When pop culture enters the merchandising arena, it’s usually through tie-ins like T-shirts and refrigerator magnets – those still exist, right? – and not direct ports of products used in movies and TV series. But we’re about to enter a reality where one of the most famous fictional brands of all times can be found on actual store shelves. Ladies and gentlemen, you may one day be able to make up an excuse for a friend or spouse about how you were too shitfaced on Duff Beer to do that thing you were supposed to do.
After 26 years, Homer Simpson won’t be the only one guzzling official cans of Duff on a regular basis, as 20th Century Fox has decided to go forward with this form of brewery-based marketing. And as it turns out, this isn’t just about making a quick buck from boozehounds, but to curb a portion of sudsy piracy that Fox has been facing over the years without a whole lot of legal ground to stand on.
The first rollout of Duff Beer will take place in Chile, with a goal of spreading out across South America and Europe in the early months of 2016. The reason for this seemingly strange ground zero is based on the troubles that Fox’s legal team have had with shutting down legitimate breweries in the area (as well as around the world) putting out illegitimate versions of Duff. Though Fox has gotten a lot of the contraband tie-ins off of the market, the fact that Duff wasn’t previously an official trademark has made it hard for the media giant to rightfully stop everyone else from using the name. And so, when backed into a corner, Fox decided to hop(s) into action by making it themselves.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Fox’s president of consumer products Jeffrey Godsick describes the brew as a “premium lager,” with a golden color, good balance, a hint of fruit and a caramel aromatic. Such a description may come as a surprise to fans, who might have assumed that the real-life version would mimic the brand’s cheap and low-quality legacy. But nobody likes shitty beer, so props to them for embiggening the approach to the taste.
In that way, the store-bought brand will be different from its show counterpart, and that’s part of the idea behind bringing it from The Simpsons to drinkers. They want everything to be mutually exclusive. Here’s how Godsick put it.
Duff is inspired by the brand that’s in the show, but it begins and ends at that. It’s a completely stand-alone brand…you will not see any characters from the show involved in the marketing in any way.
I guess that means no Harry Shearer for commercials. Though there are no plans to bring Duff to the U.S. anywhere outside the Simpsons-themed attractions at Universal Studios parks, Godsick sees no reason why it wouldn’t be sold around the world at some point. Now, I’m guessing it’s only a matter of months before we get to see Futurama’s soda Slurm getting created.