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:
- Bear and Eagle / Bear Eagle / Eagle Bear Brewing Company
- 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.
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/