Tag Archives: beer

Monster will sue your ass

Hansen Beverage Company is a small mom-and-pop concern with a billion dollars and a dream — a dream in which it murders the shit out of smaller businesses that make products that are sort-of maybe kind-of like what they make.

vermonsterHansen makes Monster energy drink, the official beverage of high school wrestlers and high school dropouts. Matt Nadeau makes small batch craft beers in Vermont. To commemorate 10 years of staying in business, Nadeau’s Rock Art Brewery produced a special barley wine called The Vermonster.

Because Hansen has some designs on maybe someday entering the alcoholic beverage industry, it sent a nasty letter to Nadeau demanding that he pull all marketing and sales efforts behind The Vermonster. Because the names kind of sound like each other, and people can get confused. If they’re idiots. Which is actually Monster’s primary demographic.

Anyway, several trademark lawyers have told Nadeau that the Monster people have absolutely no case, but still advising him to give up. Hansen has enough cash to keep the case in the courts for years, and Nadeau’s legal fees would likely drive him to bankruptcy:

“This is just about principle,” said Nadeau, 43. “Corporate America can’t be allowed to do this, in this day and age. It’s just not right.”

Trademark attorneys say companies are right to be aggressive about trademark infringement, since they can lose trademarks down the road if they fail to defend them. It’s just a side effect of having a strong 1st amendment.

You know what else the 1st amendment is good for? Reviewing products on the Internet. Even products like Monster energy drink, which tastes like boiled urine sprinkled with Feta cheese. In fact, I bet there’s nothing worse on earth than the taste of Monster energy drink. It’s like paint thinner run through a colander full of dead guinea pigs. Seriously, it tastes like crabs (the STD, not the crustacean).

Monster-maker to Vt. brewer: No ‘Vermonster’ beer [AP]

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Friday Random 10: Honest Pint Edition

Pax Arcana

Last year we wrote about the growing scourge of “falsies,” which are basically 14 ounce beer glasses made to look like pints so bars can charge you for a full beer without giving you one. Obviously this is abhorrent behavior and the most deceptive use of glass since my college roommates tricked me into crashing through a sliding door by dressing up like robots and chasing me around the living room.

beer_girls
The beer hotties agree — a full mug is a thing of beauty

Lawmakers in Oregon agreed with our hardline stance, recently passing House Bill 3122 — also known as the “Honest Pint Act.” The law would reward bars that serve full 16 ounce pints with stickers that prove they serve an honest pint.

I don’t know what they do with the stickers. Probably put them on their skateboards like I do.

The songs:

Was it You? — Spoon
Kick Out the Jams — Bad Brains with Henry Rollins
Last Call — Outkast
Strange Times — The Black Keys
Blank Slate — The National
The Avalanche — Sufjan Stevens
Helpless — Sugar
Ndiawoulou — Orchestra Baobob
Street Spirit (Fade Out) — Radiohead
My Little Japanese Cigarette Case — Spoon

Bonus Video:

Auto-tune the news #3 — Because this one is an epic masterpiece of boundless ambition… on thin ice

The Rules: The Friday Random 10 is exactly that — random. We open up our iTunes, set the thing on shuffle, and listen to 10 songs. We are not permitted to skip any out of embarrassment or fear of redundancy. Commenters are encouraged to post their own.

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Friday Random 10: Ballpark Beer Edition

Pax Arcana

When I lived in Colorado, I thought the fact that they didn’t serve Coors beer at Coors Field (only Budweiser products) was the most preposterous beer-related ballpark reality.

Not any more. According to New Stadium Insider (via With Leather), the new Yankee Stadium features coolers labeled — and I’m not shitting you — Retro Beer, from which the friendly service hands will be glad to serve you up a PBR, Schlitz, Schaeffer, or Ballantine’s for just $9.

Check it:

retro_beer

We have officially reached the point where cheap beer — drunk casually by hipsters partly for ironic purposes and partly because it’s so cheap — has been reinvented as a $9 commodity at $85 billion brand new stadium (Ed. Note — This figure may be off).

