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Sam Adams faces revolt over Sam Adams

Has the Boston Brewing Co. started adding chutzpah to the beer whose name it appropriated from one of our local heroes?

Portland, OR has a city councilor named Sam Adams who is now running for mayor. A pair of DJs at a radio station out there set up samadamsformayor.com and said they would give it (and another samadams domain) to him if he came on their show. The beer company found out about the domains and got hopping mad: It is demanding the station pull the site down because it owns a trademark on "Sam Adams."

Associated Press reports:

The candidate says he's amused by the flap, pointing out that while Boston Beer claims to have owned the Sam Adams trademark since 1984, he's owned it since he was born in 1963.

The beer company told the Oregonian it would consider letting Adams use the domains, but only until the campaign was over.

That's not good enough for Portland bloggers, who are foaming mad and are now boycotting Sam Adams - the beer, that is, not the city councilor.

Special bonus Portland fun fact: The city was founded by, surprise, a pair of New Englanders, one from Boston, one from Portland, ME. Both wanted to name the new place after their hometown. What do do? They flipped a coin.

This Sam Adams seems upset (then again, he always seems upset):

Sammy!

Photo by Chris Kirkman.

This Sam Adams doesn't seem to be feeling any pain:

Sammy!

This Sam Adams is no longer being consumed by some Portland bloggers:

Sammy!

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Comments

In related news: Paul Revere wants Boston Beer Co. to stop calling him Sam Adams.

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Obviously, Portlanders are spitting nails over this. For one thing, we're among the most parochial cities in the country, and non-native beer is regarded--at best--with suspicion. But there seems to be a little more than pure homerism here. Could this be playing bad (if at all?) in Boston? Boston Beer's not going to miss the market share it "enjoys" in Portland, but this seems like a PR blunder. Am I right, or is it my own hometown bias coming in?

Or are the only words Bostonians now utter "Tom Brady," "Big Papi," and "Yooooooooooooouk"?

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News is just now breaking here on the other side of the world. Give it a day or so and then check back.

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SamAdamsGiantBeerVendorInc. only has a case if they can prove that City Councilor Sam is selling his own brew - in Portland, that's possible, as Mayor Bud Clark was a tavernkeeper - did Budwiser sue him?

The corporate beermakers need to go eat some Cadilac dog food.

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If you think Porland is parochial, I'd guess you haven't ever lived or lived very long in Boston?

At least Portland being parochial about beer and food and wine is somewhat justified - people out there have usually known what is available in other places!

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Wasn't he also the guy in the "Expose Yourself to Art" poster?

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Bud Clark, Tavernkeeper, Exhibitionist, Statesman.

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This post in Universal Hub is the first I heard about it.

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OK, OK, I first heard of this via a squib in Channel 4's RSS feed this affternoon - they posted a copy of an AP story out of Portland.

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This is the first I have heard of this. I'm not sure that Bostonians should be concerned about what Sam Adams does, as it has grown so rediculously large that it can only be considered a Bostion beer my virtue of the hometown of its namesake. It certainly should never again be associated with the term "micro brew." Also, although there still may be some Sam brewed in Boston, it is primarily brewed by Bud in its mediocrity machine on Venus. I drink it only when it is given to me for free, and then only if I can't find a nearby toilet to drink from. If your mayor changes his name to Harpoon and causes a similar incident, I will become upset.

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and still does some brewing in Jamaica Plain. I thought all their special seasonal brews were made there. They would surely agree with you (and me) that they are no longer a "microbrewer".

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Harpoon has some credibility in Portland, and ends up with the rest of the microbrews in the supermarket.

Sam Adams is usually over with the Oly and Bud in the unchilled shelving area.

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From Wikipedia: The brand was first produced under contract by the Pittsburgh Brewing Company, best known for their Iron City brand of beer. Over the years, the brand has been produced under contract at various brewing facilities with excess capacity, ranging from Stroh breweries, Portland's original Blitz-Weinhard brewery (shuttered in 1999), Cincinnati's Hudepohl-Schoenling brewery (eventually purchased by the Boston Beer Company in early 1997), and industry giant SABMiller. Today, more than 60% of its beer is produced at its very own, newly renovated, Cincinnati brewery. One-third of Samuel Adams beer is still produced under contract at breweries in Rochester, NY and Eden, NC. The company claims to bring its own employees, ingredients and brewing processes to these contract sites. The Boston Beer Company also has a small R&D brewery located in Boston (Jamaica Plain), Massachusetts, where public tours and beer tastings are offered.

I agree with you about Harpoon though; excellent beer!

