A number of cues suggest the winter holidays are upon us: shorter days and colder weather, stores decorated with Santas and snowflakes before Thanksgiving, and seasonal winter beers. Here are three examples of winter beer labels, including the new Anchor seasonal label, which changes yearly. Amongst seasonal beers, winter beer appears to be the most prevalent, with over 100 TTB label approvals in 2008 alone. See three recent label approvals here: Anchor Brewing Merry Christmas, Flying Dog K-9 Cruiser, and Father John’s Winter Ale.Continue Reading Leave a Comment
It’s 2008. Table wine is still evil? Apparently so. Just like there are a shocking number of dog and lizard labels, the TTB database also reveals a humongous number of labels overflowing with “evil” and “sin.” They are virtually in a sumo match for who can be most evil. It’s tough to top a skull and crossbones, as in the Irish Death Ale label above. But then, it makes no claim to be pure in its evil ways, and so the Grateful Palate rises to the occasion yet again to bring us unmitigated, Pure Evil. It is a South Australia Chardonnay that is “Perfectly wrong.”Continue Reading Leave a Comment
A few days ago Liqurious reported a Duff Beer sighting. It appears to be the real thing. There is a video review at iFoods.tv and there is a Duff Beer website here. But alas, this beer will remain a figment of the cartoon. There is nothing very similar approved in the TTB database. The nearest thing is the above keg label, for the beer at Duff’s famous wing restaurant in Buffalo, New York (near and dear to Robert’s heart as it was a mile from the law school campus). We are unlikely to see Homer Simpson’s favorite beer anytime soon, at least in the US. Matt Groening (creator of The Simpsons TV show) has stated that he will not license the Duff trademark for a real beer, over concern that it would encourage kids to drink. Fox TV and Groening sued an Australian producer of Duff in 1995. The court concluded:
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My conclusion is that the breweries have engaged in a course of conduct calculated to achieve and exploit a strong association between their use of the name “Duff Beer” and “The Simpsons”, which in fact is deceptive, while at the same time, hoping to avoid legal liability. In fact, their hope of avoiding legal...
Costco is coming on strong with its own brand (Kirkland Signature) in beer, wine and spirits. Various reports suggest Costco is one of the biggest and most powerful US retailers across the alcohol beverage spectrum, and here are signs that they have no intention of easing up on the throttle. Here are Kirkland Scotch, Vodka, Beer and Champagne. All told, Costco has more than 80 alcohol beverage products approved so far under its brand since 2003.Continue Reading Leave a Comment
Here is Weed Lager. The brand name refers to Weed, California, where the beer is made. Before this 2008 label approval, the labeling said “Try legal Weed.” The current label also says “Vegan: No Animal Testing or Ingredients” (as opposed to, for example, wine with egg, milk and fish protein). Greg Beato explains the controversy in First Amendment Lite, his excellent article in the August/September issue of Reason magazine.
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Every year, the TTB reviews more than 100,000 proposed labels, and because the statutes and regulations it has at its disposal are both extremely specific and extremely vague, its agents often end up behaving more like cultural critics than government bureaucrats — parsing puns, interpreting illustrations, determining the artistic value of the occasional female breast.