Beer Birthday: Ray Deter

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Today would have been the 57th birthday of Publican extraordinaire Ray Deter, who passed away tragically three summers ago after he was struck by a car while riding his bicycle in New York City. Ray was the owner of the d.b.a. beer bars in New York City (Manhattan and Brooklyn) and also New Orleans. He is most definitely missed by those of us who knew him. Please join me in raising a toast today to the memory of Ray Deter. Happy birthday Ray.

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Ray in front of the New Orleans d.b.a. with Garrett Oliver several years ago.

Jaime Jurado Moving To Abita

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One of my favorite people in the industry, veteran brewer Jaime Jurado, who recently left Susquehanna Brewing, is moving back to the south. Abita Brewing announced Tuesday that Jurado would be joining them as Director of Brewing Operations, beginning this November. Prior to the Pennsylvania gig with Susquehanna, Jurado was Director of Brewing Operations for The Gambrinus Company breweries, which included Spoetzl Brewery, BridgePort Brewing, and Trumer Brauerei. His earlier experience includes having been the International Brewing Development Manager for The Stroh Brewery, manager at Courage Brewing’s Berkshire Brewery in England and five years at the Lion Brewery in Wilkes-Barre. He’s also a past president of the Master Brewers Association of the Americas. He recently sent me some malt flour that Sean Paxton, the Homebrew Chef, and I are working on using in a fun food project. Full details of his move to Abita can be found in their press release. Congratulations to both Abita and Jaime.

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Jaime Jurado with Lars Larson from Trumer Brauerei at the Celebrator’s 18th Anniversary Party.

DBA Owner Ray Deter Critcally Injured In Bicycle Accident

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I learned this morning that Ray Deter, the owner of the d.b.a. beer bars in New York City and New Orleans, was critically injured in a bicycle accident last night in New York. That information comes from Tom Peters of Monk’s Cafe in Philadelphia.

Although not mentioning Deter by name, DNAinfo, a local news website covering Manhattan has the story. According to Tom, Ray “was struck by a car while he was riding his bike back to DBA last night.” He is apparently in critical condition at Bellvue and the prognosis looks very grim.

My heart goes out to Ray and his family at this difficult time.

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Ray Deter in front of the New Orleans d.b.a. with Garrett Oliver several years ago.

Louisiana Beer

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Today in 1812, Louisiana became the 18th state.

Louisiana
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Louisiana Breweries

Louisiana Brewery Guides

Guild: None Known

State Agency: Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control

Other Trade Groups: Beer Industry League of Louisiana

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  • Capital: Baton Rouge
  • Largest Cities: New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, LaFayette, Lake Charles
  • Population: 4,468,976; 22nd
  • Area: 51843 sq.mi., 31st
  • Nickname: Pelican State
  • Statehood: 18th, April 30, 1812

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  • Alcohol Legalized: April 13, 1933
  • Number of Breweries: 6
  • Rank: 43rd
  • Beer Production: 3,849,482
  • Production Rank: 18th
  • Beer Per Capita: 27.1 Gallons

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Package Mix:

  • Bottles: 40.8%
  • Cans: 55.6%
  • Kegs: 3.4%

Beer Taxes:

  • Per Gallon: $0.32
  • Per Case: $0.73
  • Tax Per Barrel (24/12 Case): $10.00
  • Draught Tax Per Barrel (in Kegs): $10.00
  • * Municipalities and counties may assess a tax of up to $1.50 per barrel

Economic Impact (2010):

  • From Brewing: $36,209,782
  • Direct Impact: $868,936,804
  • Supplier Impact: $394,401,774
  • Induced Economic Impact: $848,102,310
  • Total Impact: $2,111,440,888

Legal Restrictions:

  • Control State: No
  • Sale Hours: On Premises: No state imposed restrictions on on-premise hours. “24 hour” bars are common in New Orleans and in Jefferson Parish. Some municipalities and parishes require on-premise service to stop at 2:00 am.
    Off Premises: No restrictions on hours of package sales statewide.
  • Grocery Store Sales: Yes
  • Notes: Packaged alcoholic beverages of any strength may be sold in supermarkets, drug stores, gas stations, and convenience stores 24 hours a day. Local municipalities may not restrict this. As a result, dedicated “liquor stores” are mostly specialty stores in larger cities, and some supermarkets have large selections of liquors and wines, and compete on the basis of liquor prices and selection.

