If you have ever visited one of the many McMenamins locations you likely know that the company brews a beer called Ruby Ale. To be fair, McMenamins began brewing it many years ago and apparently went to the trouble of getting a trademark on the term Ruby Ale. Good on them, I suppose.
Like many beers I’ve sampled from McMenamins, Ruby Ale is okay. It is exceedingly acceptable. Although it might fail to be extraordinary, it also fails to be offensive or disgusting. It is light and refreshing, seasoned with raspberries and noticeably red in color. In the end, it is a beer about which I struggle to say anything bad. I digress.
Seattle’s Odin Brewing Company was recently advised of a trademark infringement issue. The beer previously known as Odin’s Gift Ruby Ale will now be called something else. I vote for Odin’s Gift Deep Red Jewel-Like Gem of an Ale.
I think Odin should wear this like a badge of honor. When someone has to tell you to shut up, you know they are listening.
In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, a hopelessly heart-strung teenaged girl mused, “What is in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
Juliet had a point. The beer will taste as good no matter what it is called. Dan Lee, owner of Odin Brewing, told me that the brewery is considering running a contest on the Odin Brewing Company’s Facebook page to determine a new name. One way or another, they will come up with a new name and move on.
As long as we’re going to be talking about beer, it seems we’ll be talking about these kinds of trademark issues. We should not be surprised. Get upset if you like, or just accept it as part of the business. It is what it is. See our previous post about Washington breweries and trademark issues.
Here’s the statement from Odin Brewing Company’s Facebook page:
We were contacted this week by the management of McMenamin’s Corp. (Portland, OR) that they have a U.S. trademark on the term, “Ruby Ale.” Therefore, we are in the unfortunate position of taking the words “Ruby Ale,” off all of our assets from this day forward. This does not affect the availability of the beer itself. We will continue to produce and distribute Odin’s Gift and we thank you in advance for all of your support. Stay tuned for more info.