What’s in a (Beer) Name?

Big Wood Morning Wood at the GABF // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Big Wood Morning Wood at the GABF // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

While the double-entendre associated with Morning Wood is a bit obvious, names like Jackpine Savage are less so.

“It was kind of a joke,” Medvec says. “Up north they call us guys from the city, cityiots, and we call them Jackpine Savages.”

Medvec knows someone who fits the silly moniker, so they went with it.

Even though the beer’s story comes to Medvec quickly, the naming process was lengthy. Just like Kalra and many others in the brew-naming business, Medvec sits down with his team—also mulling names over with the brewery’s ad agency, staff, friends, and family—and they brainstorm ideas, sometimes coming up with them before a beer is brewed, after weeks of beer tasting, and sometimes by accident.

“What it boils down to in the end is it’s kind of one of those gut feelings,” Fulton Brewing co-owner Brian Hoffman says. “The name just needs to feel right for that beer. You have some really great ideas, but if it’s an eight-word phrase, it’s not really going to work for a name of a beer.”

Luckily the work put into choosing a fitting name is worth it.

“If there’s a name that really sticks with people, they can really assimilate with it,” Kalra says. “People might buy the beer just because of that, so you have to be really careful on how you name it. It might not mean anything to one person, but to another person it could mean the world.”

One beer name that may not mean anything to anyone outside of Fulton is Insurrection. It’s Hoffman’s favorite beer name, but the beer didn’t come to fruition for a while. The push for the creation of it came from the company’s head brewer, but there was a problem: space.

Related Post: Fulton’s New Brewery—Straight from the Source [PHOTOS]

“It came to a point where they really, really wanted to make the beer, and we didn’t really have the tank space for it, but we ended up kind of making tank space for it,” Hoffman says. “We kind of joked about how if we didn’t do it our brewers would have had an insurrection and risen up against us.”

When pointing out the importance of sticking out on a crowded store shelf, Hoffman says names are important to grab a consumer’s interest, but something else will always be more important—the taste.

“The beer has to be able to speak for itself,” he says.

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