Monday, March 9, 2015

The Very Odd Naming of Craft Beers

     There was a time when there were a lot of beer brands in the US. Many of them were regional and a few became national like Budweiser, Miller, Schlitz, Pabst, and maybe a few others. There were many other regional brands like Stroh’s, Olympia, Shiner Bock, Geobel, Rhinegold, Narraganset, Schaefer, Ballantine, Falstaff, Schmidt, Hamm’s, Old Style, Genesee, Iron City, Rolling Rock, Blatz, Knickerbocker, and Olde Frothingslosh (really?). Over the years, there has been a significant consolidation in the mainstay brewers. The top ten beer brands by sales are:
  1. Bud Light 
  2. Coors Light 
  3. Budweiser 
  4. Miller Lite 
  5. Corona Extra 
  6. Natural Light 
  7. Busch Light 
  8. Michaleob Extra 
  9. Busch 
  10. Heineken 
Six of the brands are from Anheuser-Busch InBev, two are from CoorsMiller Brewing, and two are imports from Mexico and The Netherlands.
     While this consolidation has been happening, there has been an explosion of lesser brands of higher quality ales and beers. This class of beers is known as craft beers. The goal is to emulate classic Eurpean beers such as Pilsner Urquil and Stella Artois. This trend began back in the 1980s with Samuel Adams (founded in 1984) and Goose Island (founded 1988). Over the years there has been a proliferation of microbreweries that make these craft beers. It has gotten to the point where I go to various gatherings where beer might be served, there are only craft beers that I have never heard of. Seriously, it is almost impossible to get one of the aforementioned top ten brands anymore. I see the big brands in the stores but almost no one I know buys and serves them.
     The craft beers all have interesting and colorful labels. They also have what could easily be construed as weird or odd names that from my perspective have nothing to with beers. I think many of the beers are formed by two words. The first word is an adjective from the title of a horror movie with the second being a noun from common flora and fauna. For example:
  • Twisted Cow 
  • Broken Ox 
  • Zombie Crow 
  • Frightened Spaniel 
  • Petrified Giraffe 
  • Demented Daisy 
  • Crooked Elm 
  • Wicked Tangerine 
  • Haunted Pine 
  • Spooked Gerbil 
The above were all made up using my scheme and proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that I have no future in marketing. 

     Consider the following real brands:
  • Jolly Pumpkin 
  • Dragon’s Milk 
  • Funky Buddha 
  • Lost Abbey 
  • Fiddlers Elbow 
  • Old Speckled Hen 
  • Dogfish Head Snowblower Ale 
  • Sick Duck 
  • Homo Erectus 
  • Seriously Bad Elf 
  • Arrogant Bastard 
  • Moose Drool 
  • Santa’s Butt 
  • Gandhi Bot 
  • Hop Zombie 
  • Leafer Madness 
  • Barrique Okarma 
  • Smooth Hoperator 
  • Sexual Chocolate 
  • Chocolate Starfish 
  • Beard of Zeus 
  • Polygamy Porter 
  • Apocalypse Cow 
  • Unicorn Killer 
Heck, my names don’t sound that bad. It motivates me to conjure up some more:
  • Logical Hoptivist 
  • Existent Ale 
  • Nihilist Chowder Stout 
  • Inflated Ego 
  • Purple Musket 
  • Secret Staircase 
  • Green Llama 
  • Bent Mizrap
  • Olde Niblick 
  • Molten Daggar 
  • Laughing Rhino 
  • Unfulfilled Dreams 
  • Naked Firefly 
  • Plaid Zebra 
      I am not nearly the first to stumble on the crazy and seemingly endless names for craft beers. Simply Googling “weird names for craft beers” yielded the real brands noted above. The same search provided links to a few articles about craft beer makers running out of names. It seems there are over 3,000 craft brewers in the US and many names and words have been scooped up. Supposedly there are lawsuits galore.
     Maybe I should go into the beer naming business after all.

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