Bud Light Hires Old Timey Town Crier to Issue Cease-and-Desist to Craft Brewer
'Dilly dilly' belongs to Bud Light and Bud Light only, apparently.
Screengrab via Facebook
So, here’s a thing. Last Friday, Minneapolis brewery Modist Brewing Company rolled out a “Dilly Dilly Mosaic Double IPA.” The brewery was playing with fire: Dilly Dilly, if you’re unaware, just happens to be the catchphrase of choice for a series of Bud Light commercials set in the Middle Ages. (It’s a set of words that truly means nothing.) Bud Light, sensing that Modist was seeking to profit off this slogan, issued a cease and desist to the brewery on Friday.
But this wasn't just any cease and desist! It involved sending a literal man cosplaying as a medieval-ish character storming into the Modist taproom, issuing a cease-and-desist in borderline insufferable olde English, unspooling a scroll, and intoning with the intensity of a first-year drama student delivering a Shakespearean monologue.
What a fun, unexpected way to dole out a legal threat!
The full text of his decree, below:
Dear friend of the Crown, Modist Brewing Company,
Congratulations on the launch of your new beer, Dilly Dilly Mosaic Double IPA! Let it be known that we believe any beer shared between friends is a fine beer indeed. And we are duly flattered by your loyal tribute. However, “Dilly Dilly” is the motto of our realm, so we humbly ask that you keep this to a limited-edition, one-time-only run. This is by order of the king. Disobedience shall be met with additional scrolls, then a formal warning, and finally, a private tour of the Pit of Misery. Please send a raven, letter, or electronic mail to let us know that you agree to this request. Also, we will be in your fair citadel of Minneapolis for the Super Bowl, and would love to offer two thrones to said game for two of your finest employees to watch the festivities and enjoy a few Bud Lights. On us.
"He is a very talented local actor we hired to help read the letter with some gusto," Miles Ritenour, Bud Light Communications Manager, wrote MUNCHIES over email on Tuesday when asked who the man was.
"Brewing and drinking beers is about having fun and being with friends," Ritenour wrote. "We didn’t want to come down hard on anyone who is spreading the good word of Dilly Dilly. We were happy that the team at Modist Brewery was brewing a Dilly Dilly beer, but we still had to protect our IP."
Modist, for its part, complied with Anheuser-Busch InBev's request not to sell any further growlers of this beer under the name Dilly Dilly. Instead, the bar staff affixed the parchment to the wall and, the next day, took to Facebook to joke that it would rename the beer Coat Tails.
"The first contact [we had with Bud Light] was exactly what you see in the video—a town crier delivering the very witty cease and desist," Eric Paredes, Modist's co-founder and chief manager, wrote MUNCHIES over email on Tuesday. "We had no idea they were coming (and in that fashion), but we expected them to show up in one way or another. The name 'Dilly Dilly' is trademarked and we knew they had to do something to protect it. We launched the beer at noon and the crier showed up at around 2:15 pm."
Paredes and his team had a few reasons for naming the beer Dilly Dilly—for one, they'd been hearing the phrase Dilly Dilly bandied about by many people in the neighborhood. That said, the name was also meant "as an intentional poke at Big Beer," he explained. "In the first commercial, Bud Light makes fun of craft beer by sending a specialty mead bearing subject to the dungeons."
To Paredes, Dilly Dilly beer is the antithesis of Bud Light: It's a double IPA that he describes as "intentionally hazy," clocking in at 8.0 percent ABV and filled with aromatic mosaic hops. Paredes confirmed that Modist is not renaming the beer as Coat Tails, because the beer was merely planned as a one-time limited release.
"As delicious as it is, we have a number of other beer recipe ideas that we’re just as eager to try, although we’re unlikely to poke Big Beer again any time soon," he wrote. "Dilly Dilly Mosaic Double IPA will henceforth live in the archives of the internet."