulation of flavors in the brewhouse and then going back into the kitchen and creating the dishes after the beer has been tasted. This allows us to be free to create that marriage of perfect harmony between food and beer.”  

“We don’t use a lot of hops in the brewhouse. For us, hops are a seasoning like salt. Too much salt is just salty and knowing how and when to add hops is a delicate art. In olden times, brewers used ingredients that were on hand within their environs, holding to the ideals that you can only use what is readily available to you, be it herbs, roots, flora, vegetables, or fruits. Hops came about as a mainstream ingredient many years later as a preservative and it kind of stuck with the masses.”

“All beer doesn’t necessarily go with food, it depends on what kind of beer you’re drinking. It’s not universal. Some people will tell you a certain beer goes with fish or chicken, which isn’t necessarily true because it depends on the sauce and seasoning. Chicken with soy sauce versus a curry will completely change the flavor and the pairings. Those are the elements you have to consider when pairing, not so much the main protein. We brew beers that intentionally go with particular dishes.”

Dish 1: Duck Rillette and Liver Mousse with Fennel Crackers & Pistachio Paired With Cherry Kyoto

 “Cherry Kyoto is a beer made with cherry blossoms, sweet cherries, green tea, and fresh thyme.  We use a little rye malt in the beer mash to give the beer a bit of lingering spice to the finish.  We then created the dish of Duck rillettes with fennel crackers and pistachio.”

Dish 1: Duck Rillette and Liver Mousse with Fennel Crackers & Pistachio Paired With Cherry Kyoto

“We go about pairing with this philosophy or idea… you take each flavor from the beer, in this case cherry, floral woody thyme, and green tea. We separate the ingredients and write down what we think would go with it. With cherries as a flavor we can pair it with fennel, tree nuts, fowl, game meats, some grains (quinoa, basmati rice), herbs and so on. With the floral woody thyme, well there are a lot of ingredients that go with thyme, more so than not. And green tea, which is very earthy and herbaceous, adds a nice accent to all of the above. Once we have a good list, we can then start considering dishes by piecing these ingredients together. We rarely double up on ingredients in the dish itself, so no cherries, or green tea in the dish itself, the beer and represents an ingredient to the dish and vice versa.”

Dish 2: Tea Sandwiches With Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Paired With Peony Starflower

Peony Starflower uses starflowers, or borage, which has an interesting cucumber flavor to it to accent a very light and delicate beer that we added some equally delicate white tea, or peony, that has a slight hay and honeysuckle note to it. Together with a really light malt base, these ingredients create a refreshing ale. We pair this beer with chamomile tea sandwiches, smoked salmon mousse, and cucumber. This is one of those rare moments in which we will add cucumber to the dish itself to truly bring home the element of the starflowers cucumber-esque quality. The chamomile tea brings out the peony tea, and the delicate smoke and salmon round out the experience.

Dish 2: Tea Sandwiches With Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Paired With Peony Starflower

“Sandwiches made from house made chamomile challah, with smoked salmon and cucumber. They start with little loafs of bread which we take slices of, so they’re a full slice of bread in miniature. We infuse a little bit of chamomile by grinding them in a spice grinder and making a traditional challah. The chamomile works very nicely with the smoked salmon, cucumber and peony tea.”



Now Hiring: Paid Graphic Design Intern

Matt Tanaka Marketing, a small marketing company that focuses on craft beer and spirits is seeking a part-time paid Graphic Design intern. The intern will work closely with the founder and lead designers on beer brands, events, and other projects. 

If you like working hard, creating content, building brands and alliteration... and have a passion for craft beer, spirits, design, and working in fast-paced environments, you should probably apply.

What We Do:
We are a full-service marketing and design studio built for the beer industry. We help craft breweries, distributors, festivals and more tell their stories through graphic design, web design, social media strategy, blog writing, photography and more. 

What To Expect:

* Use existing brand guidelines to design social media graphics, event posters and other marketing assets
* Assist lead designers on logo and identity and projects
* Help define visual guidelines for client's social media outlets
* Coming up with potential projects to pitch to clients
* An incredibly flexible working environment and schedule (our only non-negotiable is meeting deadlines)
* 15-20 hours of work per week, most of which can be done remotely

• 21+
• Strong graphic design experience
• Knowledge of social media platforms
• Photography experience not required but preferred
• Must be based in Chicago

To apply, email matt@matttanakamarketing with your portfolio, resume and a few words on why you think you'd be a good candidate. A photo of a cute puppy wouldn't hurt either.



Beer Trip: Scenes From San Diego's Beer Scene

Here's how any good trip to San Diego starts -- you touch down at San Diego International Airport, grab a car, head for any liquor store and pick up some Pizza Port Swami's IPA. Setting the tone for those West Coast IPA vibes.  

