The Kirkwood brewpub formerly known as the Highlands is getting a new name.
Because of a legal dispute with a North Carolina brewery by the same name, the Highlands is changing its name to
“Our attorneys tell us the name is clear,” said John Postel, marketing and entertainment manager for Kirkwood Station.
The dispute was a bit of a headache for owner Mike Willerton, who acquired the Jefferson Avenue restaurant previously known as Alandale Brewing Co. in 2009.
But then for fans on the bar’s Facebook page to suggest a new name.
More than 700 submissions poured in, Postel said. Many of the ideas centered around the obvious connection to the nearby and Kirkwood’s history as the first commuter suburb west of the Mississippi. A steam engine already was a part of the Highlands’ logo. Postel said the logo would remain the same, with only the text changing.
As it turned out, 10 fans suggested the name Kirkwood Station or a variation of it, but Brett Borgard was named the winner because his submission came in first. Borgard won a keg of beer.
Postel said Willerton considered using just the name “Kirkwood,” which would lend itself well to the brewpub’s efforts to distribute beer to other establishments in the St. Louis area later this year – people could ask a bartender to “give me a Kirkwood,” he said.
“That’s kind of nice but there’s a lot of Kirkwoods in the United States,” Postel said. “So we decided Kirkwood Station has a lot going for it.”
Other suggestions ranged from names playing on the city’s founding date, such as the1853 Brewpub, and the restaurant’s location, such as Jefferson Avenue Alehouse. Many suggestions had a train connection, including All Aboard Brewing Co., Boxcar Brewing Co. and Whistle Stop Brewing Co.
More than 60 suggestions came in with “Kirkwood” in the name, and a few referred to the “Pioneers” (the high school mascot) or simply “The Wood,” a nickname often used at . There was even one submission that referred to neighboring Webster Groves, but not in a nice way.
The Highlands Brewing Co. was named for the historic Meramec Highlands resort that was built in the late 1890s on the bluffs overlooking the Meramec River west of town. The area was popular with wealthy St. Louisans and was served by the railroad coming out of Kirkwood.
Highland Brewing Co. in Asheville, N.C., has been in existence for some 15 years. Postel said the similar names might not have been a problem in the days before Google searches.
“We’d rather not have had to deal with it,” Postel said. “(But) it’s understandable.”