Thursday, 16 May 2013

What's in a Name?

Who knew that the hardest part of making a beer was coming up with a name?   This was something that we found out when we were racking our brains for weeks before we settled on 'Origin'.  The very first thing that you need to ask yourself is "What's in a name?"  What I mean by that is what constitutes a good name for a beer?

There are many beers from around the world, and just as many names. The names which tend to stick with the consumer are the ones which provide some sort of emotional connection with them. This is accomplished in many ways, but how were we going to find the right name for this year's Natural Selection beer? Im going to take you through the intriguing process of coming up with 'Origin'.

The naming process began for us when the project team for 2013 was chosen all the way back in November 2012. During the very first meeting recipes, events, social media and names were all being discussed. Let me rephrase that, it wasn't so much the actual name which was being discussed, but more the theme of the name which was being discussed.  Do we stick with a Darwin/natural selection theme, such as ‘Finch’, or do we go off in a different direction and create a unique identity such as ‘Anorak’?

This was a continuous thorn in our side over the next couple of weeks. Names were thought of, but none really stuck. That was until we were all stuck in a room together on April 5 during a brew day. We decided that we would conduct a bit of a ‘naming’ exercise. Since we have a percentage of rye in our product, we thought it would be a good idea to try and work the word ‘rye’ into any popular theme we could think of….starting with Bond movies. Here are a list of names which were thought up that day (WARNING: Contains mind-blowingly awesome names):

Ryefall ©
Live and Let Rye ©
Rye Another Day ©
The Living Ryelights ©
Ryepussy ©
From Ryessia with Love ©
Ryemonds are Forever ©
Casino Ryeal ©
Tomorrow Never Ryes ©
Moonryeker ©
Thunder Rye ©
Dr. Rye ©
Ryefinger ©
You only Rye Twice ©
On Her Majesty’s Secret Rye ©
The Man With the Golden Rye ©
The Rye to a Kill ©
Quantum of Ryeace ©
The Spy Who Ryed Me ©
For Your Ryes Only ©
License to Rye ©
The Rye is Not Enough ©
Never Say Rye Again ©

After all this excitement, and multiple other pop culture references, we ended up liking the sound of Saison “Rye’al (Rhymes with Royale). This name would stick with the project for a few weeks as the trial batches began to take shape. As time wore on, we found that the name did not have the staying power that we had first assumed, and there was some disagreement among the group members as to whether we should keep it. This is by far the hardest step to push past. Getting everyone involved in the project agreeing upon something as central as the name is extremely tough. Everyone has their own ideas, their own styles which they will put forward. Personally, I thought that I had some dead on winners, but they didn’t always catch on with the other guys. It is only after you take a step back and realise that at some point everyone is going to have to concede on one topic or another, that a final name can be chosen.

It was around about April 26th that we all fell upon a name which was originally brought to our attention by Bruce’s dad, ‘Origin’. My original feeling on the name was that it was slightly tacky, and was sure that it had been used before. That being said, these are the feelings which you have to push past to get anything done in a group project of this nature. We were decided, the 2013 Natural Selection beer would be called ‘Origin’. It was only after saying the name a couple times, having it attached to the project for a couple of meetings that I realised it was perfect. It had an original feel, had a connection to the theme of the project, and just sounded damn cool. Im not sure if this is the path that other brands have followed. For all I know it could have been the path less travelled, but it was our path, and now its a path a little more trod upon.

Patrick Howell
Natural Selection Brewing

As a side note, here are some other notable names which were brought forward during this process, so you can see how widely scattered the ideas were:

Nelson's Harvest
Nelson's Reap (This was a no-go, as it sounded too much like rape)
Chuck (Short for Charles)
Plinian (a society Darwin was a member of at the University of Edinburgh)

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