That sound you just heard was Perry Ellis crapping out a boulder.

The songs:

Sons & Daughters — The Decemberists
Metal School — Spoon
Idioteque — Radiohead
Witness Blues — A.A. Bondy
It’s a Wonderful Life — The Real Tuesday Weld
You Are the Blood — Sufjan Stevens
Fitter Happier — Radiohead
Challengers — The New Pornographers
Guitar — CAKE
Who’s Laughing — Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson

Bonus Video:

Hurt Feelings — Flight of the Conchords

The Rules: The Friday Random 10 is exactly that — random. We open up our iTunes, set the thing on shuffle, and listen to 10 songs. We are not permitted to skip any out of embarrassment or fear of redundancy. Commenters are encouraged to post their own.

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A great loss for beer lovers everywhere

Pax Arcana

A few months ago, we reported on the groundbreaking work being done by the geniuses at the MillerCoors brewing company, which had just announced a new line of craft-style Miller Lite. The new beers were aimed at beer connoisseurs like me who demand craft beer-sounding names without all that annoying craft beer quality.

I have some bad news, fellow beer lovers. After testing poorly in its target demographics, the line of craft-style Miller Lites has been shelved, for now:

MillerCoors LLC is ending testing of its trio of craft styles of top-seller Miller Lite so it can rethink the brand, the company told distributors.

The so-called Miller Lite Brewing Collection didn’t perform as well as expected in test markets including Baltimore, Minneapolis and Charlotte, N.C., spokesman Julian Green said.

The good news is that the project hasn’t been permanently scuttled. After studying why consumers were forgoing the new beers in favor of small-batch varieties, MillerCoors thinks it has found an answer:

Green said testing showed the firm had to build consumer awareness to help people separate Miller Lite from the Brewing Collection.

So the trick is to get consumers to forget that the Miller Lite Brewing Collection has nothing at all to do with Miller Lite.

Phew.

For a second there, I thought they were going to start monkeying around with the recipe.

Craft collection of Miller Lite shelved [Chicago Tribune]

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Friday Random 10: Keep Crappy Beer American Edition

Pax Arcana

A few months ago we discussed briefly the merger of Coors and Miller — and the absurd marketing gimmicks that are sure to follow such consolidation.

The good news, for lovers of beer-flavored water, is that Anheuser-Busch is fighting the good fight against a hostile takeover bid from Belgian beer behemoth InBev. This article in the Chicago Tribune sums it all up pretty neatly. The people of St. Louis, it seems, are prepared to go to war with Belgium if this thing happens:

“People do get lumps in their throats and tears in their eyes when the Clydesdales go by,” said Robert Archibald, president and CEO of the Missouri History Museum. “People think of the brewery and St. Louis in the same sentence. I don’t think there’s anything like this relationship anywhere.”

We think Budweiser is pretty crappy beer, having been diluted down to a pale imitator of the better German pilsners. But I’m pretty happy the company is putting up a fight on this. That is all. No snark.

The songs:

Lovely Rita — The Beatles
Tonight I have to Leave it — Shout Out Louds
I Can Change — John Legend
Make War — Bright Eyes
Lost in the Woods — Pete and the Pirates
Mama’s Trippin — Ben Harper
EMI — Sex Pistols
Our Life is Not a Movie Or Maybe — Okkervil River
Give up the Funk — Parliament
Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours — Stevie Wonder

Bonus Video:

Desired Constellation (Bjork cover) — Paolo Angeli

The Rules: The Friday Random 10 is exactly that — random. We open up our iTunes, set the thing on shuffle, and listen to 10 songs. We are not permitted to skip any out of embarrassment or fear of redundancy. Commenters are encouraged to post their own.

