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In 2019 there are over seven thousand breweries in the US, and there are reportedly more than two thousand in planning. And what is the one thing they all must have – other than beer of course? They need a name. A different name.

The brewery name may be one of the most important influences on a brewery’s success. What does it say about the kind of people they want to attract? What vibe or feeling does it express? What does it say about the brewery’s ownership? What is the brand they are “putting out there” as part of their strategy to survive and hopefully thrive?

I remember asking Tom Kehoe why he named his brewery “Yards”. He told me that he liked British ales and he thought “Yards” sounded British. When I asked Jean Broillet why his brewery was going to be called “Tired Hands” he told me it was supposed to represent hard work and craftsmanship, like in the farmhouse.

A key to many craft breweries success is their “hyper-local” identification with the community. To emphasize this quality most breweries tend to name themselves after the local town, geographical feature or community symbol. The Philly area locally named breweries include Philadelphia Brewing, Conshohocken, Wissahickon, Manayunk, Chestnut Hill, Neshaminy Creek. Even the old favorite Iron Hill is related to a locally famous hill in the state of Delaware where a revolutionary war battle was fought.

But are we running out of cool names? Are we running out of brewer creativity? I think not. I recently went through the some seven thousand brewery names as published in “The New Brewer” magazine from the Brewers Association, and came up with list of 80 that I think are the most creative and interesting. You may not agree, but I am the one that went through them all – so it’s my list of the top brewery names 80 by category:

Great Notion
Sick and Twisted
Pig Minds
Basket Case
Brain Dead
Knuckle Head
A B Normal
Bad Dream
No Clue
Nothings Left
Ass Clown
Problem Solved
Falling Down

LEGAL: (8)
Dubious Claims
Exit Strategy
Legal Remedy
Unlawful Assembly
Lost Shirt
Two Weeks Notice
Civil Life

ANIMALS (Non-Goat): (20)
Barking Duck
Twisted Hippo
Dead Armadillo
Hairless Hare
Neon Groundhog
Super Owl
Hoppy Trout
Swine City
Mad Mole
Angry Minnow
Smiling Toad
Boxing Bear
Flying Basset
Kozy Yak
Drunken Rabbit
Mellow Mink
Belching Beaver
Daft Badger
Rocket Frog

GOAT: (10)
Goat Lips Chew & Brew
Heavenly Goat
Two Goats
Abbey of the Holy Goats
Crooked Goat
Fainting Goat
Gilded Goat
Iron Goat
6 Bears and a Goat
A Few Old Goats

Grains of Wrath
Beer Naked
Snitz Creek
Against the Grain
Hop Secret
Moody Brews
Rough Draft
Brew D’Etat
Final Draft

Lincoln’s Beard
Burning Beard
Frothy Beard
Bearded Iris

Wooden Robot
Left Nut
Shaggy Ass
Dead Hippie
Angry Chair
Toxic Brew
Weasel Boy
Lord Hobo
Salmon Pants
Square Wheel