Birth of a Village Character
It is a question we often get at Village – “How do you decide what to brew next?”
This is a great question, and I’m going to attempt to show you how ridiculous our process is. There are a few important layers to this process, and in Village’s case, a few unorthodox layers as well.
If you have been following along, each beer we put out represents a character in the Village. We started with the Village Blonde and Village Blacksmith, and shortly after added characters like the Village Wit and seasonals like the Village Monk. To date, we have introduced 26 characters in our village.
The really meaningful aspect of our beers, and something that not everyone knows is that each of these characters is a real person. When you look at a 6-pack box of Village Blonde or Village Neighbour, the photo on that box is an actual member of our Village family. The Village Blonde is Jim’s Mom, the Village Neighbour is Petey’s Grandmother, The Village Wit is Allan’s Grandfather, and the list goes on.
Next time you are passing out bottles from a 6-pack of one of our beers, check out the story on the bottom of the box to find out whose family member it is, and the story behind them.
It’s five layers of complexity to come up with a name. Usually, it starts with a beer style, then we have to think of a name that represents a character in the Village, find a photo of a Village family member and then figure out how to describe the beer. Then tie all these elements together to create a new member of our growing family of Village characters.
Now the first step of this process is this - Twice a year as a team we all sit down in our taproom. We grab a pint and some paper and start to brainstorm the beer styles that we want to make for our upcoming line-up of seasonal’s and features for the year. When we have eventually narrowed it down to one beer for each up-coming seasonal, the interesting part begins.
Sometimes we have a staff member with an awesome photo that can’t wait to get it on a beer, and the name fits naturally with the beer and viola, a beer is born (this was the case for the Village Woodsman). Other times the marketing team has a name that they want to use, and the staff is sent shuffling through old photos until a perfect fit is found (this would be the case for the Village Squeeze).
We laugh at ourselves at times, when we have an awesome beer style, a perfect name, and we are all looking for photos of relatives, digging up family stories looking for our next character.
We know this is an unorthodox way of making beer brands, and that’s the point. It’s important to us that we create a Village with true meaning and real characters. So that when we pour those first few pints of a new beer, we all cheers, and someone asks - How did you guys get to this name? We have a real story to share. And sometime you will be sitting beside someone related to that character…and when you do, make sure they buy you a pint cause that’s just the neighbourly thing to do isn’t it.