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I'm sure that trademark owners can't legally prevent people from using their own names. This sounds like plain extortion. Perhaps we could throw some Sam Adams beer in Boston Harbor?

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... we all start trademarking the names of various Revolutionary War heroes, just in case we can cash in some day. I think I'll claim Button Gwinett and start a line of micro-haberdasheries.

Suldog
http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

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I think you're right, but that doesn't keep the lawyers from tying you up in court for 5 years defending your birthright.

http://www.nissan.com/

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From the tallest office building in Oregon, older brother says:

I have been following the Blue Oregon blog about the whole situation.

www.blueoregon.com

look under topic: Sam Adams: Politician or Beer?

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via Blue Oregon:

Boston Beer says it's all just a big misunderstanding:

Boston Beer's Helen Bornemann said she didn't know there was a real Sam Adams running for mayor when she sent the letter. The brewery has previously run "Sam Adams for President" marketing campaigns, she said, and feared someone was ripping them off. Bornemann said she's willing to discuss Adams' use of the Web sites "probably for the length of the time the election is being held."
The radio hosts have taken the fight on-air, even broadcasting the sound of a listener pouring Sam Adams beer in the toilet.

"These big corporations have got to stop bullying people around," Anderson said.

Read the rest. Isn't that nice, Boston Beer is willing to entertain the possibility of Sam Adams using his own name in a website for the length of the Mayoral campaign.

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Not the tallest building...but it does have the most rauchiest fountain statue.

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aka "Three Groins in a Fountain". You'd NEVER see THIS in Boston!

The real name is "The Quest". For what? We can only guess. It was carved by a Czech sculptor Count Svoboda.

It won't be filled with Sam Adams anytime soon.

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We do have the fountain in the Common with the little girl riding on her brother's back while pulling his hair (and Worcester has the infamous Turtle Boy).

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aka "Three Groins in a Fountain". You'd NEVER see THIS in Boston!

Yeah, but to be fair it doesn't look very portable.

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Interesting reax--thanks. Seems like Boston Beer isn't a beloved local company. A few thoughts:

1. Parochial isn't necessarily bad; it's one of the things that defines a place (or not, as in NY). My wife's from New England and we go to Boston once a year or so to visit her fam. I would describe the parochialism of the two cities as inverse relationships: Portland is strongly aware of how it's different and nurtures the sense of individuality, constantly rebuking interlopers (see Boston Beer) whereas Boston seems pretty indifferent to the existence of a larger country. Boston is a city-state. Portland is occupied territory.

2. Bud Clark was the bartender at the Goose Hollow in when he won a shocking ultra-longshot upset to win mayor. It is one way to highlight Portland's nature: it was a salty barkeep versus a political machine. Portland went with the barkeep. He remains one of the most popular people in Portland history, just in front of Matt Groening.

3. Harpoon IPA rocks. I try to track down a bottle/pint whenever I'm in town. But actually, New England has great beer generally. And though it sounds unpopular on this thread Sam Adams makes some fantastic beer. This thuggishness aside, they have done a lot to popularize good beer in America, and that's made it easier for smaller breweries to thrive.

4. I co-founded Blue Oregon. Thanks for the plug!

5. The nipple-groping fountain is a Portland landmark. It's in front of the old Standard Insurance buidling; the tallest in Portland is the Wells Fargo tower? That is Portland's tallest. (Historically, Portland has stumpy little buildings because building codes forbade taller ones, which block the view of Mt. Hood. Another characteristic quality of Portland--we value views more than real estate values.)

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Yep - older brother works at Standard. I got his building mixed up with Auntie's old haunts at what was then called the First Interstate Tower, and something like First National Bank of Oregon before that.

New England does have great beer - Harpoon is just the local face of it. All the retired mill spaces in all the large but less pricey cities have started putting out some fine brew too - you can even get local microbrew at the minor league ball parks like LaLacheur in Lowell and in Portland, Maine.

I usually drink local, so I don't see much reason to get a Sam Adams, even in New England. I tend to associate Sam Adams with snotty hotels hosting large conferences in places like Seattle, where $7 a bottle is downright criminal for such generica. Eat the horsedoovers and head for the brewpub, I say!

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That has to be the stupidest cease and desist letter I've ever seen. I hope that wasn't run by a local attorney first.

They may as well have written "we invented and own all rights in the word "the", and accordingly request that cease using it.

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They trademarked "it" didn't they? All computer support people better stop right now!

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Don't tell the folks at ITworld.com (owned by the same company I work for, just for the sake of disclosure).

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www.samadamssucks.org - with an online petition, natch.

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