ALDI beer knockoffs

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Todd, Aug 14, 2020.

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  1. HouseofWortship

    HouseofWortship Meyvn (1,393) May 3, 2016 Illinois
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    Is it still an adjudicated if the suit goes on post fermentation?:wink:
     
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  2. MrOH

    MrOH Poo-Bah (2,054) Jul 5, 2010 Malta
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    I'm guessing that #2 is the key. You don't see the brands that Aldi is copying in Aldi.
     
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  3. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (2,156) Mar 12, 2013 California
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    Ya that's the one I'm most confused about. I imagine in a setting like a major grocer that has both the "name brand" and the store brand it probably means that you're not supposed to put your similarly packaged store brand right next to the brand it's imitating but instead have all the store brands on one section of shelf or something. The whole "top shelf" and "bottom shelf" thing.

    I don't know if it even applies to a store like aldi that doesn't have the name brand their riffing on available. To me, it would be easier to imagine confusion between the aldi beer and the dfh beer (or some of the other posted examples) at aldi where there isn't the original examples also available. But that might just be me
     
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  4. sharpski

    sharpski Meyvn (1,274) Oct 11, 2010 Oregon
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    I think proximity in this situation refers to parts of the country, not within the same store. If Aldi was a small chain of stores in a state where DFH doesn’t distribute, then Aldi could claim DFH had no trade for their trademark to be damaged.
     
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  5. cjgiant

    cjgiant Poo-Bah (6,086) Jul 13, 2013 District of Columbia
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    Another thing for people to consider when using these analogies is that in many cases, the store brand is quite often also produced by the maker of the product it’s replicating, and said producer is making money on both.
     
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  6. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,999) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
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    Yes, and that type of defense is what I had in mind with my toe over the line comment.

    It seems to me that the odds are very high that their designs are deliberately conceived to get as close as they can to mimic a popular brand without provoking a lawsuit; and I bet that the legal department is involved in the process.

    If all else fails, they fall back on how the two brands will never be seen in the same retailer with one another, whether it's Aldi or not.

    It's pretty much a game of chicken, where they stare down the other party more often than not.
     
  7. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (2,156) Mar 12, 2013 California
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    Ya there's no doubt this is well thought out. It wouldn't surprise me one bit to find out that there are marketing/labeling firms that specialize in this sort of line towing.
     
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  8. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,305) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Imitation remains the most since form of flattery.
     
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  9. rozzom

    rozzom Meyvn (1,059) Jan 22, 2011 New York
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    'ere 'ere
     
  10. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,305) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    sincere.
     
  11. PatKorn

    PatKorn Aspirant (202) Aug 30, 2007 Hawaii

    Every beer ever made is just a rip off of another beer which is a rip off of another beer which.....
     
  12. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (3,678) May 30, 2005 Michigan
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    ....other than when a new style got created.

    Your point is true, but we're really talking about the packaging of these beers as the final part of defining them as a 'rip-off'.
     
  13. StJamesGate

    StJamesGate Poo-Bah (5,079) Oct 8, 2007 New York
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    Maybe that's true in the US, but not the case in Aldi in Ireland, at least.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  14. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (6,374) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Moderator Society Trader

    Is that supposed to be a Corona knock-off? Here stateside their Mexican lager looks like this:
    [​IMG]
    Similar color scheme, but not particularly close.
     
  15. CB_Michigan

    CB_Michigan Zealot (521) Sep 4, 2014 Illinois
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    But it’s not a trademark infringement, it’s a potential trade dress infringement. The marks are the individual elements, like “Seaquench” and “Dogfish Head.”

    https://www.mandourlaw.com/trade-dress-infringement/
     
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  16. Genuine

    Genuine Devotee (477) May 7, 2009 Connecticut

    Locally I've heard some great stuff about the beers that they sell so I've been trying to find time to get my hands on some.
     
  17. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (2,156) Mar 12, 2013 California
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    It's interesting, to me, that you can register your trade dress but that you can claim infringement even if you.didn't register it. What do we think the odds are that DFH has registered their trade dress?

    I'm also curious about how the "level of sophistication of the intended consumer" thing plays out for beer. I sort of imagine that a super exclusive beer that is targeting the beer nerd primarily would have less trade dress protection since.the intended consumers are, presumably, very well informed about the options in that market. While a beer like sea quench that is pretty clearly targeting a broad audience (given it's flavors even targeting an audience that doesn't otherwise drink beer) might get broader protection.

