UPDATE #1: Vermont beer is from Vermont, isn’t it?

In my last post I explored how the word “Vermont” is appearing on beer labels from as far away as California and Poland. Breweries around the globe have recognized the prowess of Vermont brewers, specifically in the realm of the “new” IPA style (now often cited as the “New England-style IPA”), and are either A) trying to pay homage to the style, or more nefariously, B) trying to capitalize on the popularity of Vermont-made beers.

You can go back and read all the details and the article I wrote for Burlington Free Press… I’ll wait here.

After that article was published, a rather interesting thing occurred. A brewer from Colorado contacted me, Shaun Hill and Vermont state representatives with essentially a Mea Culpa.

New Image Brewing, a brewpub in Arvada, Colorado, released a beer called “East Coast Transplant” and listed the style on the label as “Vermont DIPA.” On New Image’s website, the style is listed as “Vermont-style DIPA.”

Brandon Capps, founder and “Brew Captain” of New Image Brewing, sent an email explaining his position. I jumped on a call with him to hear his reasoning and I must say that it’s rather solid.

Basically, Brandon says he was paying homage to the Vermont-style IPA. He has connections to Vermont and New England and really enjoys the style(s) that have grown up in these parts. He told me that he views the Vermont-style IPA as different from the New England-style IPA and uses those terms differently when labeling his own beers. I appreciate his detailed taxonomy, and told him as much.

Screen Shot 2017-04-05 at 9.41.49 PM
From the New Image Brewing website.

The decision to omit the word “-style” on his beer label, Brandon says, was purely an aesthetic decision by their label artist. On the New Image website, “-style” is included (see above). Instead of trying to co-opt the term, his initial intent was to pay tribute to the style’s place of origin.

From our conversation I gathered that he was ignorant of the Vermont Representations of Origin Rule, and he said he reached out in order to be compliant with any labeling laws. At his request, I connected him with the Vermont Attorney General’s Office and Vermont Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe. Brandon was about to order a run of cans with printed labels and wanted to do the right thing in the eyes of Vermont.

Next week I have meeting scheduled with the TJ Donovan (VT Attorney General), Shaun Hill (Hill Farmstead Brewery) and Senator Tim Ashe to discuss this matter further. I’ll update the story after that meeting.

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