Archive for the ‘flavored malt beverage’ Category
I do believe this Olde Bay Saison label raises at least a few legal issues. First of all, I sure hope the brewer had permission to use this famous branding. McCormick owns the Old Bay seasoning brand and probably would not have a sense of humor about any unauthorized uses. Even if the beer is loaded up with the same seasoning, and even if the reference tends to be flattering. I can not imagine that changing one letter (from Old to Olde) is likely to help any more. The total production for this ale with spices seems to have been tiny, so that may help somewhat more to avoid problems.
A second legal issue is that, such a beer needs formula approval, before label approval and production. To get formula approval, it is usually necessary to provide a detailed ingredient list to TTB. It can be very difficult for anyone to get ingredient details (beyond what FDA typically requires on a food label’s ingredient list) about famous and protected products like Coca-Cola, Angostura Bitters, or Old Bay. TTB typically needs to check for artificial flavors, allergens, colors, and use-rate limitations, and this can be very difficult to do without a complete ingredient list of the sort that McCormick would be unlikely to provide to the brewer here (The D.O.G. Beverage Co. of Westminster, Maryland). So this raises the question of whether this beer actually contains Old Bay seasoning, or TTB did not require details about all 18 ingredients, or D.O.G. somehow got hold of the ingredient list.
I was driving along and heard perhaps the perfect confluence of beer, TTB, fruit, and a multimedia extravaganza (plus history, my sister in law, etc.).
NPR ran a story about The Pawpaw: Foraging For America’s Forgotten Fruit on September 29, 2011. The pawpaw is a creamy, mango-like fruit that grows along the banks of the Potomac River. Experts say the pawpaw is “every bit the rival of a perfect peach or apple. And these fruits have had thousands of years of breeding to make them taste good.” So good that a pawpaw newbie exclaims (at about 3:50): “Mmm, very good. Wonderful flavor. On my tongue, it says this is something new and wonderful and that I should continue it.”
It did not take long for a beer company to grab onto the pawpaw fervor. In discussing how the fruit plays into locavore trends and does not travel well, NPR’s Allison Aubrey talks with Garin Wright of Buckeye Brewing (at about 6:10):
AUBREY: But at a pawpaw festival earlier this month in Ohio, people were showing off, at least one way of extending the pawpaw season. They make pulp from the fruit that can be canned and frozen. And even use it to make beer. Garin Wright of the Buckeye Brewing Company in Cleveland wasn’t convinced the taste of the pawpaw would come through in his brew, but it did.
GARIN WRIGHT: I really think that I got freshness out of that pulp that you can really smell and taste in the beer I made, so it’s awesome.
Garin’s label is here. I say extravaganza because the blog post is here, the audio is here, the video is here, 163 comments are here, recipes are here, the transcript is here, and so on. I say sister in law because my kids started calling Aunt Paula “pawpaw” from their earliest months. I say TTB because NPR’s street interviews (on the video) are 100 feet from the old TTB building (across the street from the current NPR building). Finally, I say history because Lewis & Clark, and Thomas Jefferson, were apparently big pawpaw fans according to NPR.
The video features John Stossel, Nick Gillespie, and Rhonda Kallman (owner of Moonshot, Beer with Caffeine). Among the highlights:
Rhonda says FDA’s ban is “clearly a case of the government over-reaching. … My Moonshot Beer is nothing like these Four Loko drinks.” FDA:
didn’t fully research it … they put the onus on the small entrepreneur to have a scientist. … It’s 5% alcohol by volume and less than a half a cup of coffee of natural caffeine. It’s a great combination. … They won’t stop here. Where will they stop?
Sen. Schumer won’t stop at calling these drinks a “blackout in a can.” He goes further to suggest they may be a death wish in a can. And here, Iowa takes a step toward going much, much further (toward banning any mixture of cola, coffee or Red Bull with alcohol, at bars and restaurants).
For the time being, Moonshot has ceased production due to [the FDA ban]. … Three of the products targeted are high alcohol, high caffeine and high sugar “juice” drinks sold in oversized 23.5 ounce cans and targeted to underage drinkers. The fourth was Moonshot ’69 – an all malt, craft-brewed pilsner beer that bears absolutely no resemblance to these high alcohol, high caffeine sugary drinks. … There is nothing new about adults combining caffeine and alcohol. Who hasn’t enjoyed a rum and Coke, Irish coffee, Kahlua or espresso martini? The question should be what levels are appropriate.
TTB/ATF first allowed this brand name in 1997, for a malt beverage with natural flavors. A 1999 approval is shown above on the left, and the most recent approval is on the right above. Just a few months after the the 2008 approval, Anheuser-Busch apparently killed Tequiza in favor of Bud Light Lime. At this point, it’s gone almost without a trace, like Champale, Zima and other fading memories.
A lot of the branding stayed the same over the course of twelve years and 29 label approvals. But the legal description got trimmed considerably, during that time, to remove all references to the “NATURAL FLAVOR OF MEXICAN TEQUILA.” This part apparently went too far for the Tequila industry, or TTB, to accept, even if the brand name and agave references did not.
By way of another example, from the movies, Little Fockers probably would not be PG-13 if spelled with a u.