Naming Beer

Looking for a way to gain notice of your beer and grow its popularity? Come up with a great, outstanding name. That, and relocate to Montana to brew—or at least that’s the inference from this article. The highlight beer of the article is "Olde Bongwater Hemp Porter" (from Kettlehouse Brewing Company in Missoula, Montana). Hmm.

For small businesses trying to make a go of it in a competitive market, a good name is just as good as advertising without costing tons of money.

In Montana it is a strategy, often combined with the mystique of the state, that has made the state an unlikely player in the craft brew market in the western United States.

Consider, for example, Big Sky Brewing Co.’s Moose Drool Brown Ale, sold in 10 states from Wisconsin to Washington and Alaska….

It’s an equation that favors Montana. And like the brews they represent, Montana beer names have earned national attention from beer drinkers and experts alike. Moose Drool was the top vote-getter in a 2002 national survey of top 10 beer names in the country. Erin Go Braless, of Kettlehouse Brewing Co., earned special mention and the pub’s Bongwater has often been cited as an excellent and provocative name, Hieronymous said.

Without a doubt, having a good name—in any business model, not just brewing—can help you stand out and be noticed. Rogue does a good job of that with their beers, for example (Dead Guy Ale, anyone?). However, I think a name like "Olde Bongwater" is, for me at least, something I would likely avoid.