Brand Names for Beers

Why is it that so many craft brewers feel they have to have some weird name for their products, names such as (fictitious but not far off) "Creeping Spider Beer" or "Pasture Droppings Seasonal Malt Ale" or "Arousal Malt Beverage", etc. There was once a time when a beer name included the brewer and the style. Personally, I am put off by these "cutesy-wutsey" names.
James Leo Ryan ..... Austin, Texas .....
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This is not new. It was a well established practice way back in the mid-80's here on the West Coast when new micro-breweries were popping up everywhere and vying for attention. I recall being put off by these silly names, too. One of the most ridiculous was Cat Piss Ale. How stupid is that? If anything, the name game seems to have mellowed a bit.
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Today at BevMo I saw a beer called Red Menace, and there was a Stalinesque looking dude on it. It was a "red" ale. I thought it was kinda witty. And a commentary on how much things have changed since HUAC. ("'Schlitz'? Sounds kinda jewy to me. Let's look into it. Could be a commie front.")
Cat Piss? Hey, you notice it. Perhaps even...remember the brand name? (Then one of the guys at the meeting seconding the motion they call their brew Cat Piss, 'cuz cantcha see a guy yelling at his friend to bring him some more cat piss hahahahaha!)
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The theory is that it'll create a more memorable name. And in some cases, the name of the beer is what gives it its cachet. I seriously doubt many people would get such woodies over Arrogant Bastard if it weren't called Arrogant Bastard.
And if you just go for the generics, the name can start to fade into the background, and then perhaps the sales. Not everyone's going to get the level of recognition of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.
But yes, there are some spectacularly stupid names out there. I'm willing to overlook it if the beer is good.
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Steve Jackson

It's usually the late-comers who have to quickly differentiate their brews from those of the established brands in a crowded market. A flashy logo and offensive name is the quickest way to catch the eye of a beer buyer who is perusing shelves already crowded with beer from small breweries. They are apparently less willing to go the long slow route of building a beer up by reputation, word-of-mouth and competition.
I would never even consider trying Arrogant Bastard beer or the similarly branded Fat Bastard wine just because of the names. There are an ample number of very good beverages with less offensive names to choose from.
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John S.

Yeah I too think this is kind of dying out, compared to the early 90's at least.
FWIW this same phenomenon can be found among hot sauce companies.
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I always assumed it's a carry-over from the homebrew crowd, which like to make up funny names and parody labels (something I also did with my own beers). I think it's shortsighted for microbreweries to do it, since it probably turns off just as many people as it attracts.
As a non-macro beer drinker, I often get asked about those "wacky" or "weird" beers people see in the store. I remember in particular a co-worker who just couldn't stop laughing at having seen a beer named "Seadog", complete with wacky cartoon drawing of a dog with a funny hat. I tried to explain that it's a pretty good brewery but he didn't hear me over his own laughter. (Didn't A-B be in trouble for having a dog "spokes-species"? I often wonder why the micros have been immune from such criticism since there are a LOT of cartoon labels.)
I also don't see why brewpubs that ONLY sell their beers on premise feel the need for the wacky names, I usually just ask for "your pale ale", instead of the "Rosie's Tale Waggin' Pale Ale", etc.
I've always given a pass to barleywine/old ale humorous labels, since that DOES seem to be a UK tradition. (I remember being in line at a local drug store that also sells beer (unusual in NJ) and had a pretty good selection. One beer, a recent release, didn't scan. The cashier yells out to the manager, "Hey, I'm having trouble with this Blithering Idiot!" and all the old ladies in line looked at *ME*!).
But, for the most part, I start out with a negative view of all those cartoon animal/wacky named beers but have come across a few that have changed my mind.
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Brits and Yanks are not the only ones. There's a kick-butt blond beer from Belgium call Delerium Tremens. It's got little pink elephants on the label.
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