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Official JD Barbecue Poster blends Tennessee traditions

Posted on Thursday, October 25, 2012 at 8:37 am

Three versions of The Meatheads poster will be available this year at the Barbecue.

One glance at the official 2012 Jack Daniel World Invitational Barbecue poster and it instantly reminds you of something … a Hatch Show Print – that mainstay of Nashville’s music industry.

The similar feel is no coincidence. The poster’s creator, Bryce McCloud, cut his teeth there and has since moved on to create one-of-a-kind works of art with his signature contemporary style at his own shop, Isle of Printing, located in downtown Nashville.

For over eight consecutive years, McCloud has been part of a team that creates the official event poster for The Jack – an item that has become highly collectible among both barbecue teams and event-goers.

This year’s poster – called Meatheads – plays off the competitive nature of the international barbecue contest. Posters feature a chicken, cow and pig that are shown “beefing, bulking and juicing up for The Jack.”

According to the Distillery, the posters are meant to “playfully contrast the contemporary rage for physical health with the ravenous appetite for consuming ‘cue.” It’s a playful yet irreverent way to underscore the event’s atmosphere.
Each poster is hand-carved into plates, which are then pressed into the poster one at a time by hand in a process called letterpress – which has essentially been around for 15 centuries. It’s lovingly admired for its time-intensive process and bulky equipment.

McCloud says he inherited most of his equipment from his uncle, Tennessee letterpress historian Roger Firth.
And it’s history that is the common thread in the relations ship between the letterpress and whiskey-making process, according to McCloud.

“I think they are both woven into the history of Tennessee,” says McCloud. “Like two peas in a pod.”