Pizza Port Ocean Beach

Our first stop came with a lot of recommendations, Pizza Port's Ocean Beach location. Besides having killer pizza and plenty of dank West Coast IPAs, the spot is practically on the beach. 


Half Door Brewing

After a number of local recommendations, we headed to the Gaslamp District to check out Half Door Brewing, a food-forward brew pub built into an old house. Great food, killer vibe and a surprising number of East Coast pales. When the West Coast has this many (pretty solid) hazy/juicy pale ales, that's a good sign we've hit full trend. 

Coronado Brewing

Next, we hitched a ride over the bridge for a few pints at Coronado Brewing, including this Guava IPA. 

Modern Times

And we ended the day with a nightcap at Modern Times.

Mikkeller San Diego

We started our second day in town with a 30 minute drive out to Mira Mesa, pulled into a non-descript business park, and walked into a taproom that felt like a little taste of Denmark. We kicked things off with Forste Fodseltag, an ale aged on cabernet franc grapes and brett, and Raspberry Blush, a berliner weisse with raspberry and coffee.

Duck Foot Brewing, Pure Project, Amplified Brewing, Council Brewing

Next, we stopped in at a brewery, bellied up to the bar and ask the locals what we should drink and where we should drink it. This led us to stops at Duck Foot Brewing (a gluten-free brewery with beer so good someone had to tell us was gluten free), Pure Project, Amplified Brewing, and Council Brewing. 

Thanks San Diego, we had a blast. 




Beer Pins: Moments In Beer Captured In Enamel And Paint

The beer industry is all about collaborations. Brewers collaborate with other brewers to make experimental beers. Restaurants collaborate with breweries to host beer dinners and pop ups. And, because we’re all about the intersection of beer and design, we came up with our own little collaborations. We call them "Beer Pins."

Beer Pins are a series of limited-edition artist collaborations in the form of enamel pins. We provide artists with a word, phrase or concept and let their imaginations run wild. The result is a moment in beer captured in enamel and paint. We sell them, pay the artists (we’re all about paying artists for work) and then use the rest to raise funds for a local charity. These are limited edition runs so when they’re gone, they’re gone.  



Project Recap: Pop-Up Restaurant For Upland Brewing Co.


To showcase Upland's line of high-end sour beers in Chicago, we planned a full-service, pop-up restaurant inside an Air BnB apartment on the West Side of Chicago.

We partnered with chef Abra Berens to design a custom five-course meal of locally-sourced ingredients and inspirations, creating a uniquely "Midwestern" culinary experience. Each course was paired with a different Upland sour beer.

When it was time to host the party, we invited Chicago writers, bloggers and social media folk to join in. The goal was to showcase these high-end beers to non-beer writers in an effort to help their audiences think about beer differently. Not as a beverage only to be consumed with nachos and football, but as something that's equally as comfortable at a white table cloth meal, or as a hosts gift at a dinner party. 

*Video and photography by Studio Finch



Project Recap: Chicago Ale Fest

Navy Pier's spacious Aon Grand Ballroom served as the perfect venue for Chicago Ale Fest's Winter Edition. Hosting a few thousand Chicagoans and more than 200 beers from over 100 breweries, it's safe to say the event was a success. Plus the view wasn't bad either. 

We promoted the fest by running their social media accounts, photography and blog writing. Check out some photos from the event below taken by Marisa Iglesias.


2016: A Year In Review

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2016: A Year In Review

2016 was a whirlwind. We worked (a lot). We shared tons of awesome beer with tons of awesome people. We spent time digging into the beer scenes in Chicago, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Seattle, Phoenix, Dallas, Boston, Denver, Bloomington, and Sheboygan, Wisconsin -- and worked with the breweries, distributors, festival organizers, retailers and more that make those scenes so special. 

And when that was all said and done, we took a brain break on an island off of Seattle to re-coup, reflect and plan for 2017. And so, from one side of table made of driftwood, overlooking the Pacific ocean with a strong cup of coffee in hand, we're looking back at some of our favorite projects from the past year. 

A new logo, identity and packaging for 3 Sheeps Brewing Co. 

Even though we can't share anything yet, we've been working on a massive re-brand for our favorite Wisconsin brewery, 3 Sheeps Brewing. After five years of growth, these guys were ready for a new look to match their more mature brewery as they built out a brand new production facility and opened their first taproom. 

A website for Heartland Beverage. 

Beer Distributors don't always have the best reputation. So when Heartland Beverage approached us to help with a marketing strategy and build a website, we knew we had to do something to show off what makes them unique. Heartland is a startup distributor. They're full of heart and passion and a David vs. Goliath motivation that compels them to be work their asses off to provide their breweries and retailers with the best possible service. They're independent. Defiantly so. And they took a step out into the middle to face an industry full of giants. So we set to work to build them a website that was clean, simple to use and provided the same stellar customer service for their accounts as their sales team does. 

