How 15 Breweries Got Their Names

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As these brewers have learned, a great name can make marketing a great beer that much easier. Crack open your favorite ale or lager and learn about how some of the American brewing scene’s heavyweights got their names.

1. Founders 

One of Michigan’s most beloved breweries, Founders was originally called "Canal Street Brewing Company" when it opened in 1996. The brewery was named after an area in Grand Rapids where many breweries were located in the 19th century, and since Canal Street’s labels featured images of these breweries’ founders, the upstart was soon nicknamed "Founders."

2. New Belgium 

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The brewery, located in Fort Collins, Colorado is well known for its flagship beer, Fat Tire. The story behind that beer’s name is intertwined with the naming of the brewery itself. In 1989, co-founder Jeff Lebesch was biking around Belgium, sampling the local brews. He returned home with an idea to open a brewery, and to pay homage to the European nation that inspired him, he named it New Belgium

3. Sierra Nevada 

Founded in 1979, Sierra Nevada is the second best-selling craft brewery in the U.S., behind only the Boston Beer Company. Its name came from founder Ken Grossman’s favorite outdoor playground: the Sierra Nevada mountain range. 

4. Dogfish Head 

Founded in 1995 by brewer Sam Calagione, Dogfish Head is famous for their inventive beers and wide range of IPAs. Calagione's dad suggested the name—which comes from a street in Southport, Maine called Dogfish Head Roadas they jogged past the street sign near the family's summer home.

5. Lagunitas

Founded in 1993 by Tony Magee, Lagunitas is famous for its hop-centric, west coast IPAs. Although it is located in Petaluma, Calif., the brewery is named after its original home base of Lagunitas, Calif. Since the company already had a following when it moved, it stuck with the original geographic moniker. 

6. Goose Island 

Based in Chicago, Goose Island started by brewing out of the Clybourn Brewpub back in 1988. The brewery is named for nearby Goose Island, an artificial island in the middle of the Chicago River.

7. Avery 

The well-respected brewery in Boulder, Colo. has been crafting high-quality libations since 1993. The brewery was named after founder and avid home brewer Adam Avery

8. Deschutes 

Founded in 1988 in Bend, Oreg., Deschutes is widely known for its inventive offerings such as Black Butte Porter, Mirror Pond Pale Ale and Inversion IPA. When Gary Fish founded the brewpub that would eventually become the brewery, he named it in honor of the nearby Deschutes River. 

9. Flying Dog 

The Frederick, Md. brewery was originally located in the beer mecca of Colorado and was named after a 1983 mountain climbing expedition in which founder George Stranahan and friends climbed K2 (the second-highest summit in the world). After the climb, the pals were enjoying a drink at a bar in Pakistan when they noticed a painting of a pack of dogs that appeared to be flying. Stranahan named the brewery to pay tribute to that expedition and to his relationship with his fellow climbers.

10. Abita 

Famous for their Purple Haze that is brewed with real raspberries, Abita is a brewery that sits 30 miles north of New Orleans. The brewery gets its name from the town of Abita Springs, which was originally a Choctaw Indian village. The etymology of the word "Abita," however, is unclear.

11. Ommegang 

The brewery has been crafting authentic Belgian-style beer since beer importers Wendy Littlefield and Don Feinberg opened its doors in 1997. This brewery, located a few miles south of Cooperstown, N.Y. gets its name from the Dutch. "Ommegang" means "walk around" or "to walk." An annual festival of the same name in Brussels has been commemorating the first visit of Emperor Charles V to the city since 1549. 

12. Boulevard 

Located in Kansas City, Mo., Boulevard was founded in 1988 by John McDonald, who invested his entire savings and inheritance into starting the brand. The name comes from the area where the brewery is located, along Kansas City’s Southwest Boulevard.

13. Shiner 

Shiner is the brand name for the beer produced at the Spoetzl Brewery. Famous for their Shiner Bock, the brewery is owned by the Gambrinus family and is the oldest independent brewery in Texas (founded in 1909). It got its name simply because the brewery is located in Shiner, Texas. 

14. Smuttynose 

This Portsmouth, N.H. brewery was founded in 1994 and takes its name from Smuttynose Island, one of the Isle of Shoals that sit between coastal New Hampshire and Maine.  

15. 21st Amendment 

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Shaun O’Sullivan and Nico Freccia named their San Francisco-based brewery 21st Amendment in a nod to the constitutional amendment that repealed prohibition and kick-started the local bars' slow climb back to being the neighborhood gathering place.

Today's Wine Glasses Are Almost Seven Times Larger Than They Were in 1700

Holiday party season (a.k.a. hangover season) is in full swing. While you likely have no one to blame but yourself for drinking that second (or third) pour at the office soiree, your glassware isn't doing you any favors—especially if you live in the UK. Vino vessels in England are nearly seven times larger today than they were in 1700, according to a new study spotted by Live Science. These findings were recently published in the English medical journal The BMJ.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge measured more than 400 wineglasses from the past three centuries to gauge whether glass size affects how much we drink. They dug deep into the history of parties past, perusing both the collections of the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology at the University of Oxford and the Royal Household's assemblage of glassware (a new set is commissioned for each monarch). They also scoured a vintage catalog, a modern department store, and eBay for examples.