    Alcohol can be consumed in plastic cups in the streets of New Orleans and taken from club-to-club if the establishment allows it. Otherwise it depends on the locality. Most parishes other than Orleans Parish do not permit alcoholic beverages served at on-premise establishments to be taken from the premises. However, many parishes and municipalities permit consumption of packaged beverages (for example, cans of beer) on the street, as long as the packaging is concealed. Glass bottles on the streets are prohibited. One can enter most bars at 18 years of age but must be 21 years old to purchase or consume alcohol.

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Data complied, in part, from the Beer Institute’s Brewer’s Almanac 2010, Beer Serves America, the Brewers Association, Wikipedia and my World Factbook. If you see I’m missing a brewery link, please be so kind as to drop me a note or simply comment on this post. Thanks.

For the remaining states, see Brewing Links: United States.

Beer In Art #120: Eddie Morman’s Abita Bottles

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This week’s work of art is by Eddie Morman, created for Abita Brewing. Of the four works available at Abita’s online store, two are paintings of Abita beer bottles. The first painting is of an Amber bottle.

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And the second is for Purple Haze.

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There isn’t any information about the artist, sadly, but I suspect he’s a local and the two works are fairly recent.

When Common Sense Gives Way To Business Sense

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First Anchor Brewing trademarked Steam Beer, but did so at a time when absolutely nobody else in the world made anything even remotely similar, so it was entirely understandable. As the years rolled on, and many brewers have been forced to call the same or similar type of beer a “California Common,” I can’t help but think it’s an idea whose time has passed. I know it’s too valuable, but personally I’d like to see them relinquish their hold over the name and allow the rest of the world to call it by its proper name.

Then Full Sailing Brewing came out with their genius stubbie bottles that they called Session Lager and Session Black. And that might have been the end of it, but as I understand it, they also trademarked “session beer” and related marks. No one objected, of course, because there’s nobody to object. “Session beer” was, and in my mind remains, a generic term so there really was no one to file an Amicus curiae or otherwise oppose the trademark. What I don’t understand is how an already established generic term can be appropriated for private business use. When a trade name becomes so common — remember Scotch tape? — that it becomes the generic word for it then it loses its status as a protected trademark, in effect a product of too much success. Other examples of generic words that used to be trade names include aspirin, escalator, heroin, kerosene, laundromat, linoleum, pilates, thermos, videotape and zipper, to name just a few. But session started out as a generic, loosely defined term. I love Full Sail, but hate the notion that they “own” the term “session beer.”

That brings us up to yesterday, when Abita Brewing of Louisiana sent a cease and desist letter to a local charity, claiming that they own the trademark on the term “pub crawl,” and have since 1999. According to the Baton Rogue Business Report:

An attorney representing the Abita Brewing Company has sent a cease-and-desist letter to a charity organizer, ordering him not to use the term “pub crawl” to refer to his events. Todd Owers III, an attorney with the New Orleans firm of Carver Darden, says Abita owns the Louisiana state trademark for “pub crawl” and that for Manu Kamat to use the term in referring to his events in downtown Baton Rouge is a clear infringement on the brewery’s rights. Kamat says he started organizing monthly bar tours across downtown Baton Rouge in December to benefit the New Orleans Council for Community and Justice. Participants pay a few dollars, which entitles them to drink specials at participating bars for the night. Kamat says he finds Abita’s actions “a little bully-ish.” David Blossman, president of Abita, says the brewery is trying to protect its rights. “We’re trying to work these things out amicably,” he says. Kamat says he got the letter from Owers on Feb. 18, the night of his most recent event. In the letter, Owers attached documents that show Abita filed an application to use the trade name “pub crawl” with the Secretary of State in July 1999 and renewed it for another 10 years in July 2009. Kamat says he’s seen the term “pub crawl” all across the U.S. and Europe and that Abita’s action is like trying to trademark the term “happy hour.” But Blossman says that Abita made the term “pub crawl” known across Louisiana and that the term is now synonymous with the brewery. Kamat says he’s a “huge fan” of Abita and is looking for ways to continue to have his events without further upsetting the popular local brewery. He’s dubbed the next event, set for March 25, a “bar golf.” But he won’t comply with one request from Abita—to transfer control of the domain name pubcrawlbr.com to the brewery.

