The Simpsons has rarely shied away from officially licensed products. Via their official shop you can buy a Homer apron and a Barney bobblehead. For a time, 7-Eleven was selling Buzz Cola and Krusty-O’s. But the never-ending TV show has avoided creating a branded version of one of their best-known fictional products, Duff Beer – until now.
The Simpsons reluctance to sell a version of Duff Beer is logical enough: The animated show has always appealed to a broad range of ages, so 21st Century Fox feared selling Duff Beer could be “detrimental to children.” But as many of us who have traveled abroad can attest to, that hasn’t prevented businesses outside of the US from selling their own unlicensed take on Homer’s favorite drink. I have a can of German-brewed Duff Beer I grabbed while traveling through Europe. South America has seen similar products. It turns out, protecting the intellectual property of fictitious products isn’t easy.
Because of this frothy piracy, Fox has decided that if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. “Once you see enough piracy, you are faced with two choices,” Jeffrey Godsick, president of Fox’s consumer products division, told the Wall Street Journal. “One is deciding to fight it, and the other is deciding to go out [into the market] with it.”
Fox is going with the latter plan, initially bringing official Duff Beer to Chile – one country where Fox has been doing battle to protect the name – before possibly taking the brand global. “I think there’s potential to have Duff everywhere in the world,” said Godsick.
So what does the real Duff Beer taste like? Fox enlisted British brewmaster Paul Farnsworth to create what they say is a “premium lager” with “a very good balance of flavor and refreshment to it. It’s fairly deep golden in color. It’s got a hint of fruit to it. It’s got a caramel aromatic to it.”
Fox still plans to distance the show from the product, however. “Duff is inspired by the brand that’s in the show, but it begins and ends at that,” Godsick said. “You will not see any characters from the show involved in the marketing in any way.” Not even Duff McShark? Guys want to be him, girls think they can change him!