So Long Dr Beer Love – Hello The BeerFathers
Starting today you’ll notice a slight change here at Beer Love central – we are now no longer known as Dr Beer Love. We are now officially The BeerFathers.
Why, you ask? Well, it’s a long story but here goes…
Back on November 13, 2009, we got an email from Jay Hersh, who politely said we may be infringing on a trademark he owns for the name “Dr Beer.” It was nice enough and essentially said “Hey you’re probably unaware of the trademark, but I’ve had it since 1997 and I use it in conjunction with my beer tasting classes. Dr Beer Love and Dr Beer could be confusingly similar to someone so please be cool and stop using the name.” We appreciated his courteous approach and the fact that he came to us directly himself instead of through his lawyers.
So we emailed back and forth a few times to try to work things out in a way where we could keep the name and the web site address, but Jay felt strongly that if we said something that was libelous it could come back to him somehow. Rather than go to court or fight it out we agreed to change the name. Getting lawyers involved is rarely the right answer and on top of that we had been wanting to move the site from it’s Movable Type backend to WordPress for a while anyway, so it gave us a good opportunity to do that.
So we worked with Jay to come to a compromise of terms that benefited both sides. On our end we:
- Offered to put some text on the top of every page of the Dr Beer Love site that said “Note: Dr. Beer® is a registered trademark of Jay Hersh. We are currently working together to rectify any confusion over the name.” This linked over to his site and was our short term transition plan.
- Offered to design a logo for him to use for “Dr Beer” as he didn’t currently have one.
- Asked for a few months to find a new name, move the site into the new system and remove references of “Dr Beer” from the site.
On Jay’s end he:
- Offered to let us redirect the Dr Beer Love site to the new site once we had transitioned it over.
- Offered to write some guest blog spots for us on the new site.
- Offered to let us work with his wife to do trade name research for whatever new name we used.
We didn’t wind up taking him up on his offer for the trade name research (too generous on his part really) but we did do the research ourselves and are clean and clear. Everything else we did. We thank Jay for working with us and it goes to show that you can really think win-win and work things out together if you just treat each other kindly and respectfully. It’s kind of refreshing in our sue-happy culture that things can still be worked out without legal involvement and both sides can come away feeling better for it. I think the fact that we’re both good beer lovers was a common ground that we both connected through. I’ve always said craft beer lovers are some of the easiest going people you’d want to meet and this whole interaction just proves that crafties are good people.
Now how did we come up with the new name? We put together a list of a few good ones following the same criteria for the old one – we wanted it beer focused, yet somehow related to classic movies. You may or may not have known that Dr Beer Love was named for the movie Dr Strange Love and you may or may not know that we love the classic movies (so much that Son Beer Love is working on watching every one the American Film Institute’s Top 100 Films of all-time – 57 down, 43 left to watch). We also, as an added bonus, wanted to give a nod to our status as fathers, since Son Beer Love became a father last March. So when we started working on putting the names together (Citizen Beer Love, BeerFellas, etc) one immediately jumped to the top of the list – The BeerFathers (for the movie The Godfather).
We wanted some input on it so we asked a few of our favorite beer bloggers (The Beer Babe and The Beer Wench) for some input on the list of names and they all voted on the same one – The BeerFathers. They said it really fit our personality and niche in the beer space. Who could argue? We checked to make sure there were no possible trademark conflicts and registered the domain name. We had our brand.
Then we spent what little free time we had in December and January working on transitioning the site over – we designed a new logo with an actual font called “The Godfather” and figured out all the programming challenges of getting the site moved from Movable Type to WordPress (we have always been happy with the site we designed so we wanted it to look the same). Once we got all the challenges figured out we exported the Dr Beer Love site (175 posts, 77 categories and 346 comments) and imported it into WordPress (the easiest step, actually), did a search and replace on all the names and then set up every page of the old Dr Beer Love site to find the appropriate new page on The BeerFathers site (so if someone tried to go to the Abita Turbodog review on Dr Beer Love, say through a Google search, they would immediately get redirected to the Abita Turbodog review on The BeerFathers, instead of having to search for it – it’s a good courtesy for all the search users out there). Once we felt confident everything was set up correctly we “flipped the switch” so to speak and started sending all the traffic to the new site.
So in a little over two months we were able to rebrand and completely move the site over. And that’s how we became The BeerFathers. We’ve got a backlog of about 50 reviews to get on the site and we’ll be working on that with a lot of new content planned for 2010. We also added a few features to the site that we’ll write more about soon that we think you’ll really like. In the meantime we say “Cheers and good beers!”
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