To think is human, to drink is divine. Did I get that saying right? Sounds right on a Friday here at the Craft Brewing Business (CBB) office, where we head to the fridge, open up a couple cold craft beverages, talk about the week’s stories and make jokes at each other’s expense (mostly Jason’s). Remember: The thinking and drinking (and the making fun of Jason) is not a one-sided gimmick. Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or on Twitter or in sky writing what stories caught your eye this week, what you are drinking this weekend and what feature ideas you’d like to see in the coming weeks here at Craft Brewing Business.
Chris Crowell, editor:
This is probably going to get me in trouble with the higher powers of Craft Brewing Business, but it’s Friday, the beer is flowing, and I’m putting aside the self-promotion and giving a shout out to this story from Restaurant Hospitality, written by friend, fellow trade editor and craft beer enthusiast Eric Stoessel. Some quality information here you might want to use in your brewpub’s menu, when pitching your wares in other establishments or contributing to or creating your own craft beer/foodie event. Other reasons for the shout out: It’s another great example of the spreading appeal and appreciation of craft beer in the greater population; it pairs nicely with our own feature this week focusing on tasting rooms (OK, some self-promotion); and maybe Eric, to show his gratitude, will pick up the first couple rounds at a trade editors Happy Hour sometime soon.
Craft choice: Great Lakes Brewing Lake Erie Monster
Jason Morgan, editor:
Whew, things got a little messy in this public trademark dispute between two breweries, but in the end, they came together and worked out their differences. It’s nice to see the story had a happy ending, but it should serve as a warning to all craft brewers — trademark, trademark, trademark. Seriously, every day the CBB editors seem to run into yet another craft brewer trademark trouble story. In fact, while I was writing the “Tasting room tips” feature (self-promotion FTW!) MIA Brewing Co. had changed its name (from Most Wanted Brewing) to avoid a trademark battle. While it’s great to hear that many breweries work things out among themselves, brewers can protect their businesses and brands by trademarking. Better to be safe than sorry.
Craft choice: Stone IPA
Keith Gribbins, editor;
When I saw a bunch of sites posting a fairly old press release (which we all missed in April), I had one of those hot-damn-that’s-a-good-idea moments. Mother Earth Brewing announced it would be including the Brewers Association’s (BA’s) logo on its beer labels and packaging. First off, this will show that Mother Earth is a proud member of the BA, but secondly, Mother Earth noted that it would be a cool way to show it was a craft beer by BA’s definition, differentiating it from Big Beer craft counterfeits.
I immediately contacted the BA and asked if this was a cool new campaign that linked to its Craft vs. Crafty: A Statement from the Brewers Association, released last December. The BA didn’t see a connection between the two. In fact, the BA specifically noted: “The logo approvals are not an attempt to differentiate craft vs. non-craft; they are merely a system for companies to show that they are proud members of the Brewers Association,” explained Paul Gatza, director of the BA.
We understand where Gatza and the BA are coming from. The association has noted it is keen to avoid any indication that they are endorsing a company or its products, but that’s going to be a difficult message to interpret for a consumer who picks up a bottle with the BA’s logo on it. So, what about another way to show whether breweries meet the craft definition on a label?
Beerpulse.com asked that very question. Said Gatza: “We have discussed a craft beer seal off and on over the years. I recall seeing notes in this area back to the mid-1990s, but nothing has come of it. The areas of certifications and standards are tough terrain for a trade association, as we try to avoid a perception that we say one company is better than another.”
Regardless of the BA’s intention, folks like Mother Earth Brewing are interpreting the use of this logo in different ways. Consumers will too. To many brewers and customers, it will look like a seal of approval for a craft brewery, and I personally don’t see that as a bad thing.
Craft choice: Uinta Hop Notch IPA