Guest post by: Associate Nick Santucci
On Saturday, May 31st, 2014, the Brewers’ Association of Maryland hosted the 9th Annual Maryland Craft Beer Festival, a gigantic party with awesome food, fun, rock and roll, people, and BEER. It all went down at Carroll Creek Park in downtown Frederick, Maryland. The venue was picturesque, along an old canal running right through the center of town. Hundreds attended because they love beer, but I attended because I love beer and beer trademarks.
The Brewers’ Association of Maryland (BAM for short), is a non-profit trade association of local brewers formed to advocate for the growth of Maryland breweries. It feels good to support the local brewers, not only because they are enriching my life with delicious beer, but also because many have abandoned the normal nine-to-five and took significant risks to do what they love – brew beer. It’s inspiring. The festival is an important event for BAM, with all profits going directly to BAM’s coffers to help start-up breweries and advocate for brewer-friendly legislation.
My V.I.P. ticket entitled me to a BAM tulip beer tasting glass, ten beer tokens, and early access to limited edition beers. I promptly filled my glass. The brewers at the festival came up with some really creative brand names. Creative branding is extremely valuable to low-tech industries like beer brewers because it is the only protectable intellectual property they can create. You can’t patent or copyright a beer recipe, but you can trademark the brand name. Here are some of my favorite names from the festival:
- HIGHWAY TO HELLES: A maibock brewed by Barley and Hops Grill & Microbrewery.
- PERMANENT MIDNIGHT: An imperial porter with local molasses brewed by Eastern Shore Brewing Co.
- HOLY SHEET: A dubbel aged in brandy barrels by Heavy Seas Beer.
- WELCOME TO SCOVILLE: A jalapeño IPA by Jailbreak Brewing Co.
- BREWTUS: A coffee imperial stout by Monocacy Brewing Co.
- SHOOT OUT THE LITES and DRAFT PUNK: by Oliver Breweries at Pratt St. Ale House.
By 3 P.M. the festival was “hopping” and I was hungry. Luckily for me, there was plenty of food to choose from, and I chose a fried catfish sandwich and onion rings from JB Seafood of Middletown, MD. The food was fresh and delicious.
Catfish and beer were not the only attractions at the festival. Live bands kept us entertained all day, and rock and roll sounds great after a couple good beers. Speaking of music, I stumbled across a gentleman who makes custom cigar-box and short scale guitars from scratch (except for the humbuckers). His operation is called CrocBite Guitars, and I give him props for boldly selecting and using an arbitrary/fanciful brand name. Oh yeah, his guitars are beautiful:
According to CrocBite Guitars, “the humbuckers are made by a guy in Germany.”
The 9th Maryland Craft Beer Festival was a great success, and I recommend doing yourself a favor by checking out every event that BAM organizes. I recommend it even more so if you are a trademark aficionado, like myself. It’s almost as if all Maryland brewers are naturally creative branding experts. Pro tip: take the “BAM Bus” and leave your car at home.