InBev/Anheuser-Busch Trademarking Area Codes

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Jul 8, 2011 9:30PM

2011_7_8_312.jpg Both Craft Business Daily and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch report on InBev/Anheuser-Busch's trademarking various area codes with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

In addition to St. Louis' 314, the following area codes have been trademarked by InBev/A-B:

  • 412 (Pittsburgh)
  • 305 (Miami)
  • 619 (San Diego)
  • 202 (Washington, D.C.)
  • 602 (Phoenix)
  • 704 (Charlotte)
  • 702 (Las Vegas)
  • 214 (Dallas)
  • 415 (San Francisco)
  • 216 (Cleveland)
  • 303 (Denver)
  • 615 (Nashville)
  • 713 (Houston)

Gapers Block jefe Andrew Huff also found a patent for Philadelphia's 215. Coincidentally, InBev/A-B hasn't patented any of Chicago's area codes; the closest Huff could find was Goose Island trademarking "312 Urban Wheat."

Beer geeks will notice that there are some pretty beer savvy cities on that list. At the very least, it's strategy: InBev/A-B has three years to use the trademarks or lose them. But it does lead to speculation about what A-B may have in the offing.

One of the genius moves Goose Island ever did was tap into civic pride in the marketing of 312. Say what you want about the quality of the beer, you knew it was a Chicago beer. But the trademark applications don't mean that A-B is fast-tracking a wheat ale, or any other beer style, for the cities listed. (Although even in beer-friendly towns such as Cleveland, St. Louis and Denver that same civic pride may outshine a beer's ties to A-B.)

But marketing reps have screwed up good things before. If InBev/A-B does plan on brewing beers catered to specific cities, Eddie Glick of local beer blog Beer Dorks told Huff, "It makes a mockery of the motto 'drink local.' "