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Posts Tagged ‘name’

If you get bored reading about our naming dilemma, at least make sure to make it to the end of the post so you can take the poll.

Sign with no name

I had hoped that the perfect name would have fallen out of the sky and hit me in the face by now. Or that I would have let go and worked on other stuff and not still be worried about the name. But it’s become the main focus of this entire operation. I’m blaming my business plan slacking on the namelessness of the brewery. There, I said it. Responsibility shirked. Blame the muse of naming things. She doesn’t actually have a name. Ironic.

We’ve sort of narrowed down the theme of the name. That’s not true. We’ve sort of boiled down the entire naming conventions of breweries into a few themes, and haven’t gone past that. Narrowing entails removing choices. Boiling just condenses them.

The main themes of a brewery name, according to my non-statistical analysis of the 2007 list of breweries in operation with no follow up research as to the origins of the names:

  • Adjective / Adverb + Animal
    • Example: Flying Dog, Lost Duck, Blind Tiger, Gilded Otter, Angry Minnow
  • Somewhat to entirely random words with meaning to the owner(s) OR very much inside reference
    • Dogfish Head, Magic Hat, Ballast Point, Left Hand
  • Geography / Geology Related
    • Boston Beer Company, Snake River, Deschutes, Breckenridge Brewery
  • Name of the founder
    • Coors.

Most brewery names fall into these categories. I’m sure there are exceptions. I’d love to be one, but I created some pretty broad categories there. Here are some of our ideas in each category.

The animal references are fun: Malicious Marmot, Sophisticated Wombat, Peeping Tomcat, Bald Grizzly.

Inside reference / makes sense to us / random: Eagle Bear (yes, it’s animals, but it’s special), Mad Haven, Bibber Bibbery.

Geography / Geology related: Savage Peaks, Mile High Hop Works.

We’re not naming the brewery after ourselves, or at least not directly, so that last option is out.

One theme we’ve been playing with is the American Dream idea. Sort of a fun look at the modern American Dream, with some great options for beer names. Golden Retriever Brown Ale anyone? White Picket White Ale? It’s endless.

Another theme we’ve been playing around with is something about a storyteller. A bard, if you will. Some wandering minstrel who travels on foot from tavern to tavern, telling tall tales and listening intently to stories of other travelers, always with a large flagon of mead (or mug of ale, whatever you like) strapped to his one hand, the other gesticulating wildly and he spins his yarn further and farther. Something like the Traveling Bard, Afflicted Minstrel, Fibbing Bibber, Sipping Goose’s Grim Tale Sharing Bench – you get the idea.

We really just need to choose a name. But as I’ve said before, it’s like a tattoo to me. It’s permanent. It has to be perfect. And.. well this just gets into personal aspects of who I am, but I’m not so great at settling.

What are  you thoughts? If you’re reading this, you’re either going to have a hand in the brewery, be one of our many loyal customers, or at least, hopefully, tell a friend about the operation for their upcoming visit to Denver. Take the poll, leave a comment, do both! Just let us know what you think, and hopefully we’ll make up our minds soon. That will be a super exciting post to write!



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Starting a brewery… Turns out, not an easy process. Who knew?

I think were doing better than Sisyphus...

I think we're doing better than Sisyphus...

Over the past few weeks and months, we’ve gotten the ball rolling, so to speak. Relative to where we were when the decision was made to do this, we’ve come a ways. Relative to where we’ll be opening day, we have yet to begin working.

The main things we’ve done:

  • Met with an officer about licenses
  • Met with a banker
  • Amassed a collection of ideas and plans to differentiate ourselves
  • Met with some SBA people
  • Spoke with some real estate agents
  • Told everyone we know we’re going to ask them for money (if we know you and we haven’t asked yet, consider yourselves warned)
  • Started a blog (very important step in the process)
  • Started the business plan (I have an outline…)
  • Lots of other little stuff

Things we still need to do. And mind you, this list is very, very, very incomplete:

  • Actually write the business plan
  • Write it again
  • Go over it a few times with various consultants, and then rewrite it again
  • Come up with the name
  • Research suppliers for the hardware and the supplies (like tanks, grains, hops, kegs, etc.)
  • Find the perfect location
  • Get the money
  • Buy all that stuff
  • Get licensed
  • Open
  • Find people to drink our delicious beer

It’s more complex than that, but that’s where I see us as of today. The immediate next step is the business plan. We need to do a lot more research, write it, rinse, and repeat. Part of that involves talking to suppliers, just to get an idea of what our costs will be. Things like overall overhead, cost per batch, pricing, gross per batch, etc.

