Finding a name for your start-up business is not an easy task. It needs to be catchy and easy to remember. It needs to be unique and appropriate for your brand. Once your business is established it is not easy to change your name without confusing your customers and losing some of your following so it’s important to get it right from the start.
A name did not immediately spring to mind for our business. We knew that we wanted to pay homage to the history of cocktails and the industry but we also wanted to make it personal to us, since this business has been born out of our passion for the product and the message that we are trying to portray. We took to Google to learn more about cocktails and uncovered some interesting facts that ultimately inspired our business name.
The late 19th to early 20th Centuries were the real heyday of the cocktail and many of the classics were born during this time. However, in the United States during the Prohibition era (1920 to 1933) the sale, manufacture and transportation of alcohol became illegal. This led to speakeasies popping up around the country, which were illicit establishments that sold alcoholic drinks. The police would often raid the establishments but they were so profitable that they continued to flourish and they soon became one of the biggest parts of American culture during this time. Many were operated by local business owners and they were kept secret even after Prohibition ended.
The term speakeasy is believed to have come from the phrase ‘speak softly shop’, which first emerged in the early 1800s in Britain, referring to a smugglers house. A similar phrase ‘speak easy shop’ later appeared, meaning a place where unlicensed liquor sales were made. The precise term ‘speakeasy’ was printed in 1837, when an Australian newspaper used the phrase as a slang term for a ‘sly grog shop’. The word then emerged in the United States in the 1880s when a newspaper article referred to a saloon that was selling alcohol without a license as a ‘speak easy’, so called because they were spoken about quietly in public and by patrons whilst inside the establishments so as not to alert the police or neighbours to their existence.
The quality of the alcohol sold in the speakeasies ranged significantly, with some selling very poor quality bootleg liquor. This led to a shift away from 19th Century ‘classic’ cocktails that celebrated the taste of the raw alcohol, such as gin cocktails, to new cocktails that tried to mask the taste of the liquor. These drinks were called ‘pansies’ at the time.
Different names for speakeasies appeared, with the terms ‘blind pig’ and ‘blind tiger’ arising in the United States in the 19th Century. The operator of these establishments would charge a customer to see an attraction, such as an animal, and serve them a complimentary alcoholic beverage, to circumvent the law on serving alcohol without a license. The term ‘blind tiger’ also referred to a drinking establishment where the identity of the seller was concealed. A secret drawer would open in the wall of what appeared to be a billiard saloon, the customer would pull it open and place money inside, calling out what they would like to drink. When the drawer was opened again, the drink would be inside without a server ever having being seen or heard.
We found this history quite fascinating and we were inspired by the entrepreneurial businesses thinking outside the box to continue their trade despite the restrictions placed on them. Although we at The Blind Badger are operating within the law (we do have a license to sell alcohol!) we are striving to offer something different from the norm. Our brand is not just about the contents of our drinks but all about the experience that we want our customers to have. Sharing a great time with the ones you love and helping to bring people together is what we are all about.
But why did we choose badger instead of pig or tiger you might be thinking? ....Simple, we wanted to be original and a badger is one of our favourite animals. So we have combined history with originality with something personal to us to arrive at a name that reflects our sense of humour and passion for our brand.