Thursday, September 5, 2013

Redskins shut down free Meridian Pint/DC Brau tailgate planned for Sept. 9

Well, this stinks for Redskins fans. Last week, local bar and restaurant Meridian Pint and sister spot Smoke and Barrel joined with local brewery DC Brau to host a free tailgate at the Redskins' opener on Monday, September 9th. Turns out, the Redskins weren't happy with the idea, calling it a commercial tailgate and a violation of the team's intellectual property rights.

The flyer for the tailgate, which was completely free, with no entry fee and free food and beer for a limited number of people, apparently used team colors and the team and FedEx Field logo -- which makes sense, considering it's at a Redskins game at FedEx Field. The DC Sports Bog reports that the organizers tried to rework the flyer but the team rejected them again, and they gave up.

Here's some excerpts from the Redskins' lawyers's letter to the organizers:
The Redskins appreciate your support and enthusiasm but have a strict policy against unauthorized commercial tailgating in our parking lots. In addition, the flyer Meridian Pint has distributed and posted online includes Redskins colors, the FedExField logo, and an image of a Green lot parking pass. This unauthorized use unfairly capitalizes on the goodwill and reputation embodied in the Redskins trademarks and intellectual property. The public will mistakenly believe that the Redskins are affiliated with Meridian Pint, DC Brau, and Smoke & Barrel and/or have sponsored or authorized this tailgate party. Please confirm your agreement to immediately take down and stop distributing this flyer.
Sounds like a pretty weak reason to me: they're basically saying you can only have an event (a free one, in this case) if you pay the team to be an official sponsor. Plus the part about the fans mistakenly believe that the team is affiliated with them is pretty silly, for a number of reasons. For one, does the public think every bar that advertises Redskins games or specials during them is "affiliated" with the team? No, that's ridiculous. And secondly, would it actually change anything if people thought the team was affiliated with them? "Well, I don't like their food, but they are the official American craft beer bar of the Washington Redskins, so we had better go there often."

Here's the response on the Sports Bog from a commenter who says he is the Meridian Pint general manager:
I am the GM of Meridian Pint and want to clarify a few things. This was not going to be a free beer event for the entire parking lot. This was conceived by the 3 businesses as a way to say thank you to our loyal customers who are fans of the team. This was why we were requiring people to come to one of the businesses to sign up. It was meant to dissuade people from being there for only the beer figuring they wouldn't drive all the way in to town just for a few free beers. It got to Dan was because I tweeted him and Chris Kinard about it because they are both fans of craft beer and Meridian Pint.

We had limited the size of the group to 100 people per business and they would all have been appropriately ID'd, given wristbands, and then continually assessed before being served again. With no disrespect to anyone, we are professionals in this regard. We do this for a living and are widely regarded for being good at what we do. We had absolutely no intentions of getting someone so intoxicated that they would jeopardize their safety. Again, this is what we do for a living.

I would not say that we are "shocked" by this but we were dismayed. We do not see this being any different than the Dead Tree Crew or Extreme Skins tailgate (both of which we love) or the longstanding Barra Brava/Screaming Eagles tailgates at DCU games. What is the difference from the tailgate that invites 50 people and provides food and beverage and the one that invites 300?

We bowed out of this because we didn't want this to become a big headache for everyone involved. I love this team, I love the District, and I love my community. I am also blessed with the resources to do something cool for them. That really was the only reason we were going to do it. And while we have no issues about making money, this was not a money-making event. We were planning on giving away thousands of dollars of product to a core group of people who already come here, to say thanks. We just really wanted to tailgate.
Pretty silly. (Also, note that I am using the Redskins logo here. I am not affiliated with the Washington Redskins, Dan Snyder, or FedEx Field.)


Anonymous said...

"unfairly capitalizes on the goodwill and reputation embodied in the Redskins trademarks..." Yes. All that goodwill. From the totally-not-racist trademark. Good job protecting that.

I know they're legal terms of art. Heck, I'm even a fan of the team. But, really.

Anonymous said...

under trademark law the Skins are technically correct. but Snyder is still a caulk.
i think there are better ways to do things but Snyder always finds the most douchiest way of doing things.

U street resident said...

Why do we continue to use the racist name and logo of the NFL team that plays in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC?

What would be really cool is if fans united together and decided on a name and logo/colors that we could all use with no license, whenever referring to the Washington area football team and we could continue following the athletes themselves and their team without supporting the racist owners of this NFL franchise.

IMGoph said...

"Here" what? (at the end of the story)

Andrew W said...