DuClaw Brewing Company

The Friday Mash (Juneteenth Edition)

One hundred and fifty years ago today, slaves in Galveston, Texas, were finally informed of their freedom–which actually had been granted more than two years earlier by the Emancipation Proclamation. The anniversary, known as “Juneteenth,” is officially celebrated in 42 states.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Mystic, Connecticut, where members of the StoneRidge retirement community are brewing their own beer. Why not? It’s educational, it’s fun, and it’s beer!

Massachusetts has strange liquor laws, one of which bans breweries from donating beer to charity events. Oddly, the ban—enacted by the legislature in 1997—doesn’t apply to wine donations.

“Sweet Baby Jesus” is DuClaw Brewing Company’s flagship beer. However, an Ohio grocery chain has pulled the beer from its shelves after customers complained about the name.

The New York State Brewers Association has created Statewide Pale Ale. The beer, made entirely with in-state ingredients, is projected to raise $20,000 for the association.

What is the link between Magna Carta and the English pint? According to Britain’s Communities Minister, the “London quarter” mentioned in the 800-year-old document is equivalent to two imperial pints.

There are hard-to-find beers, and there are truly rare beers, which make “Pappy Van Winkle seem as easy to find as a can of Coke.” Esquire magazine’s Aaron Goldfarb acquaints you with ten of them.

Finally, DNA meets IPA. Gianpaolo Rando, a European chemist who loves beer, wants to sequence the DNA more than 100 different beers in the hopes of producing an app that will match beers to drinkers’ own hereditary makeup.

Trademark Law 101

Shannon Sadowski, an attorney from Massachusetts, recently wrote about the finer points of beer trademark law in Boston.com. She writes, “Having a creative name for your brewery isn’t enough anymore–each brew now has its own name, and each brewery has gone to great lengths to meld recognizable features of a beer with a pun or a back story that will get consumers interested and motivated to spend that extra dollar….This is what good branding is all about, and why its value is extremely high in the industry right now.”

But there’s a downside: the emphasis on branding raises the possibility of trademark disputes. Sadowski cites several examples:

  • Steelhead Brewing Company slapped Freetail Brewing Company with a cease-and-desist order over “Hopasaurus Rex.” Freetail contended that it used the phrase to describe a beer-making process, while Steelhead used it to name a beer.
  • Ska Brewing and DuClaw Brewing went to court over the beer name “Euphoria.” DuClaw applied for a trademark for the name, then filed suit against Ska for infringement. Unfortunately for DuClaw, Ska had its version of Euphoria on the market first and was able to prove it in court.
  • Rogue Ales, which not only brews beer but operates several public houses, came down hard on Rogue 24, a Washington-based restaurant. The brewery even demanded that the restaurant hand over its domain name. Ouch!
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