Weekly Beer Nut article

Buffalo Bill Cody at the center of a beer battle

Published: Monday, August 29, 2011, 3:05 PM By George Lenkermasslive.com

clip_image002William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody

While I’ve focused on local and state beer news over the past month, a lot of national beer news notes have virtually piled up on my virtual desk. So let’s dig through two of them today.

It seems that renowned Wild West sharpshooter Buffalo Bill Cody is now a target of a lawsuit about two beer brands that want to use his name.

Former professional wrestler Eric Bischoff, who runs an entertainment business that produces television shows has squared off against Mike Darby, whose family owns Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel, a well-known Wyoming landmark that was built by Buffalo Bill himself in 1902. Both businessmen started brewing a beer this summer that used Cody’s name.

While Darby was the first to get his beer on Wyoming shelves, he made a crucial error in not having his label approved, as required by law. Bischoff, whose beer hit the market just two days after Darby’s, had his label approved and also filed for a general copyright, something Darby also did not do. Darby said he thought his brewer and distributor had handled the label approval process, but neither had done so.

However, as owner of Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel, which has been selling drinks in Buffalo Bill logo glasses at its Buffalo Bill’s Bar for many years, Darby is saying he should be considered the rightful owner of the Buffalo Bill brand. But Darby has had to pull his beer from stores until his label is approved, which he expects it to be soon.

A judge tried to sort out all this wrangling but couldn’t, so now it goes to a full trial, yet to be scheduled.

Buffalo Bill is a pretty big icon out there. My opinion is he’s probably big enough to grace the labels of both beers.

—Scientists recently discovered the yeast species that was responsible for the ability to make lager beer, which was invented 600 years ago.

Researchers have known for decades that the yeast brewers use to make lager, S. pastorianus, was a hybrid of two yeast species: S. cerevisiae and another elusively unidentifiable organism.

After a five-year quest across the globe, a team of scientists identified the the "missing link" organism: a strain of wild yeast they named Saccharomyces eubayanus, which lives on beech trees in Argentina. Combined with S. cerevisiae, the species creates the hybrid S. pastorianus strain, which allows brews to ferment at lower temperatures, this creating lagers.

I realize this is pretty beer geeky stuff, but hey, I like a good mystery and like when it’s solved. Cheers!

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