    For my money, DFH definitely made a concerted effort to package sea quench in. A distinctive way. I buy it for my wife fairly regularly and I can usually tell if the store I'm at carries it with a quick look down the isle just based on the color scheme. But the stores I shop at locally have small beer sections, i wonder if there is more cross over evident at bigger beverage store places?
     
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  18. Beer_Economicus

    Beer_Economicus Savant (937) Apr 8, 2017 Ohio
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    This is an interesting aspect (to me), because I imagine that they only sell X volume (where X is sufficient to generate profit) iff it is a knock-off of a well known brand (or perhaps an actual import). That means you're talking about relying on the visibility (and thereby popularity) of the original brand, and what the potential is for someone to be mistaken and be "duped."

    Seems like visibility cuts both ways. On one hand, if a beer (seaQuench for example) is so visible that people recognize the general color scheme etc., then it "shouldn't" be able to be confused, because it's advertised everywhere. On the other hand, if it's everywhere, and you're not an "educated consumer," then you're going off things like the color scheme and the description, and not the actual brand of the name.
     
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  19. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (2,156) Mar 12, 2013 California
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    Ya I think the target market would be key. Since DFH is clearly targeting a wide and inherently unsophisticated (how far do their pinkies even extend from the can?!?) consumer base for this beer that that would be the standard. Where as a big famous beer like beer.barrel.time is clearly targeting a highly sophisticated customer so if I want to put my new hype BA stout in a 750 ml bottle with an austere black label and wax dip it, then that metric would work against SP trying to claim infringement on their trade dress. (There's obviously other factors like the marketing channels thing in that case, but I hope you see my point)
     
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  20. JimKal

    JimKal Zealot (540) Jul 31, 2011 North Carolina

    Apparently you can find it in New England. I remember it and would buy some today if I could find it. Definitely an acquired taste (like IPA):slight_smile:
     
  21. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (2,412) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
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    You can claim trademark infringement without registering as well.

    Common Law Trademark Rights
    If you have a business name, product name, tagline, or logo that you use regularly, you may have common law trademark rights—even if you have never registered your trademarks with any governmental agency.
    ...
    You acquire common law trademark rights just by using your trademark in your business. You can strengthen those rights by registering your trademarks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO.
    ...
    Common law trademark rights go the business that uses the trademark first. And you can only enforce a common law trademark in the geographic area where the trademark is used.
     
  22. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,531) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    There is also a Moxie bottler in central PA (Columbia County) -
    Catawissa Bottling Co (yeah, the date on the website is 1999 but other sources claim the place, which is also a beer distributor, is still open).
     
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  23. moodenba

    moodenba Defender (614) Feb 2, 2015 New York

    More history of knock-offs and private labels. For a 70's view of knock-offs start with the original super-premium Michelob (http://www.ripencollectibles.com/0000041.html) bottle. Now look at Hamms Waldech (https://vault.si.com/vault/43138) and Pabst Andeker (https://picclick.com/Vintage-ANDEKER-of-AMERICA-Amber-Beer-Bottle-EMBOSSED-262944523991.html). Me-too knock-off packaging, absolutely. I don't remember any lawsuits then. In my opinion those beers were far BETTER than Michelob. Waldech was very good and Andeker was my favorite nationally distributed domestic lager. More on private labels. Most are/were pretty forgettable. However, in the '70s, Huber brewed private label "Berghoff Beer" (light, dark and bock) for the Berghoff Restaurant in Chicago, and they were excellent German style beers.
     
  24. JrGtr

    JrGtr Devotee (472) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    Since my permanent job is on furlough, I've been picking up some hours working at an independent living place for seniors. Among other things, there's a little sundries store, with sodas and so forth. They had a bunch of Moxie in - I guess they figures that the old-timers would drink it. They didn't, but I did. I actually liked it - it's different from Coke and such, maybe the closest would be Dr Pepper (and clones...) but Moxie is less sweet, and has a different spice blend.

