Thursday, February 07, 2008

Bloggin the Bog

So our very-soon-to-be-released seasonal, named Bog Water, is already getting folks talking (read: typing) over on the BarTowel forum. The BarTowel is a great online discussion forum for all things beer in Ontario. They also host the Golden Tap awards, which we've won two of so far.

So anyway, they're having a conversation back and forth about whether giving Bog Water such an absurd name is a good thing or a bad thing. It got me thinking about how we actually came up with the name and how we developed the recipe.

BELOW: A typical bog with a walk (BogWalker).

One year before our actual launch, when we were in the depths of business plans and investor pitches, my dad, mom, sister and Kevin (her husband) and my wife and I went on a camping retreat. Basically, we discussed strategy while failing miserably to catch a fish, and then roasted "[insert objectionable incest reference here]s," a concoction my friends Eddy and JimmyRye invented involving marshmallows and hotdogs.

We picked up a bunch of Muskoka's beer 'cause we were just outside Huntsville, and started talking about names. At that point we had tentatively named the company Beau's Brewing Company and we had already landed on LugTread, but at that time we wanted to start off with three full time brands (until we learned what a logistical nightmare that would have been).

We have a goal to promote Eastern Ontario with everything we do, so we wanted to find names that would celebrate the local history, landscape etc. But we also wanted the name to stand out, be different, and hopefully be kind of fun, too.

I had printed out a list of all the endangered plants and animals that live in the nearby Alfred Bog (the largest and highest-quality bog remaining in Southern Ontario) that I had found on the Internet. So for a while we tried to come up with names that would pay homage to the Bog Elfin Butterfly, Fletcher's Dragonfly, Spotted Turtle, Red-shouldered Hawk, Golden Eagle, White Fringed Orchid, Atlantic Sedge or Rhodora, but nothing was sticking (fancy that).

That is until my Dad said, instead of the animals, why don't we name it after the bog, and call it Bog Water? At first, I have to admit, I thought it was a good joke, but nothing we would ever seriously consider. Who would drink something called BogWater? But he wouldn't let it drop, and it got funnier and funnier every time he brought it up.

What really changed it for me was when we had another strategy session over another fish that got away, and decided that we would specialize in all natural beer: all malt, certified organic, spring water, yadda yadda.

When we came back to BogWater, this time I threw the words All Natural in front. "All Natural Bog Water..." Now I loved it! It was funny, offputting at first, but intruiging at the same time. I loved it so much, I started throwing the All Natural phrase in front of everything I saw: "All Natural picnic table!" "All Natural "[insert objectionable incest reference here]!" and then all of a sudden... "Beau's All Natural Brewing Co."

Sometime in future blogs I'll write about other neat stuff about Bog Water: how we decided on the actual make up of the beer, how we got the bogmyrtle harvested (let's just say it wasn't easy), and how our brewer Matt had to develop a balanced beer using a wild-growing herb that had no commercial references to draw from.... but that's... another story.

Cheers, Steve


steve said...

I can't believe I've been censored by my own sister. Big brother, yeah right...big sister is the real villian.

Elmdale House Tavern said...

Hey Steve. We tapped the Bog Water last night and it's a hit. Everyone who tried it loved it, includeing myself ;)
Cheers, Nat

steve said...

That's awesome Nat, glad its going over well!

David R said...

Hey Steve, hope all is well,

I actually like the Bog water name... Could you throw in Yoda somewhere on the label... if you don't get it, it's because you are too old... ask Phil :-) keep up the good work, I prefer darker I am awaiting this one...


Michael said...

Considering one of my favorite beers is Wytchwood's Dog's Bollocks I think you are being subtle.

Michael said...

FWIW: Is Sweet Gale also a creative workaround to the hops shortage? If so good on ya for figuring out something local that works.

steve said...

Hey Michael,

It wasn't intended to be a workaround (and truth be told, contracting someone to harvest Sweet Gale by hand in the wilderness is still more expensive than the current price of hops) but as the hops shortage plays out, Sweet Gale may start to play an increasing role in brewing again.