Alchemy & Science Acquires “Just Beer” Trademark

Alan Newman speaking at the Brewbound Session in 2012

Alchemy & Science, the craft-brew incubation project spearheaded by beer industry veterans Alan Newman and Jim Koch, confirmed today that it has quietly made its latest acquisition.

The Vermont-based company recently purchased the trademark rights to the business name “Just Beer” from Buzzards Bay Brewing of Westport, Mass. “Just Beer” was the name of a line of products made by Buzzards Bay Brewing from September 2009 until October, 2012. Buzzards Bay is now back to selling beer under its original company name.

Newman told Brewbound that Alchemy & Science purchased the trademark in December. He would not discuss financial details of the transaction.

According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office records, Alchemy & Science is the current owner of two trademarks: “Just Beer” and “The Just Beer Project.”

Newman said little about the future of the project but said the simplicity of the “Just Beer” concept is what attracted him.

“We are currently doing some minor testing at a handful of focus groups to understand what we have and how we use it,” said Newman. The testing involves a pair of beer styles being sold at a handful of Vermont retailers. Those beers are being brewed at Boston Beer Company’s test brewery in Jamaica Plain, Mass, he said.

Buzzards Bay — which is also the producer-brewery for Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project and limited batches of Narragansett Beer — will continue making some of the original “Just Beer” brands, like Moby D, Boo, and The Golden Flounder under the Buzzards Bay label. The company will also launch “Buzzard’s Bay IPA” in 2013.

There’s an experimental side to both companies’ involvement with the Just Beer name. Bill Russell, the president and founder of Buzzards Bay Brewing, said he began Just Beer in 2009 with the goal of crafting beers sourced entirely with American ingredients.

“We had not allowed ourselves that open-minded experimentation when we were in Buzzards Bay mode the first time around,” he said.

Meanwhile, Alchemy & Science, which is something of a pet project for Newman and Koch to experiment with different brewing techniques and business models, made its first acquisition, Los Angeles-based Angel City Brewing, in January 2012. After a year of development, the brewery finally opened its doors on Jan. 31, 2013.

Oddly enough, the trademark, “Just Great Beer” was also recently registered by Koch’s own Boston Beer Company on Jan. 22. Jessica Paar, a spokeswoman for the company, declined to comment on the registration of that trademark.

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