25 January 2011

"A Gordon for me, a Gordon for...." Well, not any more......

A Gordon for me, a Gordon for me
If you're nae a Gordon  yer nae use tae me
The Black Watch are braw, the Seaforths and a'
But the cocky wee Gordon's the pride o' them a'!
The refrain of a Scots song, supposedly the response of a fair maiden being courted by "Geordie McKay of the H.L.I." (the Highland Light Infantry) who is more taken by members of the Gordon Highlanders instead, comes to mind when reading the news of why the Oskar Blues heavyweight beer formerly known as Gordon will now be re-branded "G'Knight" (indeed, a few tap handles have already shown up with this new name):

BeerNews and DCBeer report that the name change came about because of a trademark-infringement cease-and-desist order filed by Craftworks Restaurants & Breweries, owner of the Gordon Biersch chain.

BeerNews cites what had apparently been posted on the Oskar Blues website: “It’s brewed in tribute to Gordon Knight, a Colorado craft beer pioneer and Vietnam vet who died fighting a 2002 wild fire outside of our Lyons hometown.”  Thus the new name, both a tribute and a cute pun.

Reaction to the cease-and-desist action by GB is hot and heavy in the comments at the sites linked above; I don't even want to think what it looks like at BeerAdvocate and RateBeer.............  To say nothing of reports floating about that at least one Rock Bottom brewer in Oregon has quit rather than accept new brewing orders from Craftworks............  Craftworks had better hope their locations aren't dependent upon craft beer geeks and independent-brewer enthusiasts......

(This Scottish-themed post is brought to you, appropriately enough, on Burns Day, or the observance of Robert Burns' birth date.)

1 comment:

JohnM. said...

Alex. I believe the "official" report is that Van Havig was asked to leave the Portland Rock Bottom (which I believe is polite-speak for saying he was fired).

Here's a link from the story posted by John Foyston at the Oregonian a few weeks back:


As for your comment about Craftworks ("Craftworks had better hope their locations aren't dependent upon craft beer geeks and independent-brewer enthusiasts......"), I couldn't agree more, but I think that's entirely the point. I believe they're banking on the belief that most RB customers could care less about any of the striking, unusual and innovative brews created by Van Havig and his ilk. Time will tell whether they're right about this, but as someone who has visited the Portland RB on numerous occasions (I worked in the building right next door), I wouldn't bet against Craftworks. I was told that well over half the clientele visiting the Portland RB order AB, Miller and Coors products (they're not on draft, but you can order bottles there), and certainly my own experience there tends to confirm that. With that kind of customer base, it's difficult to reach any conclusion except that Van Havig's talents were completely wasted at RB. Ultimately, I have to think this "separation" is for the best by both parties.