Now I don’t live in Louisiana, but I still have to question the statement that “Abita made the term ‘pub crawl’ known across Louisiana and that the term is now synonymous with the brewery.” I’ve heard, and used, the term everywhere I’ve traveled, both here and abroad and I think you’d be hard pressed to convince me that it’s not a near universal term in the English-speaking world. I certainly have no such association between Abita and pub crawls. In 1999, when they apparently were granted a state trademark, again there would have been no one to oppose them or speak on behalf of such a generic term. My bet is nobody even realized they “owned” the term “pub crawl.” And while I know full well that trademark holders have an affirmative duty to vigorously defend their marks, I can’t see how this won’t be a dead loser in the goodwill department or for that matter what advantage there is to actually owning the trademark on a term most people already believe is generic in the first place.

UPDATE: In a swift and smart move, Abita president David Blossman today posted a note to their Facebook page reversing their position. Here’s an excerpt:

In the 1990s big corporate breweries began trying to mimic craft beers and take over the types of events smaller breweries like us had created. To protect the Pub Crawl for our fans we trademarked the name of the event in Louisiana only. Our intent was to prevent any confusion and to stop the big breweries from copying our success. Over the years, we’ve sent out letters asking others not to use the name Pub Crawl unless it is an Abita sponsored event.

We’ve heard from you today on this trademark issue and we agree. Your respect is far more important to us than two little words.

This morning we reached out to the New Orleans Council for Community and Justice and let them know we’ve changed our mind and our position on the trademark issue. We have offered and they have accepted our support of their next event, scheduled for March 25. Abita is proud of our history of charitable giving to our community through our fundraising brews and our commitment to non-profit organizations.

That’s a classy move, in my opinion. Few businesses can admit they’re wrong or at least admit an error in judgment. They appear to have listened to their customers and understood that their loyalty and respect was more important than being in the “right” legally.

Beer In Art #114: Sam Rigling’s Crying In His Beer

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This week’s work of art is by American artist Sam Rigling, who it appears is from around Shreveport, Louisiana. The title of the painting is Crying in His Beer.”

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There’s not much information about Rigling, or the painting. The Fine Frame Gallery has the following:

Many of Rigling’s paintings exhibit an undercurrent of humor depicting small fragments of the “human comedy.” Scenes in his paintings often depict bar scenes, conversation or parties. He has participated in many one-man and group shows, winning many honors and fans. Galleries throughout North America have represented Sam. Fine Frame Gallery has been selling his work for over 15 years and is pleased to represent such a fine artist. His paintings are in collections in Canada, the U.S., Japan, and Europe.

And here’s one of his many paintings depicting scenes in bars, this one’s titled One For the Road.

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You can see a few more of Rigling’s paintings at the Fine Frame Gallery and Nader’s Gallery.

Beer In Ads #218: Why Is This Fabacher Smiling?

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Monday’s ad is for a failed brand from the Jackson Brewery in New Orleans, Louisiana — better known as Jax Brewery. In what I believe began in the late 1960s, Jax launched a brand called Fabacher and had ads with a fake “Andrew Fabacher” who supposedly looked like Andrew Jackson, which is who the brewery had been named for. The brewery was founded in 1890 by Alsatian German immigrant Lawrence Fabacher. It stayed in business during Prohibition by making root beer, other soft drinks and near beer. “By the late 1930s it was sold in all of Louisiana, and parts of Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama.” In 1964, they renovated the brewery and became the “10th largest single-plant brewery in the country, brewing nearly 450,000 barrels of beer annually, [also] making it the largest independent brewery in the South” at that time. The beer ultimately failed and the brewery closed in the mid-1970s. The brewery location is today a shopping mall.

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Beer In Ads #45: Dorothy Dandridge For Jax

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It’s not just any Tuesday, but Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday — Mardi Gras — so today’s ad is for a New Orleans beer, Jax. It’s a celebrity ad, with actress Dorothy Dandridge hawking Jax Beer. Dandridge was the first African-American woman nominated for an Academy Award and Halle Berry played her in the award winning HBO biopic Introducing Dorothy Dandridge. Using the tagline “Get the Light Idea!” That’s followed by “Drink Mellow Jax Beer.” You rarely see mellow used as a positive attribute these days, which is a shame, I think. I’m not sure when this ad is from, though Dandridge passed away in 1965, so it’s most likely it was before then. It was brewed by Jax Brewing Co. until 1956, when the New Orleans’ Jackson Brewing Co. bought the brand and brewed it there (the old brewery is now a shopping mall) until 1974, when Pearl Brewery bought them out. Since 1985, Pabst has owned the brand, but as far as I now, is not brewing it anywhere. Happy Mardi Gras.

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