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Your beer isn’t full

Pax Arcana

It looks like John McCain’s dementia-fueled pledge to veto beer was just the opening salvo in the war on crisp, cool, alcoholic refreshment. According to this article in the Wall Street Journal, rising beer prices (gas, hops, barley, blah blah blah) nationwide are resulting in a spike in short pours and deceptive glassware.

Check it out:

Two of the world’s biggest glassware makers, Libbey and Cardinal International, say orders of smaller beer glasses have risen over the past year. Restaurateurs “want more of a perceived value,” says Mike Schuster, Libbey’s marketing manager for glassware in the U.S. Glasses with a thicker bottom or a thicker shaft help create the perception. “You can increase the thickness of the bottom part but still retain the overall profile,” he says.

Here’s the helpful graphic:

Obviously it’s pretty hard to tell the difference between the two, especially when you’ve got a supermodel on each muscular thigh like I do whenever I find myself at the Cheesecake Factory.

At least we can take comfort in the fact that restaurants lower their prices accordingly when they’re using the smaller glasses. Right?

Oh.

Wrong:

The Damon’s Grill restaurant chain switched to 14 ouncers from 16-ounce glasses two years ago and didn’t lower prices. “Someone who comes in and wants a beer doesn’t want a huge glass,” says Tanny Feerer, vice president for purchasing at Damon’s International. “Fourteen ounces is enough.” Since then, the chain has held draft beer prices steady.

Tanny Feerer has a point. There have been plenty of times when I’ve wandered into a Damon’s Grill, parched from a long hot day in my Formula One race car, desperate to consume no more than 14 ounces of beer. I never order a second one, though, because who the hell wants more than 14 ounces of beer?

A Pint-Size Problem [WSJ]

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This is a joke, right?

Pax Arcana

In the mid-1990s, the big breweries tried to hop on the microbrew bandwagon by “re-purposing” some of their basic swill in goofy bottles. Knowing most of us couldn’t tell the difference, they pawned off fake microbrews like Red Dog, Elk Mountain, and Killian’s Red on the unsuspecting public.

Well, as the saying goes, those who forget the lessons of history are doomed to swallow its backwash a decade later.

The AP is reporting today that Miller is planning on making Perry Ellis completely blow his stack with a new line of — and I’m not kidding — craft-style Miller Lites:

The Miller Lite Brewing Collection, which will be nationwide by September, features variations on the brewer’s biggest brand: wheat, amber and blonde ale styles, all popular among craft brewers.

miller-lite-visor.jpg
Sure they make great NASCAR visors, but can they brew beer too?

The central marketing concept, the Miller Lite spokesman says, is to emphasize both the “craft” and “Lite” elements of the new beers — in much the same way that Avril Lavigne is marketed as both “edgy” and “human.”

“Some may be intimidated by the heavy flavor profile and full calories,” Green said of regular craft beers. “So we’re providing a new beer that can give you craft-style taste with significantly fewer calories and carbs.”

If you are intimidated by the “heavy flavor profile” of a craft beer, just get one that is not as heavily flavorly profiled. They are not all dark hop bombs. Many are light-tasting and refreshing, while maintaining the essential characteristics that elitist snobs like me call “taste” and “goodness.”

Anyway, they hope to sell the beers to people whose weight loss programs are centered on the purchase and consumption of alcohol:

The beers all have 110 calories per 12-ounce serving, which is more than Miller Lite’s 96 calories. But it’s less than full-calorie craft beers.

Miller Lite’s amber style is to compete with New Belgium Fat Tire, which has 159 calories per serving. Wheat will go against Blue Moon, made by Molson Coors Brewing Co. — which is set to combine U.S. operations with Miller later this year. That has 169 calories. The blonde ale will go against Bass Ale, a British brew imported by Anheuser-Busch Cos., with 155 calories per serving.

So the idea is that you save 49 – 59 calories by drinking something that probably tastes like lakewater. I just did the math in my head. 59 calories is roughly 5 minutes on the elliptical machine. I’ll have the Fat Tire, please.

Miller to Launch Craft-Style Lite [AP]

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