Selling-Out Goose Island – 314 Urban Wheat

July 14 2011 - 5:32 PM

The Tribune reported a couple days ago that Anheuser Busch, owners of Goose Island, have started filing trademarks for area codes in other cities ala 312 Urban Wheat including:

`"704" (Charlotte, N.C.), "216" (Cleveland), "214" (Dallas), "303" (Denver), "713" (Houston), "702" (Las Vegas), "305" (Miami), "615" (Nashville, Tenn.), "215" (Philadelphia), "602" (Phoenix), "412" (Pittsburgh), "619" (San Diego), "415" (San Francisco), "314" (St. Louis) and "202" (Washington).

This could go 1 of two ways. 1. They're simply protecting the 312 brand in advance of marketing it in other cities… that's kind of smart and I won't begrudge them that. 2. The other option is that they are rebranding by market to play up a local message with a national brand. That's not going to work. If I'm a craft beer fan and I'm in St Louis buying a Goose Island 314 Urban Wheat the joke's on me. It's not local. It's not craft and it's pretending to be something that it isn't. Any real beer fans see me drinking that and all of a sudden I don't know what the difference is between Budweiser and Boulevard… I'd be a poseur and as soon as I realize that I'd resent the brand. Good luck with that.