Monday, July 6, 2009

How Did “Fire Island” Get Its Name?

We get asked this all the time, but the truth is that the precise origin of Fire Island’s name is often disputed. It’s kind of like asking grandpa how he met grandma- each story comes out a little bit different and nobody seems to have been around to verify any of them. Originally, the Native Americans called the Island "Sictem Hackey," or “Land of the Secatogues” (the name of the tribe located in Bay Shore, New York). One historian has suggested that its current name comes from a corruption of the Dutchword “vijf,” (“five”) or “vier” (“four”), referring to the number of islands near the Fire Island inlet.

Others say its name comes from the fires built along the sea’s edge by pirates intent on luring ships to their destruction along the shallow sandbars for looting and pillaging. The stories just get stranger from here, with some suggesting that the name comes from the fiery-looking foliage in autumn and others insisting (with a straight face) that the name comes from the “burning” rash people get from the Island’s abundant poison ivy (ouch!). So basically, if it was grandpa telling the story, you would have fed him an extra helping of plumb pudding and left the table long ago. We’ve found that it’s just better to take a nice long swig of Fire Island Beer Company Lighthouse Ale and move along.

Name aside, Fire Island has gradually become known as a calm and comfortable atmosphere in which a wide array of individuals, from families, to couples, to young revelers can come to relax and vacation. Over the years, Fire Island has woven itself into the fabric of pop culture, and numerous films have been shot on the location, including, Frank Perry’s "Last Summer" and "Returning Mickey Stern." In the world of music, France Joli even jump-started her career in 1979 on Fire Island whenDonna Summer cancelled her performance at the last minute, and Joli stepped in to wow an ocean-side crowd of over 5,000 people with her song "Come to Me."

Now Joli’s big break may be an unusual phenomenon, but in a calm fun-loving atmosphere like Fire Island anything seems possible. And that’s why we came up with Fire Island Beer Company’s Lighthouse Ale. We wanted a beer that’s as cool and smooth as Fire Island, with a light caramel finish for just a touch of the playfulness found off shore. We know it’s hard to take a break among the hustle and bustle of the big city, but the next time you have a chance, pop open a cold bottle of Fire Island Beer Company Lighthouse Ale and take a time-out to imagine the pure white sands and softly rolling waves of our little island.

Beer. People. They’re both better when they’re chilled.

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