A logo and website for Making A Beer Run 6K and fun run. 

There are a lot of serious events in craft beer, but sometimes it's good to just have some fun. That was the idea behind Making A Beer Run, Chicago's first fun run and beer festival. When the festival organizers first approached us, they had a name, a concept and a route... and that's about it. We helped establish an identity for the event, then designed a logo, poster, flyer and animated gif (pronounced "JIF" like the peanut butter), and built a website to pull it all together. 

A social media strategy and content development project for Parce Rum.

Parce Rum is a barrel aged sipping rum that looks drinkers in the eye and says "you think you know what rum is?!" They came to us because of their respect for the craft beer industry, and the parallels they saw in their tiny company to that of the scrappy upstarts of the beer world. We started by developing a social media strategy, voice and content calendar that focused on the four pillars of their brand (Award-Winning Rum, A Dedication To Today's Colombia, Social Enterprise and a Commitment To Adventure), and then set to work telling stories that showed them off. 

Blog writing and digital marketing strategies for BeerHoptacular, Chicago Ale Fest, Naperville Ale Fest, Ballpark Ale Fest, and Naperville Winter Ale Fest. 

We believe in marketing that doesn't demean readers -- and that people want to read about the stories behind the events they attend. We put this belief to the test by producing a ton of in-depth blog content to help promote a variety of beer festivals. We photographed and interviewed brewers and bar owners, dug into beer styles and brewing techniques, and even brewed a beer of our own with Lagunitas. We called it "The Writer Wanted White Peppercorn So We Put in White Peppercorn." 

A collection of stories about what it's really like Working for Beer.

We have a deep respect for our brothers and sisters in the beer industry, and that's why we keep an online journal about what it's really like Working For Beer. It's exciting, yes, but it's also a hustle. It's late nights and early mornings. It's writing a million emails and making a million phone calls. It's talking about your brand at endless beer dinners, tap takeovers and keep the pint nights. It's a never ending parade of people who want what you're selling, but don't always want to pay for it. 

We've already got a lot of stuff in the works for 2017 so stay tuned, exciting announcements on the horizon. For now, we want to issue a heartfelt thank you to anyone who we've worked with, shared a beer with or has been following what we're up to online. Here's to you and to a beer-filled new year! 

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Project Recap: Making A Beer Run (6K Fun Run & Beer Fest)


But sometimes it's good to just have some fun. That was the idea behind Making A Beer Run, Chicago's first fun run and beer festival. When the festival organizers first approached us, they had a name, a concept and a route... and that's about it. 

We helped establish an identity for the event, then designed a logo, poster, flyer and animated gif (pronounced "JIF" like the peanut butter), and built a website to pull it all together. 

Check out some photos from the event below, or CLICK HERE to learn more about what went into this project. 



Scenes From The Great American Beer Festival

We recently paid a visit to the great state of Colorado to attend the Great American Beer Festival. As the largest and arguably most important beer festival in the country, this 30 year old behemoth of a beer event features over 700 breweries from all over the country and like, a million 1oz pours. There's really nothing like it. 

We shared some beers with old friends, made new friends and took stock on just how much this industry has changed. It's important sometimes to take a step back. 



On Collaboration: Pipeworks Brewing and Parce Rum Barrel Age A Beer

Parce x Pipeworks

If you've written about the craft beer industry for more than 30 seconds, you've likely written about a collaboration beer. They basically happen every other day. And they should, it's exactly the kind of thing that makes this industry so great -- people from different breweries coming together to create something new. 

That's what makes this collaboration so fun, it's not two breweries, it's one brewery and a spirits company. Parce Rum, a client of ours and the makers of a bourbon barrel-aged sipping rum from Colombia that will change your life, sent some barrels to Pipeworks Brewing Company to see if they could do something cool with them. 

They did. 

Pipeworks brewed two beers, a full-bodied imperial stout with chocolate wheat, and a raspberry stout with oats, vanilla and cocoa nibs and added them to the rum barrels. When they're done, the batches will be blended together to create what they're calling "The Parce."

Mike Schallau, Master of Barrels at Pipeworks explains, “When you barrel age a beer, the barrel adds an interesting alcohol and wood character. You end up with some nice vanilla and coconut notes. It also brings out fruitier flavors, so it lifts the actual raspberry character out of the glass making it even more pronounced when you smell it."

I ask Mike what characteristics the Parce barrels have imparted to the beer that their typical bourbon or rye barrels don't. "There’s a little more subtlety to the rum,” he explains, "a nice sweetness and honey character a bourbon barrel doesn’t have. Overall you get a more subtle spirit character which lets the beer speak and lifts out that nice fruit characters."

The beer has to sleep in its woody sarcophagi for a bit longer but we're pretty pumped to see how it all turns out.