The idea of free food and beer at a FedEx Field tailgate — courtesy of DC Brau, Meridian Pint and Smoke & Barrel — seemed too good to be true. Alas, it was.
The brochure for the event — which was posted here and elsewhere — attracted the attention of the Redskins legal team. This led to a couple of phone conversations and a back-and-forth on e-mail this week, with the team objecting to a few parts of the advertisement.
“The Redskins appreciate your support and enthusiasm but have a strict policy against unauthorized commercial tailgating in our parking lots,” read one message from a team lawyer. “In addition, the flyer Meridian Pint has distributed and posted online includes Redskins colors, the FedExField logo, and an image of a Green lot parking pass. This unauthorized use unfairly capitalizes on the goodwill and reputation embodied in the Redskins trademarks and intellectual property. The public will mistakenly believe that the Redskins are affiliated with Meridian Pint, DC Brau, and Smoke & Barrel and/or have sponsored or authorized this tailgate party. Please confirm your agreement to immediately take down and stop distributing this flyer.”
The tailgate organizers attempted to retool the flyer, but the team also rejected the next effort. Eventually, organizers gave up — saying it had become more trouble than it was worth — and canceled the event.
Meridian Pint’s general manager, Drew Swift, whose family has had Redskins season tickets since the ’70s, told me in an e-mail that he was surprised the Redskins objected, because the craft beer aficionados hadn’t conceived of the tailgate as a commercial event. The tailgate was going to be free, with attendees just needing to sign up in advance.
“We weren’t trying to make any money at all, it was all free!” he wrote in an e-mail. “I am still blown the hell away that they would stop something so organic and just fun.”
At least one of my readers was en route to DC Brau to sign up while the event was in the process of being canceled. He said the employees were apologetic, and he’s going to wind up with a free Meridian Pint gift certificate for his troubles.
Plus, all the companies involved have received repeated mentions on the Bog, for whatever that’s worth, which is approximately $1.37.