“250” brings up a Keurig Coffee Brewing System. That could be a problem since they’re in the food and beverage industry (coffee “brewing” no less) and have deep pockets (regarding a potential cease and desist). However, I would feel comfortable presenting “250 Club” as an option. And while I’m not good at math, another option to explore could be to figure out the cubic inch measurement of something to reference an engine size (maybe the homebrew system you learned on) and use that for a fun name with a story.
Low Rocker only brings up one similar brewery name. This one may warrant exploring, assuming your team likes it.
And finally, the most compelling concept surrounds the 1 percenter moniker (biker slang for gang members). We could spin this into 5 Percenter Brewing Co., a nod to your focus on session beers.
And that’s why this process can be so frustrating. Granted, we tooled through these ideas quickly, we only generated three or four possible options. Every time we name a brewery, there are several names that are absolutely perfect — except they’re already taken — but that’s OK. Go back to your concept and don’t be afraid to scrap what you’ve developed and start over. Maybe even give it a few days and come back fresh.
After all that, let’s say “5 Percenter Brewing Co.” is the winner. Everyone on your team loves it, and it’s preliminarily available. After your lawyer gives us the official go-ahead, the next step is to immediately buy the domain name and claim any social media channels(Twitter, Facebook, Untapped, Instagram, Christian Mingle, etc.) before heading into the identity design process.
Some tools we like to use are lateral thinking (approaching problems in a nonlinear, non-traditional way), word clouds, thesaurus/dictionary, and of course, Google. Great places to find unique, cool names are in slang and language surrounding some element of your differentiator.
At this point, it’s unlikely you’ll find an available cliché or otherwise, boring name. However, if you stumble upon one, don’t settle just because it’s not taken. Just because you can’t find the “perfect” name doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be happy with what you end up with. You’re going to be living with it for a while, get it right now.
We always make sure our name options pass the cursory Google test before sharing them with a client. But the final go ahead has to come from an attorney. It doesn’t have to be a trademark attorney, though that helps. It just needs to be someone with more legal knowledge than your team or ours. This can add a week or so to the process, and some more cash, but can save thousands of dollars and heartache down the line.
Craft Brewing Business featured a fantastic series on trademarking names a while back. Read the entire thing to see why that half of this process is just as important as what we just covered.
We touched on this in our first naming article, but it bears repeating. You need to make sure your name doesn’t have any negative connotations. This isn’t to be bland, but rather, so you garner press for the correct reasons and attract the right people.
Our small motorcycle-centric brewpub was of course, made up. But if it were real, we would need to be careful how closely our name referenced driving (an overzealous person might suggest you’re promoting drinking and driving). And the motorcycle club / gang stuff walks a fine line. This can add some time and cash to the process but can save thousands of dollars and heartache down the line.
In this case, “5 Percenter” was too good to pass up. This is where positioning and branding come into play to shape the messaging.
Hire a professional
And finally, this process is hard. If you’re struggling through it, reach out to us, we’d love to help.
This column was provided by the folks at CODO Design, a five-man branding firm based in Indianapolis, IN. They’ve spent years working with startup craft breweries on naming, branding and positioning, responsive web design, and package design. They’ve gathered their experience into a comprehensive Craft Beer Branding Guide to help startup breweries navigate the entire branding process. Check it out at www.craftbeerbrandingguide.com.