Here Are The Stories Behind Those Confounding Brewery Names

Photo by Jonny Healy

Since the dawn of beer industry, there has primarily been two ways to name a brewery. You either name it after the person brewing the beer, or you name it after the place where the beer is brewed.

But with the rise of craft beer has emerged a third way to name a brewery: By whatever creative catchy word or phrase is meaningful or interesting to the owners. Sometimes these names evoke an ideal. Sometimes they’re gibberish. Occasionally, they’re confusing to the public.

Rather than let you, devoted reader, toil away in such confusion, I’ve compiled a list of some of the local brewery names with the most interesting or confounding names. You’re welcome.

33 Acres

The name’s an evocation, a made up term that to the owners means “success through hard work.” It’s meant to illustrate their grassroots approach to brewing and to business. The word “acres”, which conjures images of fields and farms, was chosen to signify the hard work put into building the brewery. In numerology, the number 33 means “success” (though more in terms of accomplishment rather than in finances). Heady stuff.


“Bomber” was the name of the hockey team through which the brewery founders all met and played on together. When brewmaster Blair Calibaba started bringing his homebrewed pilsner in for locker-room beer, they cheekily referred to it as Bomber Brewing. The hockey team name doesn’t hold any significant meaning – the team founders made it up about a decade ago.


The word “brassneck” is an English idiom for doing something with extreme confidence, even if others think you’re wrong for doing it.It’s also the name of co-owner Nigel Springthorpe’s favourite song by UK indie rock band The Wedding Present, as well as his favourite character in Dandy, the long-running UK children’s comic strip.


Canada’s first collaboration brewery is named after Callister Park off Vancouver’s Renfrew Street, which was once home to a sports stadium until it was torn down in 1971. Chris Lay, Callister Brewing’s founder and brewer, named the brewery in honour of his grandfather, the stadium’s long-time caretaker, who lived in a suite in the stadium.

Category 12

It doesn’t mean anything. It’s a fictional scientific term that alludes to head brewer/owner Michael Kuzyk’s previous career as a scientist.


Dageraad is a square in Antwerp, where several of owner/brewmaster Ben Coli’s friends live. He says, “It’s a nice place to get a beer.”

Dead Frog

It doesn’t mean anything. The name came out of a brainstorming session, where the owners were searching for a name that was sarcastic, irreverent and vaguely environmental.

Foamers’ Folly

The owners wanted a railway-themed name, after locking down their facility next to the train tracks running through Pitt Meadows. They settled on “foamer,” which is railroad industry slang for someone who’s obsessed with trains (like this guy), and which also conjures images of foaming beer. “Folly,” according to one staffer, was used in the sense of “trials” or  “tests” (given the amount of test and experimental batches the brewery produces).

Luppolo Brewing

The brewery (opening this summer) is named after the Italian word for “hops.”

Moon Under Water

The name refers to the George Orwell essay “The Moon Under Water,” published in 1946, in which the writer provided a detailed description of his ideal pub, a fictional place called Moon Under Water.

Off the Rail

The term “off the rails” normally applies to someone going crazy. In this case, the name is an allusion to OTR owner Steve Forsyth’s former bar/lounge/club, the Railway Club. He sold it to open the brewery, at which time he went off the Rail(way Club) and on to something else.


In Greek mythology, Persephone is the daughter of Zeus. It’s also the name of the tugboat used in TheBeachcombers, the CBC TV show set and filmed in Gibsons (where the brewery is located). As mentioned previously, owner Mark Brand originally wanted to call the brewery Beachcomber Brewery but opted for Persephone after a spat with Vancouver Island Brewing.

Red Collar

The name references the red collar worn by head brewer/owner David Beardsell’s family dog, a black lab named Goosey.

Steel & Oak

The name is a play on New Westminster’s history and it’s future. When New West was founded, it was built on the strength of wood and wood structures. Now, it’s built on steel and concrete. To owner/operator Jorden Foss, the city and the name reflect the beer made in-house, which is “forward thinking” but which “never forgets to consider the past.” (Their beer is also brewed in steel and oak vessels.)

Steel Toad

Like the other amphibian-referencing brewery on this list, Steel Toad also means nothing. The owners made it up because they liked the sound of it, then planned to create a series of fictional backstories and see which one stuck with the public. But they only ever created one of these – that the machinists, blacksmiths and others who worked in the building long ago were called “toads,” and because they worked with steel, they were called “steel toads.” But again, this isn’t true.

Strange Fellows

As co-owner/brewmaster Iain Hill tells it, when he and Aaron Jocktree started working on the brewery, they had a difficult time agreeing on a name. They eventually settled on Low Countries Brewing, which refers to the coastal region of Western Europe that includes the Netherlands, Belgium, parts of France and Germany (and where Hill’s style of brewing is greatly inspired by). But they discovered that people actually hated the name, so they decided to change it (though have kept Low Countries as the brewery’s legal name).

“That turned into a giant ball of shit,” Hill says. “It became so arduous coming up with another name.”

Hill’s and Jocktree’s personalities clashed over the process, which became so fraught that they came close to dissolving their partnership over it. If they couldn’t agree on a name, how could they agree on anything else?

Finally, one night, Hill, Jocktree and their wives were having dinner and listing off potential names. Hill’s wife, Christine, suggested Strange Fellows.

“You guys are strange fellows,” she said.

“Or, estranged fellows?” Hill quipped.

The name stuck, though it didn’t mean anything specific at the time. But like any great brewery (or band, or book, or whatever) name, it’s taken on a different meanings depending on the person thinking about it. (It’s also my favourite, in case you’ve been wondering.)

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Here Are The Stories Behind Those Confounding Brewery Names

Here Are The Stories Behind Those Confounding Brewery Names

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