You read that right. It’s far from Chopin Vodka. It’s Chokin’ Vodka. Chokin’ Chicken Vodka to be more precise. This may signal that it’s time for the Wild Turkey and even the Rex Goliath to step aside and make way for another bird. We are pleased to see that many fun, inventive labels keep going through. I am a little surprised that it was ok to say “Not intended To Grow Hair On A Goat’s Ass.” Chokin’ Chicken is bottled by Gatlinburg Barrelhouse LLC of Gatlinburg, Tennessee.Continue Reading Leave a Comment
I am glad we are not stuck in this era. Work would not be fun. Many years ago, TTB/ATF contemplated putting such shackles on the alcohol beverage industry, with a proposal to ban “non-standard containers.” This old chestnut (from about 1999):
proposes to “standardize” the appearance of all alcohol beverage containers. The proposal would accomplish this by prohibiting “Any container that, by virtue of the material from which it is composed or by its shape or design, or that by its ordinary and customary use is likely to mislead the consumer as to the alcohol character of the product. . . .” The proposal expresses ATF’s concern about containers that might confuse consumers about the presence or absence of alcohol in any form. The proposal secondarily expresses concern about containers that might confuse consumers, regulators and the trade about the “alcohol character of the product.” This part of the rule could conceivably be used to prohibit a malt beverage from being packed in a container that looks like a wine bottle, or a distilled spirit cooler from being packed in a container that looks like a beer bottle.
I am delighted to report that this proposal got buried not too many years apart from when one of its foremost proponents got...Continue Reading Leave a Comment
Flavor Flav Flavored Vodka
Who is this joker and why does he have a vodka? Flavor Flav has a flavored vodka, and it happens to be Bubba Gum flavored. It took almost three months to get the label approved, and so I am enjoying a vision of William Jonathan Drayton, Jr. calling in regular and increasingly anxious status checks to TTB, and arguing about font sizes. Le Flav joins the swelling ranks of celebrity-endorsed vodka products, alongside Voli (Fergie, Pitbull), Ciroc (Sean Combs), Aftermath (Dr. Dre) and many others.Continue Reading Leave a Comment
Class & Type Must Stand Alone
In the above example, it is not sufficient to have VODKA on the front label. Or, the right size. In addition, it needs to be “separate and apart” from other matter. TTB has gotten more strict about this over the years. The above rejection is from a few days ago. The vodka label is from many years ago, to show the movement in the policy, or the enforcement of the policy.
TTB is quite concerned about word placement and proximity. For example, “absinthe” must appear next to other words, as here. Vodka may not, as above. It is important to understand the various proximity rules, because they can lead to unpleasant surprises, and because they extend from spirits to beer and wine. It is probably not okay to bury the word “chardonnay” amidst a sentence singing its praises. It is probably not okay, in most instances, to affix several words before and after BEER.
The rule can be difficult because it’s not always clear how much separation is required (A few spaces? A few line breaks?). It’s not always clear why some terms get treated differently (such as “Silver Rum” or “Cream Liqueur”). It is easy enough to add an extra class/type statement to the front...Continue Reading Leave a Comment
Tags: policy, rejections
Make Your Own Spirits
It’s clearly okay to go home, add some tomato juice to your vodka, and call it a bloody mary. And it’s almost certainly a bad idea to go home and fire up your small pot still, to make just a little spirits. Somewhere in the middle, we now have “High Proof Micro-Batch Distilled Neutral Spirit Designed for Infusing.” It comes in a 375 ml. bottle, at 160 proof. It is made by The Northern Maine Distilling Company, of Houlton, Maine. The first related approval seems to go back about one year. It mentions that the vodka is designed for “infusions, extractions, mixology, and culinary applications.” The information-packed website explains:
160 Proof? Yikes! Don’t freak over the proof! The high concentration of alcohol makes Twenty 2 HPS perfect for infusing fruits, vegetables, meats, or dairy into vibrant liqueurs or flavored vodkas. Think of the 160 Proof like a very sharp knife in your kitchen. If you handle the knife with respect, it can perform amazing tasks. Same with the High Proof Spirit. It’s “sharp blade” creates infusions in hours, not weeks.
We think Northern’s COLA is interesting because we don’t know of too many other products designed for this manner of use. Also, the label underscores that TTB has no problem with...Continue Reading Leave a Comment
Tags: business strategy, drinkwire, policy
The Original Mountain Dew
I would have thought John Robert McCulloch would get his keester sued off. But maybe he’s right and it’s the soda people who grabbed his brand and ran with it. The approval mentions that “Mountain Dew is the brand John McCulloch sold vodka under from 1885 until put out of business by Prohibition.” I’d wager that’s earlier than Pepsi or any of its forebearers put the lithiated green soda into commerce. As it turns out, Wikipedia confirms that: “The original formula (for the soda) was invented in the 1940s by two Tennessee beverage bottlers, Barney and Ally Hartman, and was first marketed in Marion, VA, Knoxville and Johnson City, Tennessee. … The Mountain Dew brand and production rights were acquired by PepsiCo in 1964, at which point its distribution expanded more widely across the United States.” The Hartmans got the name from “a colloquial term for moonshine whiskey” and got the trademark rights soon after. The McCulloch website makes it quite clear that Mountain Dew was widely used on spirits well before the soda came along. The site also has a lot of old-fashioned spirits advertising, along with the quaint and none too subtle tagline “The Whiskey Without a Headache.”Continue Reading Leave a Comment
Tags: drinkwire, history, trademarks-beverage