Mexican Simpsons-style Duff beer, sold in Europe
|Country of origin||Springfield|
|Variants||Regular/Duff Light/Duff Dry (identical), Lady Duff, Raspberry Duff, Tartar Control Duff, Beer Gummies, Henry K. Duff’s Private Reserve, Duff Stout, Duff Zero (non-alcoholic, retired)|
Duff Beer is a brand of beer that originally started as a fictional beverage on the animated series The Simpsons, since then it has become a real brand of beer in a number of countries without permission or consent from its original creator, Matt Groening and has resulted in legal battles with varying results. It is also sold as an energy drink in the gift shop of The Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios.
It is Homer Simpson‘s beer of choice. It is a parody of stereotypical commercial beer: cheap, poor-quality, and advertised everywhere. The beer’s official spokesperson is Duffman. While Duff Beer comes in several varieties, it is revealed on a Duff Brewery tour in « Duffless » that regular Duff, Duff Light, and Duff Dry are the same beer, although Homer and Barney apparently remain oblivious to the fact. A tasting room also contains several varieties that Barney stated they had not tried yet, including Raspberry Duff, Lady Duff and Tartar Control Duff. In « Homer’s Odyssey« , Duff is described as « The beer that makes the days fly by ». Fudd, a competitor to Duff, appears in the episodes « Colonel Homer » and « Lemon of Troy« , the latter showing it being enjoyed by residents of Shelbyville, rival town to the Simpsons’ home of Springfield. Consumption of Fudd however is alleged by bartender Moe Szyslak to have made hillbillies go blind.
In the episode entitled « Selma’s Choice« , Bart and Lisa Simpson travel with their aunt Selma to Duff Gardens, a parody of the Busch Gardens amusement park, but also containing elements of Disneyland. In the gift shop, Bart spots « beer goggles« , spectacles that mimic what drunks see: they make Aunt Selma appear young, feminine, and beautiful to Bart – and also, somehow, alter her voice. Later, they see the mascots of Duff Beer, the Seven Duffs.
In the same episode, there is also a direct parody of the « It’s a Small World » attraction at Disney parks. In the cartoon, the boats float on a brown liquid as animatronic children sing « Duff beer for me, Duff beer for you, I’ll have a Duff, You have one, too, » over and over again. Lisa drinks the liquid in the ride on a dare from Bart, and she freaks out from its hallucinogenic properties.
Other Duff Gardens attractions include the Beeramid, the Beerquarium (« Home of the world’s happiest fish »), the Beer Hall of Presidents, the Washing Machine ride, the Whiplash rollercoaster, singing group Hooray for Everything (who sing a politically correct version of Lou Reed‘s « Walk on the Wild Side » and are based on Up with People), and a direct parody of Disneyland’s Main Street Electrical Parade.
The Seven Duffs
The Seven Duffs are characters at the Duff Gardens theme park. The « Duffs » are a reference to Walt Disney‘s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The Seven Duffs are named Sleazy, Queasy, Surly, Edgy, Tipsy, Dizzy, and Remorseful.
In an excerpt from his autobiography, former Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan claimed that the beer was named after him as the writers were fans of the band and he was known for his extreme alcohol consumption.
Real Duff beers
Matt Groening has stated that he will not license the Duff trademark to brew an actual beer, over concern that it would encourage children to drink. However, there have been a few notable cases of individual companies and persons who have used the term « Duff Beer » with varying success.
Bilbo’s pizza and brewery in Kalamazoo, MI also brewed their own form of Duff beer, which had a Homer Simpson tap handle to complete the reference.
Duff Beer Distribution Limited (www.duffbeer.co.uk) import The Legendary Duff Beer from Eschweger Klosterbrauerei which has been on sale in the UK since 2011.
In the mid 1990s, the Lion Nathan brewery in Australia produced a beer called Duff. 20th Century Fox brought legal action against the company. The product was ordered to be pulled from store shelves and destroyed, because of the likely association in public mind between the Simpsons brand and characters and Lion Nathan’s product, though the manufacturer did not use any Simpsons characters or the Simpsons Duff Beer design. The beer became a collectors’ item in the process, with one case selling for US$13,000.
Since 2006, Rodrigo Contreras, from Guadalajara, Mexico is setting up a business with the purpose of selling Duff beer. He managed to register the « Duff » trademark in Mexico, as well as the domain name DuffDeMexico.com. Contreras designed the bottle to be identical to the one portrayed on The Simpsons. The bottle can be seen at his website. The beer is currently available at a few bars, but Contreras has stated his intention of selling it at convenience stores and even exporting it to the United States.
This case has been featured on several Mexican newspapers and magazines, but most of them focus on the novelty the beer represents, rather than the legal implications of it. The « Duff » trademark was not registered in Mexico before Contreras registered it; however, Mexican intellectual property law recognizes the concept of « brand notoriety », which states that if any brand is well known by a specific section of the consumers or the industry due to the commercial activities and/or advertisement done by its owners, they have the right to claim the ownership of the trademark.
Duff Brewery in Dunedin New Zealand brewed Duff Beer many years before The Simpsons, but due to threatened legal action by Fox they changed their name to McDuff. Duff Brewery were unable to afford to defend the law suit due to being a small brewery.
Duff Energy Drink
The gift shop of The Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios sells a canned energy drink designed to look like a Duff Beer can. It is also sold at a limited number of other locations, including Hot Topic. It is also available in the UK at American import stores such as Cybercandy.
- ^ « Duffless ». The Simpsons. episode 16. season 4.
- ^ a b Associated Press (1996-04-22). « Homer’s creators sue Aussie brewery for selling Duff Beer ». The Record. p. B7.
- ^ « GunsNRoses Nearly Killed Duff McKagan ». Retrieved 2011-08-15.
- ^ Joe Sixpack – Reporting and drinking beer in Philly and beyond
- ^ Daleside Duff from Daleside, a Premium Bitter/ESB style beer: An unofficial page for Daleside Duff from Daleside in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, , England
- ^ Homer Simpson’s Duff Beer Goes On Sale In The UK
- ^ a b Michael Idato (1999-01-03). « Sip Homer’s brew ». The Daily Telegraph. p. 036.
- ^ Mmmh… Cerveeeezaa…! MundoCerveza.com (in Spanish)
- ^ « Current Issues of Mexican Intellectual Property ». Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- ^ « Duff Germany, homepage (German) ». Retrieved 2009-09-14.