What’s in a name? As it turns out, a LOT, including potential competitive advantage, differentiated valuation, and some serious pricing power. That’s why, when it comes to naming their businesses, smart business leaders know the importance of building a strong brand. Distillery’s own brand journey — captured below by our CEO and Founder, Andrey Kudievskiy, in a blog originally published last year — is a tale of a company finding its true identity.
Distillery sounds like an unconventional name for a software development company. But it’s undeniably a catchy name, and I simply used to start with this introduction: “My company name is Distillery, and we have nothing to do with alcohol. We design and develop software.” Still, here and there my friends would joke that, since I work at Distillery, I should bring a few bottles of Macallan Rare Cask Whisky to my next meeting.
The Distillery name takes its inspiration from the definition of the distillation process — the extraction of the essential meaning or most important aspects of something. We distill our clients’ ideas down to basics, extract the most meaningful parts, and (through several iterations) combine them into beautiful products. Take a look at our logo — it’s a representation of our process. We start small, and through a set of adjustments and iterations, build out a beautiful, polished product at the end. It takes time, expertise, and—ultimately—a passion for the process.
Check out the short animated video we made telling the story of our name and our logo.
I fell in love with the name “Distillery” when we were brainstorming a new company name due to expanding our service offerings. My previous company name was WeezLabs — which is, one may say, a bit childish and immature for a company that planned to be taken seriously. We were 100% focused on mobile app development. I had come up with the name when I moved to Los Angeles in 2012. I simply didn’t know any better. I wasn’t aware of the connotations of the word “Weez” and definitely wanted to have “Labs” in the name of the company. I also wanted to inherit something from the name of my very first company, Rus Wizards (which expands to “Russian Wizards,” and started as a database administration and automation company). Many of our clients still call us “wizards,” and I kinda love it. Unsurprisingly, the Wizards.com domain was taken by an MMORPG company, so I instead grabbed WeezLabs.com, which was available. A couple of years later, Rivers Cuomo from the band Weezer was driving by our office in Santa Monica and tweeted our company to his 1M+ followers. The ensuing traffic spike to our website was very noticeable. 🙂
As time went by, we started to offer significantly more than just mobile app development. We’ve added product development, UX/UI design, outsourcing of trusted engineers, and a few more offerings to our portfolio. It was time for a change. While the Distillery name was a clear winner and the team loved it, the domain name wasn’t available. We ended up buying distilleryla.com, but it didn’t feel right. So I went to great lengths to reach out to the distillery.com domain owner, and finally, a miracle happened. The escrow account was set up, and within three days we had ownership of distillery.com. From the time the Distillery name first appeared on our radar to the moment of the final transaction, it was a solid six months.
In a way, the process of renaming ourselves was itself a process of distillation. The essence of what we do had changed, so we needed to take ourselves through the process of getting back to basics and extracting what was most meaningful for our business. Now, the name Distillery feels exactly right. We’re fully owning the name in how we serve our clients everyday. And I no longer feel the need to explain that our business has nothing to do with alcohol.
About the Author
CEO and founder Andrey Kudievskiy started his career in tech at the age of 19 while working on his degree in computer science. Within five years, Andrey had established his first company and played a key role in creating a successful cloud synchronization startup that was sold to a Fortune 500 company. A serial entrepreneur and talented developer in his own right, he is currently focused on enabling other entrepreneurs to build businesses and continuing Distillery’s expansion in the U.S. and international markets.