Ever read a beer label and think to yourself “Where the heck did that name come from?”
There are more than 7,000 breweries operating in the United States and each one is brewing and selling multiple original styles of craft beer, which means there are tens of thousands of beers that have to be named! Brewers don’t want to give their new release a name that will be confused and mixed up with another beer and especially not with another brand. That being said, breweries have to be pretty original (while still need to exercising caution) when naming their beers.
Many Buffalocal breweries have found successful ways to make their beers stand out amidst the array of options offered in popular style categories by getting a little creative. Flying Bison, for instance, adds a local flare to some of their brews with names like 716 IPA and 716 Kolsch. Big Ditch is also known to incorporate a local element into the naming of their beers with Excavator Rye Brown Ale paying homage to the creation of the Erie Canal and the seasonal release, Squeezer, referencing boats that were too large to fit down the canal.
Other local breweries have been known to get creative in alternative ways! Like Community Beer Works, who runs contests each year to let their fans name the Official Beer of Nickel City Con (which they brew and release). The 2019 winning title? Wubba Lubba Glug Glug! We venture to bet there aren’t many other beers being confused with that one!
Breweries giving their brand and beers a theme or creative distinction will certainly stand to gain a competitive advantage. BUT, while creativity is a must, brewers also need to make sure that they safeguard themselves against lawsuits. Beer names don’t have to be trademarked and common law will protect the name from being reused in a specific geographic region, but it’s never a bad idea to protect your ideas from being copied. Trademarking is an easy process that brewers can apply for online or through a trademark attorney, but should be done as soon as a good name is thought of.
What would you name your beer? Get creative and tell us in the comments!