Carvers' Companion
Back Issues


Carving The Sierra Nevada Brewery Logo

By Ron Ramsey

Being a lover of good beer, I have been a fan of Sierra Nevada Brewery’s ales for more than 25 years. I like to taste a variety of beers, but Sierra Nevada Pale Ale has always been my standby. As I would sit and savor the taste, I would admire their logo on the label. It’s a design I’ve always wanted to carve. I had many times considered contacting the brewery to try and convince them to commission me to carve their logo. I have done carvings for other breweries and wineries and I figured that I could do it justice. With other commissions keeping me busy, I never got around to contacting them.

Last spring I was pleasantly surprised to get a call from the brewery. They had seen my website and they asked me to come to the brewery to talk about doing some carvings for them. They commissioned me to carve their full logo. They also ordered a carving of their masthead with their scroll and name that will be cast in multiples in urethane. There are also plans to do other carvings in the future.


This is the carving of their full logo.

(Click this and the other photos to open a larger view in a new window)

Sierra Nevada Brewery is a leader in sustainability, so I chose FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified sustainably harvested Honduras Mahogany for the carving. I laminated it up using three layers of 8/4 material. The total depth is 5 ½”. It’s 35” wide by 24” tall.


As many times as I had admired the logo, I never fully analyzed what it would take to carve it. I was inspired by studying Grinling Gibbons’ carvings to do extensive undercutting to reveal the delicate nature of the botanicals. When I started planning the carving, I was challenged by how the many layers overlapped one another and the way the small scrolls at the bottom of the design lay over the top of everything else. In order to make the scrolls look delicate enough, they had to be suspended in space.


The complexity of all of the interrelationships and overlapping of the elements, as well as their delicate nature, made this the most challenging carving I have completed to date. The carving was originally planned to be painted, but it looked so good natural that I convinced them to let me just apply an airbrush stain to accentuate the three dimensional quality and detail.



Ron Ramsey is a professional carver who creates custom-made carved wooden doors, carved wooden mantels, nature, wildlife, and traditional architectural wood carvings, wood sculpture, custom relief carvings and carved redwood signs. You may visit his web site at


Copyright 2011, All rights reserved. May not be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written permission.