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Rock Art Brewery and the Vermonster

I’m sure you have seen this over the interwebs in the past few days, but if you haven’t check out this site for all of the information. The video below should explain everything. I don’t want to write too much about it since it has been all over the news and beer blogs for the past few days. I just want to do my part in sharing the story and passing it along.

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What do you think about the battle between a small brewery and a corporate giant?

Busch sues Ontario brewery over lime

09-08-02You can read the full article here, but I’ll give you the important parts. Anheuser is suing Brick Brewing Company saying that their lime beer named Red Baron Lime is infringing on their copyright and trademarks for their beloved Bud Light Lime. Busch thinks that the labeling leads people to believe that it is Bud Light Lime or associated with it, when Red Baron Lime is not at all.

According to a Anheuser spokesperson, ““Bud Light Lime is a high-quality beer, brewed in small batches in England. Brick’s activities are undermining this reputation.” Undermining a reputation? Really, Bud Light Lime tastes like Sprite with alcohol in it. It is a joke of a beer, well, to people who drink good beer anyway. It gets better.

“In comparing the two labels in the lawsuit, Bud Light Lime label shows BL, with a slice of lime underneath the letters. Red Baron Lime is spelled out in a different font, with an image of a slice of lime below. Both beers are sold in clear bottles and the labels have a green and silver color scheme. Anheuser also objected to Brick’s use of a Web site saying like its own Web site for Bud Light Lime, it used pictures of young, attractive people wearing bathing suits.”

BRICK BREWING CO. LIMITED - Red Baron LimeA lime flavored beer with a lime on the cover, and what?!? they use green! You have got to be kidding me. Green and silver color schemes seem to go pretty well, just asked my beloved Eagles. I inspected both websites and they both have attractive looking people on them once you get past the age page. I’ve never heard of a beer company doing this, so it is shocking to see two beer companies with attractive people in their advertising. Bud Light Lime has over 112,000 fans of Facebook while Red Baron Lime only has a little over 500. Not that it really matters but I think you can tell a difference in the scope of breweries we are talking about.

Enough with the sarcasm but this is just silly. There are dozens of beers that use similar color schemes and I doubt that Brick was really trying to cash in on people mistaking it for Bud Light Lime. I hate when big companies go after little ones for pointless reasons. Heck Brick has already changed their packaging once to make them happier.

Wasn’t there another lime beer that came out before both of these anyway (insert Miller Chill)? They use a green and lime color scheme as well, but don’t use the clear bottles. Anyone else have any thoughts on this matter?

Big beer prices going up

MillerCoors and Busch announced that they are both going to be increasing prices this fall according to this article.. What I find interesting is the following quote from the article.

“The price increases are part of a strategy by the companies to protect profits rather than market share, said Harry Schuhmacher, editor of the trade publication Beer Business Daily. Consumers should expect to pay more because ‘retailers will not eat the price increases.'”

So the big boys are going to be giving up some market share in order to keep their profits the same. To me that sounds like a bad idea in that their sales have remained flat over the past several years. They are unlikely to gain that market share back once it is gone.There are so many micro or craft breweries out there today just waiting to get a bigger piece of the pie.

I’m not saying that the big beer prices are going to come up to a craft or micro level, but the closer that gap is, the better it is for the small breweries. I was talking to my buddy Pete the other day and we discussed the article and some of the implications. He told me about a business professor at some hoity-toity college that was predicting the downfall of one of the big companies. I don’t know if that would be a good or bad thing but the implications would be interesting.

Maybe the big companies are like the O’Doyle family who have a strong arm and can use it, but are heading for a major downfall. I you don’t get that reference watch the video below.

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Of the big companies I see Busch as the biggest innovator. They have put several new beers out to the market that attempt to emulate craft beers, but for a larger share of the market. What have Miller and Coors done recently? I could be totally wrong as I don’t look at any of those breweries much, but that’s how I see it. What do you think of the beer price increases and/or the survivability of the big boys.

Spontaneously fermenting

Basic Brewing Radio recently did an interview with one of the brewers at Allagash Brewing Company about spontaneously fermented beer. You can see the video below that started the whole conversation. I think it is pretty cool and an awesome experiment for a production brewery.

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Allagash Brewing Company in Portland, Maine has built a cool ship for spontaneously fermenting beer. This is a traditional method for brewign in Belgium. This is the inaugural use of the cool ship. You can see that the beer is coming from inside the brewery. At this point it has just been filtered in our whirlpool. the beer passes through the sieve so that there are no pieces of spice or hops in the cool ship. The beer will sit in the cool ship overnight, allowing the beer to cool. When the temperature is right ambient yeast will begin to ferment the beer, in this way it is spontaneously fermented.

Really Miller Light?

09-03-09-01This blog generally only talks about good beer and beer related things, but I just saw something that irritated me to no end. It was a TV commercial about Miller Light. I’m used to that type of thing, generally it says tastes great, less filling and flashes some hottie up there. But no, this commercial went after the craft brew industry a bit. It talked about how Miller Light is hopped three different times. I wasn’t even sure there were hops in that swill. To quote a recent article:

“MillerCoors shared its new Miller Lite ad campaign with investors, saying it will focus on the brand’s taste to woo new consumers. One ad played for analysts touted the fact that brewers add hops to Miller Lite three times while it is being made. It also used a slogan familiar with its fans: ‘Great taste, less filling.'”

I guess this isn’t really that suprising since they also claim they are a true pilsner beer but come on.