Ask any parent—naming your child is hard; naming your newest beer may be harder. There are library shelves full of baby naming books and you still went to school with three Johns. Beer names are an important part of a brewery’s brand and a good beer name can attract more customers so, you want to stand out with an original, memorable name if you can come up with one.
While this isn’t a list of the greatest beer names, this guide will be a good place to start to develop a great name to christen your beer. Like any set of rules, these aren’t foolproof, but these ideas will help you come up with a name that isn’t totally unappealing or awkward.
1. Make it Catchy
If a customer can’t pronounce or remember the name of your beer, they’re less likely to order it or recommend it to a friend. Keep your name short and simple. Unlike long URLs, your customers won’t be able to bookmark your beer’s name then look it up when they want to order or share with a friend. Overly Friendly IPA from Holy City sounds like a sharable beer, maybe a bit too much.
2. Make it Sing
Put those ENG 101 classes you took to work using some literary devices. Names that rhyme or use alliteration can make memorable names. Humor can be a great tool for naming beers too and though puns may be low-class humor, beer-related punny names are popular. Lagunita’s A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale is a good example of a beer name that sings.
3. Show some Class
Keeping it classy is a good principle to guide not only naming, but all sorts of branding and marketing decisions. You might be tempted to “disrupt the market” by being on the fringes of good taste or outright offensive, but naming your beer something that your grandmother wouldn’t order out loud is probably not where you want to be. Sexist, racist, and homophobic names may be a cheap way to get short-term media attention, but is bad for building a long-term customer base. Grandma would probably approve of Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout; it’s a classy name and oatmeal will keep you warm.
There are some terrible names for some really good beer out there; follow these rules and you might not fall in the same trap and you just might pick up some new fans because your name got their attention.