Michael Deeds: Brewery name change feels sorta Bogus

mdeeds@idahostatesman.comMay 30, 2014 

Somebody had better buy the folks running Bogus Basin ski area a beer, because despite their affinity for cold-weather fun, they might need to chill.

It sort of depends on which side of the snow fence you fall on.

Less than three weeks before it was slated to open, community-owned startup Bogus Brewing announced it will change its name - because of Boise's ski hill.

"A couple months ago, Bogus Basin Recreational Association contacted us regarding the use of the word 'Bogus' in our name," the brewery at 521 W. Broad St. posted May 24 on Facebook. "After a couple months of negotiation and some collaborative thinking with Bogus Basin's management, we have decided to change the name of the brewery to something that more clearly differentiates us from the ski hill."

Bogus Brewing wants suggestions, but here's the catch. It will help a lot if the initials are "BB," because those letters are acid-stained into the brewery's concrete floor - and are on hundreds of beer mugs.

Geez, Bogus Basin. To use ski jargon, this mini-debacle seems a little like a public-relations yard sale.

"How about "Bullsh** Brewing!" declared a friend of mine. He offered a family-friendly alternative that pays tribute to Bogus Basin's ski runs: "Bareslope Brewing."

Facebook commenters hatched several ideas, which ranged from "Bullied Brewing" to my favorite, "Tell Bogus Basin to go pound sand."

Isn't Bogus Basin a location? Should the Payette River go after Payette Brewing Co., too?

Bogus Basin General Manager Alan Moore is aware that some Boiseans will think the ski area is overreacting, but it boils down to one thing, he says: brand confusion.

"It just sounds like it's part of Bogus Basin," he says.

That's arguable - certainly by trademark attorneys. Either way, would it really matter? Craft-beer fans might point to Sun Valley Brewing Co., which exists in Hailey without mass mistaken belief that the ski resort does the brewing. Breckenridge Brewery has been going strong in Colorado since 1990.

Bogus Basin is different, Moore says. "Bogus Basin is a community-owned asset. And that's entirely different from the motivations of those other ski areas that you mentioned."

Brewery president Collin Rudeen says a friend came up with the Bogus name while they were thinking of local geographic sites. "We're a local, community-supported brewery, so we want to celebrate things local."

But the reason they went with it, he says, is the tongue-in-cheek aspect of calling a brewery "bogus." Irreverence is popular in the industry. Lagunitas Brewing Co. in Petaluma, Calif., brews an ale called Sucks. In Boise, 10 Barrel Brewing Co. sells Swill. Garden City's Crooked Fence Brewing celebrated the release of its Little Bitch Otter beer this week. (Speaking of potential fallout - yikes. Just try not to make the retaliation too overt, Mr. Governor Sir.)

Bogus Brewing filed paperwork as a business in early 2012. But it didn't hit the ski area's radar, Moore says, until Rudeen visited the offices in March. Rudeen says he approached them to talk about donating $1 of every keg sold of Snowboarder Porter to Bogus Basin. Starting small, donations are part of the brewery's plan. It will give a portion of keg sales of Hard Guy saison - named after a local mountain bike trail - to Ridge to Rivers, Rudeen says.

Bogus Brewing's general counsel David Arkoosh - one of the brewery's 232 shareholders and a member of the board of directors - chooses to look on the bright side. "This whole thing has created additional awareness for both of them," he says.

Still, "this was a pretty big challenge for us," Rudeen admits.

Moore says Bogus Basin will support the brewery through email blasting and its website, and plans to pour one of its beers probably at Simplot Lodge. He calls Rudeen a "great guy" and says this whole thing was "not an easy decision."

The brewery formerly known as Bogus Brewing plans to open June 13 - whatever it is called by then.

"The tricky thing is that there are already 2,500 breweries in the U.S. or whatever, and a lot of names are taken already," Rudeen says.

It's enough to give a guy a headache. Better eat something - quick, order some food from Idaho Fry Co., ERRRRRR, Boise Fry Co.

"In the end, it's just a name, right?" Rudeen muses. "We've got beer on the way. Maybe a name's not that big of a deal, you know?"

TV CHANGES ARE FORECAST

Earlier this month, Mike Murad left KBOI Channel 2 for another anchor job at KOIN in Portland. And May 23, longtime Boise weatherman Vin Crosby gave his final forecast.

"He's moved on to spend more time with his family," general manager Robert Truman says. "KBOI will miss his tremendous weather knowledge and accuracy."

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