There are lots of Santa labels of late, but this one got our attention because it combines many relevant elements in one small place. First, it is elderberry wine, and that’s fairly unusual. Second, it’s made in South Dakota, and that’s not so common. And then there is Santa. We don’t remember seeing so very many Santa Claus labels in past years. This may be because a great many states prohibit references to Santa on alcohol beverage products. The Wine Institute still discourages it, at least in wine ads.Continue Reading Leave a Comment
FRANK: Welcome, new comers. The tradition of Festivus begins with the airing of grievances. I got a lot of problems with you people! And now you’re gonna hear about it! You, Kruger. My son tells me your company stinks! GEORGE: Oh, God.
Festivus is a secular holiday alternative to Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa, popularized in the December 18, 1997 episode of Seinfeld, The Strike. It is celebrated December 23rd. The Ale is from Cricket Hill of New Jersey and the wine (above) is from Pecan Ridge of Oklahoma.Continue Reading Leave a Comment
Sparks is all but dead. Today 13 Attorneys General announced a settlement with MillerCoors. The settlement covers this well-known brand of malt beverage with caffeine, taurine, guarana, ginseng — and essentially removes it from the US market. The old label, in use from about 2001 until today, is on the left side above. The new label is on the right. The battery symbols, caffeine (and other ingredients) are banished. The settlement calls for MillerCoors to reformulate Sparks and change the labels within three weeks. It also requires MillerCoors to pay $550,000 in fees within five days. Upon announcing the settlement earlier today, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said:
“Sparks is an insidious and insane drink that deservedly now is down the drain — like all stimulant-spiked alcoholic drinks should be,” Blumenthal said. “Beverages like Sparks are a witch’s brew of alcohol and caffeine, energizing drunks and encouraging dangerous, even deadly behavior. Common sense says a drink impairing judgment while conferring excess energy is a very bad idea. Studies show that these drinks lead to binge drinking, car crashes, sexual assaults and other risky behavior. They impair reactions and reasoning, but instill the illusion of alertness and energy.”
The settlement is so far-reaching, it even includes newer MillerCoors products such as Rize.Continue Reading Leave a Comment
Despite many problems here in the US, the beer on the left shows the First Amendment is alive and well. Does anyone else find it a remarkable testament to the country’s strength, that the executive branch would affirmatively approve a label rather bashing the sitting president? This label does not pull any punches, with a reference to Brown and the Katrina fiasco. It goes on to say “It’s Fall of 2008, so that means we’ve nearly seen the last of the Ugly American.” TTB has approved only a small number of labels referring to presidents. For those disinclined to find fault with President 43 we’d recommend the Cabernet Sauvignon.Continue Reading Leave a Comment
Three out of three West Coast vintners agree it’s a recession. Of these, The Ross Valley Winery (of San Anselmo, CA) was first, with TTB approval on May 6, 2008. Concannon Vineyard (of Livermore, CA) was second, with approval on June 3, 2008. TTB approved the label for Woods Lake Winery (of Woodinville, WA) on October 2, 2008.
This tends to show the common, simultaneous rush to grab onto a promising new trend. It also raises the question of how US trademark law would or should handle several wineries embracing one brand name at about the same time.
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Update: Comment from a veteran trademark lawyer.
In this case, the three West coast wineries probably should have conducted trademark searches for RECESSION RED. Had they done so, they would have found that a Sea Cliff, New York company, Books & Tomatoes, Inc., filed a trademark application in March 2008 to register the mark RECESSION RED for wine. This application may cause these other wineries some difficulty. More…