WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - To make beer, breweries need grain, hops, yeast, water and a little creativity too.
Brewers need to name and label their beers, and in North Carolina that requires approval from the state ABC Commission.
Last fiscal year 19,000 new beer and wine products were approved for sale by the NC ABC Commission, according to Kat Haney, Public Affairs Director for the NC ABC Commission.
It’s a tall task to come up with a name and label that is unique and eye catching, yet doesn’t catch the ire of the ABC.
We uncovered about 230 labels since 2002 were rejected for various reasons.
Products with names like “Beergasm,” “Kissing Cousins,” “Daddy Needs His Juice,” and “Wine for the Super Hero” did not make the cut.
Reasons for rejection include nudity or anything that is obscene or indecent. Additionally, beer and wine labels that show the American flag or other symbols of the armed forces won’t get past the ABC board either.
Wilmington Brewing Company Owner Michelle Savard said naming the products is challenging, yet she enjoys the creativity that goes into it.
“It’s hard to come up with a truly original name because there’s hundreds of thousands in the country, so to really land on one that hasn’t been used and to be able to use it is tough,” she said.
Tropical Lightning is one of the brewery’s most popular beers, and its name came from a strike of inspiration from her husband.
“I think John said Tropic Thunder. Since that was the movie, we didn’t want to cease-and-desist letter so then we landed on Tropical Lightning and it just stuck," Savard explained.
The brewery pumps out a new IPA about every three weeks.
With each brew, Savard sends an application and a $10 check to the state ABC for its stamp of approval.
She said only once did a name get rejected.
Wilmington Brewing Company got the OK for “All the Cool Kids Are Doing It,” but when it made a hoppier version later, it did not get by the ABC. The state said no to “All the Cool Kids Are Doing It Volume Two.”
"It was approved at one point so it was a funny little snafu,” Savard said.
The reason: the ABC tosses a beverage if the commission thinks it will appeal to those who are under age. That’s the reason cited by the ABC for nixing Victory Brewing Company’s Juice Boost Sour Ale and Clown Shoe’s Miracle IPA and Galacticake Double IPA.
“We don’t feel it’s really pushing the boundaries too much,” said Brewmaster Jon Lee, about the beer that pokes fun at the state’s polygamous past. “We’re from Utah. It’s a tongue and cheek name. Obviously, we’re not trying to promote anything.”
The letter from North Carolina said the brew could not be sold in North Carolina because “Polygamy is illegal.”
The state rejects beer or labels if they are contrary to state law.
Wasatch Brewery plans to fight for its beer to be sold in the state. Representatives for the brewery are expected to attend the ABC meeting on Wed., Aug. 14 to appeal the decision.