Picture of a random IPA. Just because.

Picture of a random IPA. Just because.

The more I find out about this process, the bigger the challenge becomes. I don’t say that in a negative way, just an honest one. I had this date of August 2010 in my head. I’d love if we could open by then. When we first started talking about doing this, 8/10 seemed so far away! And now… It’s starting to seem like tomorrow. So August of next year might not work. We’ll see though. No hard deadlines to meet just yet, and a lot of work between now and then either way, but, that’s where we stand.

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The Name.

Naming this beast has been and continues to be one of the most arduous tasks. I’ve honestly lost sleep over it. Yes, the prospect of walking in to a bank and asking for $500,000 is slightly overwhelming. But the name is something different. It’s like a tattoo to me. It can’t be something that I’ll like today but not tomorrow, or the next day, or 20 years from now.

Some people have suggested I forget about naming the brewery and just work on the other parts, that the name will come when it’s ready. And I agree, somewhat. But the idea of the brewery is just an idea until it has a name. All the talk, the planning, the thinking, it all can become real if it can just have a name. It’s the same, at least to me, as if parents would raise a child, and name it after they’ve gotten to know it. It makes sense, sort of, but in the end, the child – and the brewery – needs a name.

And it can’t just be something random. It has to mean something. I could just grab a random noun I like and call it that. But Babushka Brewing Company doesn’t really work (I like that word a lot). If it were just me involved in the brewery, it could be easier too. But people like Kell, Dave, Adam, and so many others who have and will help out need to be a part of the name as well. So calling it PJ’s Brewing Company or That Psych Major Turned Web Developer Brewing Company – and not that I would name it something that lame – doesn’t work because it has no meaning to others involved.

So take me – 25 year old who grew up in Connecticut, spending weekends teaching skiing in Vermont, been in Colorado for 8 years or so, loves to ski, never really spent much time outdoors until moving to CO – mix that will Kell – 25 year old who grew up in Chicago, spent a lot of time in Colorado and Wyoming, definitely with some cowboy roots – Dave – a 24 year old with pretty much the same story as me, who I’ve known since I was 12 – and then throw in Adam – 24 former pro-snowboarder from Vermont / New York – brewing beer in Colorado Springs – and try to come up with a name. And sorry to Adam and Kell for attempting to sum up your lives in a few words, and to everyone else for not listing you here.

None of us grew up in Colorado, but we all love it. I don’t plan on leaving any time soon. But I can’t claim to be a native, or have any ownership over Colorado roots. Therefore naming the brewery something like Denver Brewing Company feels fake. One idea that really does encompass everyone involved is something like Cross Country Brewing Company. But…. oh sorry, I fell asleep thinking about that name. It doesn’t have any punch.

Which brings us to our current favorites, but the fact that we still do not have a name. Drum roll please:

  1. Bear and Eagle / Bear Eagle / Eagle Bear Brewing Company
  2. Mad Haven Brewing Company

That’s about it. There have been almost 200 suggestions and ideas, but we’ve brought it down to those two. For now. Until a better one comes around. And hopefully a better one won’t come around after we’ve chosen a name.

Grizzly Bear being awesome

Grizzly Bear being awesome

The Bear / Eagle variety comes from college. We had a beirut table that the wonderful Ms. Pabst artfully decorated with a bear and eagle in epic combat. It was beautiful. I wish I had a picture of it. We even had a running tally of which side won more games (each of the combating animals could easily be identified as one side or the other of the table). I believe they were even. Engaged in the fight of all time for all of time. It’s sort of an inside joke that my group of friends share, but it still an awesome name for those who had no part in the original story.

Mad Haven stems from a slight nod to my upbringing. The name has dozens of levels of meaning, but Haven is really just from New Haven, the county I grew up in, and Mad from Madison, the town I was raised in. But it also has the contradictory idea of an insane safe harbor. A place to be yourself, no matter what your self might be. The name works for all sorts of beer, as long as the beer is good. A ridiculously strong double or triple IPA? Sure. A fusion of styles (Mexican IPA, for example)? Done.

I personally have slept better since the name Mad Haven came to light, but not everyone likes it. And while I’m comfortable having ideas that not everyone likes, some people who’s opinions I truly value do not like the name. My options are to sell the vision to them, or come up with a better name.

So this story is not over yet. We do not have a name today. Hopefully we will tomorrow.

Edit: This is a great link that was in the “possibly related posts” thing. Should we just hire a branding firm / pay a brand agent in beer to help us? http://brandinsightblog.com/2008/03/14/naming-your-baby-vs-naming-your-business/

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