beer business

Sorry for Stone & Wood

I can’t help but feel sorry for Stone & Wood. About a million years ago (okay, maybe more like 10 years ago) they came up with this beer they called Draught Ale. The plan was it would only ever be served on tap within a few kays of the brewery – sort of harking back to ye olden days and the idea that it’s best to drink beer while in the shadow of the brewery because it’s a way of guaranteeing freshness.

People loved that beer so much that the brewery was forced to start packaging. Of course, it’s stupid to call a beer in a bottle “Draught Ale”, so they changed the name. You might have heard of it – Pacific Ale. And it kept going and going and going up the popularity meter and would regularly be voted one of the country’s most popular beers. It also forced them to build a bigger brewery to keep up with demand.

After creating the name Pacific Ale themselves, they had to watch as legal action resulted in them not owning the name (at least I think that’s what the end result was. I’m not going to go back and read all that). And so they were forced to rebrand themselves as “The original Pacific Ale” as a bunch of Johnny Come Latelys decided to piggyback on the name recognition for themselves. Some opted to use it as a style name, while others chose to make it the actual name of the beer.

You ask me, the latter is a bit of a dick move. The English language is full of words, go choose some that define your beer rather than swooping in and taking advantage of someone else’s work. Of late, that would be 4 Pines, who was bought out by AB InBev late last year. They’ve come out with (wait for it) a Pacific Ale. I think they AB InBev overlords now own the “Pacific Ale” trade mark but still, it’s not cool to go ahead and launch a beer with that name.

Especially one that is nowhere near as good as the original Pale Ale.


By the way, yeah I’m back. But in a much reduced capacity. I’m just going to write when I feel like it rather than being all stupid and cranking out stuff several days a week. That was why I took a break; not looking forward to going back to that. So don’t go holding your breath waiting for more posts.

8 replies »

  1. An article on how Ab Bev own the ‘Pacific Ale’ trademark would be interesting.

    I think perhaps Stone & Wood may not object to the authorized use, as there have been other Pacific Ales in the past.

    The court case was between one particular brewery vs Stone & Wood.

    Haven’t seen a more classic blog tag as ‘dick move’ (since ‘brand wank’ perhaps).

  2. Sooooo…. a long time ago Coca-Cola Amatil released a beer called Pacific Beverages Radler (it still exists shockingly), and trademarked Pacific. Then CCA sold their beer interests to CuB (including the trademark, the Bluetongue brewery etc). CuB got bought. So now ABInBev still owns the trademark to “Pacific”, at some point a deal was struck between them and Stone & Wood since S&W was technically in violation, but since they were only using it for a Radler they were fine with it. Which leads us to where we are now.

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