    As far as the main topic goes, we don't have an Aldi's here (yet - there's one in construction, was planned to open this summer, but with "all this" it's moved to early winter, I think.) I don't know if this one will get an alcohol licence - they're right next door to a Wines & More.
    We do have Trader Joe's though, and they have their own names, which is pretty obvious what they're going for, but the labeling and fonts are completely different. Most of those are brewed for them by a couple brewers, I think we've had that discussion before, most of the time they're pretty well hidden, except for the Vintage Ale, and the couple others brewed by Unibrau, and they had one by Harpoon specifically for them. Those ones are completely transparent - the UNibrau and Harpoon labeling was prominent on the bottles. I guess it's a case of labeling - if Aldi;s called it their Lime Sour with a blue background instead of the green, would it differentiate itself enough? I guess another question is who is brewing these beers for Aldi? If it's the originals, just rebranded, that would be one thing, but I presume that's not the case, if DFH is suing Aldi's.
     
  25. Chipotle

    Chipotle Aspirant (204) Apr 23, 2017 New York

    I wonder if Aldi could just come up with their own label and include something like drug stores do with their store brand drugs. Print something like "Compare to Dogfish Head SeaQuench Ale" on the label. It might be an even better way to get the customer to buy it.
     
  26. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,531) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    I don't know - I take those house brands' resemblances to other beers as a simple way of Aldis saying:
    "If you drink Blue Moon (or Corona or Heineken), this beer is similar."

    Not the kind of thing where your grandma might buy it by mistake ("But, sonny, that looks just like the beer you always drink!") Not like when she bought you a record album featuring your favorite song, by that English singing group when you were 12:
    [​IMG]

    That's not the "original" design from the 1960s, which was much more extreme - an award-winner from The Industrial Designers Institute for “meritorious and unusual approach to the design of a product" and, supposedly, also an absolute bitch to running on high-speed bottling lines. (AB's ad agency guys called it "the perfume bottle").
    [​IMG]

    You forgot these two Schlitz products (late 1970s):
    [​IMG]

    The Berghoff brand history was a bit more complicated/interesting than that - the beer was originally brewed by the Berghoff Brewing Co., Ft. Wayne, IN which became a Falstaff brewery and survived into the 1990s. After the sale of the brewery, the brand moved to the Walter Brewing Co., Pueblo, CO, before the Huber deal. And, of course, when Fred Huber bought back his Monroe WI brewery in the late 80s (after new owners, a couple of ex-Pabst execs closed it, but not before selling off their Augsburger brand to Stroh) the Berghoff's were involved in the 'new' company, which operated for a time as the Berghoff-Huber Brewing Co.

    (So, not exactly like the private labels below :wink:)

    Yeah, much more interesting to find those beers than the typical east coast grocery store brands.
    [​IMG]
    I had a job driving a company hatchback, making pickups and deliveries for a company in L.A. and a friend back east was a big can collector, so I'd stop into all the different chains (can't remember most of the names of the beers or stores, now except for Vons and Ralphs) and I'd always score a few new cans for him.

    They were mostly/all (?) brewed at the time by Paul Kalmanovitz's General Brewing Co. (ex-Lucky Lager Brewing Co.), who'd go on to buy Falstaff, Pearl and finally Pabst. I guess some of the store brands were among the many California and other western brands that Kalmanovitz bought up when he owned Maier Brewing Co. and then General?

    Safeway's Brown Derby had previously been brewed by numerous brewers - over 20 according to some breweriana sources- there used to be a nice film of one of them, in Los Angeles, on You Tube but a few searches turn up nothing. They made some pretty impressive claims for the brand in the early post-Repeal years. Makes ya wonder...
    [​IMG]
     
    #226 jesskidden, Aug 19, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2020
  27. readyski

    readyski Defender (605) Jun 4, 2005 California
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    The irony of this post made me do it :wink:
     
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  28. monkist

    monkist Meyvn (1,424) Dec 7, 2016 Hungary

    Hey, I remember this:wink:
    Was actually quite alright as far as I remember - was pretty hesitant to try it first for having seen everyone drinking this all the time but it was a pleasant surprise for not being a letdown.
    Aldi, man... I never seemed to mind any of their knockoffs (which was rather the game of Lidl than Aldi afaik) for most of them being actually decent beers - at least back in Yurp...
    Oh yeah and they used to have their (?) German variant of Duff Beer too:grin:
     
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  29. Crusader

    Crusader Disciple (367) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden


    This one?

