“D’Oh!” Labels added by me (digitally)
As The Lovely Anna and I travel through Italy, I have noticed an odd phenomenon that I have been wondering about… almost every walk up shop that sells alcohol carries “Duff” Beer, the fictional beer of choice of Homer Simpson from the long-running animated TV series ‘The Simpsons”.
That got me wondering… do Europeans think that Americans actually LIKE Duff Beer, which as far as I knew in real life was nothing more than a gag label beer in the U.S.? Or, is ‘The Simpsons” popular enough in Europe marketing-wise that Europeans will actually buy this beer despite it being mostly a joke? Obviously it must sell because I have seen it everywhere in tourist areas in both Venice, the surrounding islands like Burano and Murano, and in Florence.
A full display of Duff at a shop on the small island of Burano near Venice
While Anna slept in this morning I decided to do a little research. It turns out that Simpson’s creator Matt Groening has refused to license the Duff brand out of concern it will encourage kids to drink. It is only legally licensed for sale exclusively at stands near the Simpsons rides in the two Universal Studio theme parks in the United States. I could swear I’ve seen Duff in US stores, usually in with the other goofy craft beer and “gag” beer labels… not seriously for sale in other words, just as a novelty. I guess I am mistaken there.
Turns out a German brewery in Hessen called Eschweger Klosterbrauerei brews a Duff Beer under contract for Duff Beer UG. It is distributed in many European countriesand in Australia. After checking the labels this is indeed the beer for sale prevalently here in Italy under the name “The Legendary Duff Beer”. It also turns out Duff Beer UG applied for a European trademark of the name in 2009, which 20th Century Fox opposed. The EU courts ruled in Fox’s favor in 2011, but it is now in appeal with higher EU courts, and I assume they are allowed to continue the production of Duff while the appeal is in process. There has been other litigation with brewers trying to use the Duff name in other countries as well.
Anyway, as the German’s know a thing or two about beer, maybe this Duff beer is actually pretty good. I’ll never know as, having met Matt a couple of times, I won’t buy an item that is being sold using his work to market it in direct opposition to his wishes. Actually I wouldn’t do that even if I’d never met Matt, but I just like to be able to say I’ve met Matt Groening a couple of times. 😀
I would like to know who actually DOES buy this stuff, though. I can’t believe it would be Americans, but then again I’ve seen many instances of Americans doing some incredibly stupid and clueless things while on this trip. It’s no wonder we have a bad reputation as tourists. I may write more on that later if I ever stop cringing.
756 My cover art for the next issue of MAD, exclusive sneak peek from @entertainmentweekly website
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