Craft Breweries Fighting Over Ever-Dwindling Supply Of Puns About Hops

Image courtesy of .sanden.

If you enjoy wordplay and are able to come up with plentiful puns involving the words “Hops” or perhaps “Ale,” there may be a job for you in the craft beer industry. With thousands of small breweries trying to out-clever themselves with memorable product names, the inevitable has happened: the English-speaking world has run out of silly beer names.

Here’s a fun yet illustrative example: Saugatuck Brewing Company advertised a fake beer called ‘Murica to make fun of Budweiser’s rebranding of their flagship brew as “America” through the 2016 presidential election. Yet a New Zealand company used that name for an actual American pale ale in 2014. That might not have caused a trademark dispute, but it was a little bit confusing.

“We’re literally running out of words in the English language that haven’t already been taken,” a lawyer who deals with beer name trademark cases told the Wall Street Journal, as someone probably scampered off to trademark “Literally Running Out of Words” as a beer name. Yes, as we first told you back in 2015, beer lawyer is an actual job that someone has.

One company, Mike Hess Brewing, went beyond the English language and started making up vaguely Latin-ish beer names like Claritas or Habitus. The problem? Those names don’t really mean anything to people, and they struggle to pronounce them, which just means skipping to something else on the beer menu.

Worse: names that one would think are pretty neutral, like “India Pale Ale,” can lead to lawsuits over logos that are too similar, which was one dispute between craft beer giants Sierra Nevada and Lagunitas.

Meanwhile, readers collectively failed our quiz asking you to tell apart the names of roller derby players and craft beers, showing that either both groups are about to run out of fun names, and perhaps they should begin stealing from each other, since the public can’t tell the difference.

If any brewery owners are reading this, we found some names while researching that quiz that you could immediately turn into beer brands. The list of Roller Derby names that we consulted is not short on “hop” puns that could be translated into beers: Border HopHer, Grr Azz Hopper, Hop Goblyn, Hop Rod, Hopalong Cassidy, Hops Scotch, Rockhopper, Shock Hop — along with other potential brews like Baby Beerest, Beer Necessities, Buzz Lightbeer, Ivanna Beer, Bama Brewser, Brew HaHa!, Brewella De-Vil, BrewsMaster, and Brewski Punkster… just to name a few.

Hopportunity Cost: Craft Brewers Brawl Over Catchy Names as Puns Run Dry [Wall Street Journal] (Thanks, Julia!)

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.