    [​IMG]
    Re- Brown Derby's similarity to a Bohemian pilsner:
    "They praise Brown Derby's wonderfully delicate hop flavor-not sweet, not bitter-"

    Now they could of course be underselling the bitterness, but my guess would be that the bitterness was reduced to suit mainstream American tastes better while the late boil hop flavor may well have been accented and on par with the original (and if the imported beer was months old rather than weeks old, while the Brown Derby was sold fresh, the American beer might well have exceeded it in this respect, I could at least imagine as much).
     
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  30. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,531) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Ha - funny. Yeah, that's the one. I remembered the brewery, the city (both "Los Angeles") and the era - late 1930s -but forgot the film was about Brown Derby Beer. Pabst bought the brewery (among the largest in CA at the time) in the post-WWII period, continuing to brew their local brands, Old Tap and Eastside, and later added Burgermeister aka "Burgie!" after they bought that other famous California brand. It remained opened until Pabst bought Blitz-Weinhard in the late 1970s. Karl Strauss was the brewmaster there in the early 1950s.
    Yeah, mostly likely a combination of both. US average hops/barrel was still close to 2/3 lbs pre-WWII but likely a so-called "Western" beer was lighter. Of course, "bitterness" in US beer marketing was always a negative, hoppy beers were described as having a "hop tang" or being "zestful".
     
  31. Arminius757

    Arminius757 Initiate (179) Aug 29, 2014 Connecticut
    Trader

    Just going to go on there record that I also do not understand the hate for Aldi in this thread. I was gifted one of their beer calendars last Christmas, and I personally thought there were some great beers in the mix. Sure, a good chunk are forgettable (most of the Irish ones...), but I thought many of them are good examples of their respective styles. And I really enjoy the seasonal German beers they get. I generally pick up a pack or two.
    I like Aldi. I think their food is easily comparable with the brand name stuff. I don't get the brand loyalty some people have... I hate paying for a name, especially if I can get the same stuff for a better price with the name removed...
     
  32. StJamesGate

    StJamesGate Poo-Bah (5,079) Oct 8, 2007 New York
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  33. Beer_Economicus

    Beer_Economicus Savant (937) Apr 8, 2017 Ohio
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    For those that don't want to click, the following was posted by BrewDog

    Inspired by ALDI's take on Punk IPA from yesterday, we are making a new beer. YALDI IPA is coming soon! Maybe our friends
    @AldiUK
    will even sell it in their stores?

    [​IMG]

     
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  34. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,657) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    Can't wait for Aldi's response: "Thank you for the free advertising." :slight_smile:
     
  35. rozzom

    rozzom Meyvn (1,059) Jan 22, 2011 New York
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    If there’s one brewery I’m even less concerned about getting ripped off than the macros, it’s Brewdog
     
  36. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,531) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Maybe --- will you set your wholesale price so they can sell it in the same lower price range as their other knock-offs?
     
  37. Crusader

    Crusader Disciple (367) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    Maybe they should have taken a page from Liebmann:
    [​IMG]
    "the delicious racy bitterness of the choicest imported hops". Damn straight. But yeah, advertising that aspect of beer seems to have been a challenge to say the least.
     
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  38. Beer_Economicus

    Beer_Economicus Savant (937) Apr 8, 2017 Ohio
    Trader

    Beer is one of the few items that I think "bitter" can be a positive taste profile. Most often, bitter is associated with an astringent quality. I suspect that's why, but *shrug*.
     
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  39. moodenba

    moodenba Defender (614) Feb 2, 2015 New York

    This, I think mixes up the history of 3 old breweries in the LA area. Zobelein's Eastside became Pabst (also marketing Eastside) through most of the 70s. Acme went through a succession of owners (https://www.brewerygems.com/acme.htm) until closure by Hamm's in the 70s. Maier was a major producer of Brew 102 and private labels until owner Kalmanovitz purchased Lucky/General in about 1970, closed Maier, and moved production to General facilities (a newer brewery in nearby Azusa). It looks like Brown Derby was a Safeway private label contract brew from the beginning. I doubt that the advertising hype accurately portrayed the actual product.
     
  40. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (2,156) Mar 12, 2013 California
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    I don't get these comments, who is hating on aldi in this thread?
     
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