Recently, Willow Rock Brewing Company received a cease and desist from another New York State brewery, Southampton Publick House, for the use of the name Secret.
Willow Rock’s flagship IPA which has been known as Secret, a well-balanced India Pale Ale with a pine and citrus hop and a classic malt finish, will have to be renamed. The story of Willow Rock’s Secret IPA is that it was once a secret beer on tap. When the brewery first opened in November 2015 the brewers had not selected a name for their malty-hop forward IPA. Although the IPA was crafted years earlier, as a favorite homebrew recipe from Willow Rock owners and brewers Rockney Roberts and Kevin Williams, they had never designated a name for it. When the brewery opened the beer was on tap but was not advertised on the menu board. As customers noticed the tap and started to order the IPA it became known as “the secret” and later named Secret, IPA.
Willow Rock will now have to choose a new name for the beer previously known as Secret.
“We now have a unique opportunity to rewind and rebrand one of our best-selling flagships,” says Roberts. “We’ll be able to come up with a name in line with the Willow Rock brand and create a touchstone for cohesive branding moving forward. It’s a neat opportunity and we’re lucky it happened early on before we were distributing.”
The beer itself won’t change, only the name used to identify it. Owner/Brewer Kevin Williams says, “Just because Secret [the name] is gone, it doesn’t mean you’re going to miss out on [the beer].”
Roberts and Williams are undecided on a new name for their flagship IPA but it’s fair to say the secret of Willow Rock is out and thankfully the beer isn’t going anywhere.
Help us name it.