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Thread: Thoughts on using last name as company name

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    8

    Thoughts on using last name as company name

    Hi guys,

    I am planning a brewery and am going through the process of trying to figure out a company name. I would like to use my last name but is there some sort of unwritten rule about not using it in the craft brewing community? You would think that more people would use their last name, but I can't think of any recent (past 25 years) breweries that use their last name other than Schlafly.

    My last name is of German decent so it would be atleast somewhat fitting being that beer is so popular in Germany. My last name is not Von Wolfhausen by the way...

    Please give me your thoughts and more info on this topic if you can.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Amherst, MA USA
    Posts
    319

    there are at least a few

    Last names
    Avery
    Bruery (Rue)
    Coors
    Gordon Biersch
    Hill farmstead


    local to me in Massachusetts
    Jacks Abby (his and her first name)
    Cody Brewing
    Brewmaster Jack (first name)

    There are plenty more I am sure...
    ________________
    Matthew Steinberg

    Brewer
    High Horse
    Amherst, MA

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    16
    Quote Originally Posted by Von Wolfhausen
    Hi guys,

    I am planning a brewery and am going through the process of trying to figure out a company name. I would like to use my last name but is there some sort of unwritten rule about not using it in the craft brewing community? You would think that more people would use their last name, but I can't think of any recent (past 25 years) breweries that use their last name other than Schlafly.

    My last name is of German decent so it would be atleast somewhat fitting being that beer is so popular in Germany. My last name is not Von Wolfhausen by the way...

    Please give me your thoughts and more info on this topic if you can.

    Thanks
    ENEGREN BREWING CO, CA

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Chestertown, Maryland
    Posts
    380
    I'd say unless there's a copyright conflict in some way (ex., my last name is "Budweiser!") why not do it?

    There are few ways more to put your name behind the product than going that route... some may see it as ego, but more would likely see it as pride.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Florence, Alabama
    Posts
    325
    Bell's ... started by Larry Bell... OK, so they were known as Kalamazoo Brewing Co. for a long time, but even then "Bell's" was sort of an unofficial name and appeared on several labels

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Greater NYC area
    Posts
    118
    With a name like Von Wolfhausen????

    You almost HAVE to use that as the brewery name.
    If the name is available, go for it.
    Definitely.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Florence, Alabama
    Posts
    325
    Quote Originally Posted by LuskusDelph
    With a name like Von Wolfhausen????

    You almost HAVE to use that as the brewery name.
    If the name is available, go for it.
    Definitely.

    umm... read the post again... he said that isn't his name.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Solon, IA
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    262

    Simplify, simplify

    So many breweries are trying to be witty with their names, and so few actually are, that it seems like a good idea to me to use your last name as the brewery name.

    Besides, if you remove the asinine naming schemes, you can focus on creating great beers.

    Bill

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Florence, Alabama
    Posts
    325
    Quote Originally Posted by william.heinric
    So many breweries are trying to be witty with their names, and so few actually are, that it seems like a good idea to me to use your last name as the brewery name.

    Besides, if you remove the asinine naming schemes, you can focus on creating great beers.

    Bill
    Good point. While I may admire the beers that some of those places make, the names can be off-putting in a "hey, we're trendy!" kind of way. I fear that at some point it could backfire on some of them. Personally, (and it is my opinion, opinions like armpits, yadda, yadda...) I favor names that have clear, personal or community meanings... a last name, a city name or nickname, name of a natural feature, etc. I would rather drink a beer called Silver-Leaf Creek Pale Ale than Purple Wizzing Cat I think that, in the end, more traditional names will have a greater longevity.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Baton Rouge, LA
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    618
    Quote Originally Posted by Bham Brewer
    umm... read the post again... he said that isn't his name.
    But it would be a great Brewery name...
    Operations Director, Tin Roof BC
    ted@tinroofbeer.com
    "Your results may vary"

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Greater NYC area
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    118
    Quote Originally Posted by Bham Brewer
    umm... read the post again... he said that isn't his name.

    awww...dang it! I missed that!!! (that speed reading course I took 25 years ago strikes again)

    I still like the name, though.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    9
    isn't that name the same name in that beerfest movie?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    little rock,AR united states
    Posts
    8

    Brewery name

    I personaly don't think that it is a good idea. If you ever sell the name , or brewery, you have already sold yourself. I would do some research and find a name that hasn't been used before. As soon as you go public, the locals are going to know your name anyway. For example, the original street name of the location that your brewery will be located at would be nice. It would also be paying respects to the heritage of your great new brewery. Good luck.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Hyattsville,MD
    Posts
    284
    Original street name of your brewery as a name might seem nice, but what happens when you out grow your location and you have to move locations? So you're now the Main Street Brewing Company that's located on Oak St. Better yet you name your brewery after the town/city your brewery is in, but then you have to expand and relocate again,and now you're the Springfield Brewery...in Shelbyville. Hey maybe you're the Main Street Brewing Company located in a town that doesn't even have a Main St (what are the odds?).

    My belief is if you're a brewpub then by all means, connect with the area if you so desire, choose to name yourself after a town,street or local landmark. Chances are you're not going to move your location, so that name is safe. But the odds are slightly against you to build strong enough branding that you will ever be more than a local brew pub...and there's nothing wrong with that.

    When it comes to a packaging brewery however, the ultimate goal is growth. Growth means higher volume and for most breweries that means expanded territory. The further you expand your brand then the less impact a street name or small town name may have. We've seen a great number of odd named (historically speaking) breweries open up in the last decade or so. These names may not have that traditional ring like a family name,local street/town/icon landmark ect. but they are catchy and most importantly defining. If you're going sell your brand outside of your local territory then you're going to have to distinguish yourself with an attractive name/package.

    We'd all like to think that making great beer should be enough, but I've seen breweries that make great beer go out of business because their branding simply didn't resonate with customers outside of their local market.
    Cheers,
    Mike Roy
    Brewer
    Franklins Restaurant,Brewery & General Store
    Hyattsville,MD

    Franklinsbrewery.com
    @franklinsbrwry
    facebook.com/franklinsbrewery
    Franklinsbrewery.blogspot.com

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    8
    Thanks for all of your input guys.

    To Refined Ale: I wouldn't plan on selling the company or anything like that so I'm not too worried about that. I appreciate your thoughts though.

    To MikeRoy: good point about the street/city name. I would like to be involved in a packaging brewery as soon as things get established and settled so I don't think a street name would be the best because re-locations are always possible with growth.

    To everyone else: thanks again for your input and keep more opinions coming. I'm still interested to hear what others think.

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