Above: Nickel 9 founder Chris Jacks at.. you guessed it, the Nickel 9 Distillery.
A name says a lot about you. We’d be lying to ourselves if we said finding the right one for the distillery wasn’t a daunting task. Just when you think you’ve found the perfect name, a quick Google search reveals 4 other brands are already using it.
So we’re starting to build the distillery and conjure up a name. At the same time, we’re getting acquainted with the community and the space is starting to feel like our own. Like somewhere we could be that was untouched by the outside world. Sacred almost, like a temple – hold on, are we onto something here?
Temple. That sounds cool. How do we tie it to the neighbourhood?
Ever-curious, we started looking into the history of prohibition in the Junction neighbourhood. Lo and behold, we stumbled on the MP who kept prohibition in the Junction all the way up until 1998! His name? William Temple.
Now, we’re nothing if not a little cheeky. How fun would it be to name a distillery in the Junction after the guy that worked so hard to keep liquor sales out of it? What a story!
We take it to trademark and are rather quickly informed of the sheer impossibility of putting a TM on something so broad.
But we’re ambitious and refuse to be discouraged. Maybe we can’t use ‘Temple’ as our name, but we can build our core lineup of spirits around it and still have a great story to tell. This turned into our Northern Temple Vodka, Hidden Temple Gin, and our Golden Temple Brandy.
Great. We’ve named our spirits, but we’re still nameless. So it’s back to the drawing board. Maybe we need to think beyond the neighbourhood. How do we create something that really embodies Canada?
Through lengthy discussions and brainstorming sessions, our train of thought led us to the Nickel. The ubiquitous 5 cent coin adorned with one of our national animals, the beaver.
We roll with it. We start drawing up logos with beavers and even incorporate a 13 sided nickel into the lid of the bottle. At this point, we’re pretty fired up. We’re Nickel Distillery, with the Great Canadian Beaver as our mascot, and proud Canadians to boot!
We take it back to trademark, then (through what may or may not have been stifled laughter) are told no, we cannot, in fact, trademark the name of a nationally minted currency.
So, we’re ready to launch, but without a registered name, we can’t sell anything. How can we make this work? Revisiting all the initial ‘Nickel’ branding, we stumbled on a clipping. Apparently, our designer was toying around with how the Nickel element looked on the periodic table. Hm, neat.
We liked the idea of focusing on the science behind the ‘elements’ of mixology. This sparked the inception of our Cocktail Elements brands. Since then, we’ve developed a diverse lineup of cocktail bitters and syrups that help elevate traditional cocktail recipes and change the way we think about their flavours.
So, do we name ourselves after the element and its atomic number? Nickel 28? That doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, does it?
To recap – up until this point, we’ve built the distillery, have product ready to hit shelves, named our core lineup, created a sub-brand in Cocktail Elements, and tried out 8 other names. We don’t exactly have time to be nitpicky anymore.
But we are nitpicky. We’re perfectionists. Do it right, or don’t do it at all. This is the 9th name we’ve landed on, and if it doesn’t fit, we need to keep trying. That’s it. We found it!
Everything we do is trial and error until it’s done right. Great things take time, patience, and a willingness to do things differently. Even if it means doing it 9 times to get there.
A name should be representative of who you are, what you do, and what you aim to accomplish.
We’re Nickel 9. Serial experimenters who love the science of mixology, and we’re determined to be Canada’s distillery.
To hear our full story, and try some of the products we’ve put together along the way, be sure to book a private distillery tour or cocktail class! You’re always welcome.
Or if you prefer – take a virtual shopping trip around our online store!