February 10, 2011

Does the Word "Elf" Belong to One Brewery?

This is one of those posts that will be a little about news and a little about art.

First, we all mourn the loss of 25-year-old Jeromy Judd, who was killed in an accident at Maletis Beverage in Oregon. No one thinks of beer as a particularly dangerous injury, but it is a lot of heavy stuff, piled high, and whenever something like this happens, it's sad.

Okay, now we're into the unconfirmed rumor section. I was a journalist once, so I'm familiar with standards when it comes to when you can and can't publish stuff. Still, this is a blog, and I've heard this rumor from enough sources that I believe there is something to it. I also sent an inquiry to the brewery that went unanswered, so they've had a chance to respond.

Word is that Troegs Brewing, in Harrisburg, is taking legal action to protect the word "Elf" in Christmas Beers, to defend their famous beer "Mad Elf." This would obviously be an interesting development, since there are other breweries that use the word "elf." Coming to mind are the UK's Ridgeway has Seriously/Criminally/Insanely Bad Elf, Fegley's Brew Works' Rude Elf's Reserve, neither of which are new.

Some people I've spoken to are taking the rumor as truth, and are miffed at Troegs about it. First, let's see if they respond to anything. But second, it's worth remembering that the rule in intellectual property is that if you don't protect it, you lose it. It may seem odd to protect a theme as vague as "elf," and we may wonder who could possibly confuse the beers in question, but the reality is that's a valuable brand Troegs has, and they have a right to protect it (if, in fact, they are doing that). 

Still, these things can't help but break my heart. I always want breweries come to an understanding without lawyers, even when I know that's unrealistic and unreasonable. Sadly, when you have something that's worth money, you sometimes have to be... aggressive if you want to keep it. 

Again, all unconfirmed rumor, and Troegs did not respond to a request for comment.

On to happier stuff, like East End's labels:
Artwork: Mary Tremonte of Pittsburg
Nice work by Tremonte in keeping it simple but evocative. Colors work really well against the beige, and the script lettering adds just the perfect balance of informality and elegance.

Then, there's the Coffee Porter label.

They started with this: 
But then, from the brewery site:

Update 11/22/10: The Coffee Porter label was rejected after all.  Apparently the puzzle we were so indelicately putting in there was decoded as "Eye Opener", which is viewed as a Health Claim, and as such is not permitted... their words, not mine.So, we've found something mutually acceptable, as Wayno calls it - a Split Decision:

So now we have this:

Nice work by Scott and Wayno to make coffee out of coffee grounds, or something. 

A few more news and notes links:

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