The craft beer world is full of interesting and downright strange brewery names. Some people have a tough time naming their brewery and others come up with theirs almost right away. So that got us wondering, how did well known breweries like Funky Buddha, Jester King and Lord Hobo get their names? We reached out and got some answers.
Toppling Goliath Brewing Co.
Location: Decorah, IA
How They Got The Name: “The company was a marketing and consulting firm that specialized in helping people with good ideas but little business skills get off the ground with business plans, marketing plans, grant writing, finance information, dealing with government red tape,” says Clark Lewey. “All these things can be seen as giant obstacles for start ups and that is where the name came from.” They actually didn’t start the brewery until 2009. “Since we still owned TG Inc, (although it was inactive) we thought that the name would be relevant for a brewery due to the global consolidation of beer.” So, for $5 they did a DBA (doing business as) with the State of Iowa and Toppling Goliath Brewing Co. was formed.
Location: Brooklyn, New York
How They Got The Name: There’s something spooky about Grimm Ales. The name brings up images of Grimm’s fairy tales like Hansel and Gretel and witches and creepy malevolent woods. Even the artwork on the cans is kind of artistic and dark. You might be thinking that the brewery took its name from the fairy tales but the origin is actually quite a bit simpler than that. “We’re a married couple and Grimm is our last name,” says co-founder Joe Grimm. There’s nothing terrifying about that.
Funky Buddha Brewery
Location: Oakland Park, Florida
How They Got The Name: Originally Funky Buddha was a 700 square foot tea bar and hookah lounge in Boca Raton, FL called The R&R Tea Bar and Funky Buddha Lounge. “We added craft beer in 2007 and dropped the R&R Tea bar name, and left the Funky Buddha Lounge part (our owner is a big fan of Buddhist art),” says Linn. “When we opened the Brewery aspect in 2013 we renamed ourselves Funky Buddha Brewery.” The name is meant to convey that they are serious about beer but don’t take themselves too seriously. “We’re fun, spontaneous, and out of the box, and I think the name reflects that.”
Jester King Brewery
Location: Austin, Texas
How They Got The Name: The name Jester King is an analogy. “The jester represents small, independent brewers engaged in experimentation, creativity, and thoughtful beer making, who aren’t afraid to challenge common wisdom or controlling archetypes,” says founder Jeffrey Stuffings. The king in the analogy represents the self-proclaimed “king of beers,” who seeks to quash that freedom and creativity. “Ultimately, to me, the name is a rallying cry for small, independent brewers.”
Surly Brewing Company
Location: Brooklyn Center, Minnesota
How They Got The Name: Surly was named by founder and President Omar Ansari and his wife Becca. The story goes that they were on a beer vacation and were discussing the feeling one gets when you walk into a bar only to see bad beer on tap. You get Surly. So the brewery was named after that feeling: “Surly: The anger fueled by the inability to find good beer.”
Evil Twin Brewing
Location: Brooklyn, New York and Copenhagen, Denmark
How They Got The Name: Founder Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø actually had a pretty easy time naming his brewery. “I’m actually a twin,” he says. “And besides sounding cool the name is also something people can relate to as you say everyone has an Evil Twin.” The real question: is Jarnit-Bjergsø the evil twin or is his sibling?
Lord Hobo Brewing
Location: Woburn, Massachusetts
How They Got The Name: Lord Hobo was conceived by the owner Daniel Lanigan. “His best friend’s last name is Hobbs,” says Lord Hobo’s Kate Ballenger. “They used to call him Hobo growing up.” He essentially named his beer bar Lord Hobo as a tribute to his best buddy. “Then he used the name Lord Hobo for the brewery, because it already had a presence in the beer industry.”
Other Half Brewing
Location: Brooklyn, New York
How They Got The Name: The name refers to the “other half” of the industry, the small guys. “It was actually one of the first names we thought of,” says co-owner Andrew Burman. “It was really hard to name it, we went back and forth a lot. We ended up hooking up with a design firm that really helped us formulate our thoughts.”
Location: Durango, Colorado
How They Got The Name: Back in 1995, friends Bill Graham and Dave Thibodeau really liked drinking beer. The problem was, they weren’t twenty-one and couldn’t buy it themselves. They decided they couldn’t wait and brewed their own beer while listening to ska, the 90s music style popularized by bands like Reel Big Fish, The Mighty Might Bosstones and Rancid. Once they got up and running, they decided to combine their love for beer and ska music.
Tree House Brewing Co.
Location: Monson, Massachusetts
How They Got The Name: “There was a Tree House on the property where we founded the brewery. We tried to name it a bunch of other things, but Tree House just made sense. And it just sounds nice,” says Nate Lanier co-founder and brewer at Tree house.