After measuring these cups, researchers concluded that the average wineglass in 1700 held just 2.2 fluid ounces. For comparison's sake, that's the size of a double shot at a bar. Glasses today hold an average of 15.2 fluid ounces, even though a standard single serving size of wine is just 5 ounces.

BMJ infographic detailing increases in wine glass size from 1700 to 2017
BMJ Publishing group Ltd.

Advances in technology and manufacturing are partly to blame for this increase, as is the wine industry. Marketing campaigns promoted the beverage as it increasingly became more affordable and available for purchase, which in turn prompted aficionados to opt for larger pours. Perhaps not surprisingly, this bigger-is-better mindset was also compounded by American drinking habits: Extra-large wineglasses became popular in the U.S. in the 1990s, prompting overseas manufacturers to follow suit.

Wine consumption in both England and America has risen dramatically since the 1960s [PDF]. Cambridge researchers noted that their study doesn't necessarily prove that the rise of super-sized glassware has led to this increase. But their findings do fit a larger trend: previous studies have found that larger plate size can increase food consumption. This might be because they skew our sense of perception, making us think we're consuming less than we actually are. And in the case of wine, in particular, oversized glasses could also heighten our sensory enjoyment, as they might release more of the drink's aroma.

“We cannot infer that the increase in glass size and the rise in wine consumption in England are causally linked,” the study's authors wrote. “Nor can we infer that reducing glass size would cut drinking. Our observation of increasing size does, however, draw attention to wine glass size as an area to investigate further in the context of population health.”

[h/t Live Science]

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84 Years Ago Today: Goodbye Prohibition!
A huge queue outside the Board of Health offices in Centre Street, New York, for licenses to sell alcohol shortly after the repeal of prohibition. The repeal of prohibition was a key policy of Franklin Roosevelt's government as it allowed the government an opportunity to raise tax revenues at a time of economic hardship.
A huge queue outside the Board of Health offices in Centre Street, New York, for licenses to sell alcohol shortly after the repeal of prohibition. The repeal of prohibition was a key policy of Franklin Roosevelt's government as it allowed the government an opportunity to raise tax revenues at a time of economic hardship.
Keystone/Getty Images

It was 84 years ago today that the Twenty-First Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, repealing the earlier Amendment that declared the manufacture, sale, and transport of alcohol illegal in the United States. Prohibition was over! Booze that had been illegal for 13 years was suddenly legal again, and our long national nightmare was finally over.

A giant barrel of beer, part of a demonstration against prohibition in America.
Henry Guttmann/Getty Images

Prohibition of alcohol was not a popular doctrine. It turned formerly law-abiding citizens into criminals. It overwhelmed police with enforcement duties and gave rise to organized crime. In cities like Milwaukee and St. Louis, the dismantling of breweries left thousands of people unemployed.

Photograph courtesy of the Boston Public Library

Homemade alcohol was often dangerous and some people died from drinking it. Some turned to Sterno or industrial alcohol, which was dangerous and sometimes poisoned by the government to discourage drinking. State and federal governments were spending a lot of money on enforcement, while missing out on taxes from alcohol.

New York City Deputy Police Commissioner John A. Leach (right) watches agents pour liquor into sewer following a raid during the height of Prohibition.

The midterm elections of 1930 saw the majority in Congress switch from Republican to Democratic, signaling a shift in public opinion about Prohibition as well as concerns about the depressed economy. Franklin Roosevelt, who urged repeal, was elected president in 1932. The Twenty-first Amendment to the Constitution was proposed by Congress in February of 1933, the sole purpose of which was to repeal the Eighteenth Amendment establishing Prohibition.

American men guarding their private beer brewing hide-out, during Prohibition.
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With passage of the Constitutional Amendment to repeal Prohibition a foregone conclusion, a huge number of businessmen lined up at the Board of Health offices in New York in April of 1933 to apply for liquor licenses to be issued as soon as the repeal was ratified.

The Amendment was ratified by the states by the mechanism of special state ratifying conventions instead of state legislatures. Many states ratified the repeal as soon as conventions could be organized. The ratifications by the required two-thirds of the states was achieved on December 5, 1933, when conventions in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Utah agreed to repeal Prohibition through the Amendment.

Workmen unloading crates of beer stacked at a New York brewery shortly after the repeal of Prohibition.
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A brewery warehouse in New York stacked crates past the ceiling to satisfy a thirsty nation after the repeal of Prohibition.

Keystone/Getty Images

Liquor wouldn't officially be legal until December 15th, but Americans celebrated openly anyway, and in most places, law enforcement officials let them.


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