Sony Legacy Now Producing Booze

"Brew = brew" - Brilliant

After over forty years as a title associated with one of the greatest leaps forward Miles Davis made in music, Sony Legacy has licensed the name “Bitches Brew” for use on a new beer. What a disgusting and wholly non-innovative use of the man’s art and music. Legacy exec Adam Block was quoted on the Dogfish Brewery website as follows:

“There’s a spirit of innovation, of creativity and individuality, that’s at the core of Miles’ music,” said Adam Block, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Legacy Recordings. “Sam and Dogfish Head approach their art from the same place and consequently the marriage is an easy and cool one.”

I disagree. As someone that doesn’t drink beer but has enjoyed this album for many years, I’m offended by Sony’s attempt to capitalize on the value of this title in such a cheap way. I’m not impressed that Dogfish is a “creative” beer company, although they do seem to have some taste in music. To put them on the same level as one of the greatest minds of the 20th century is a total insult to anyone who’s ever bought a Miles Davis record from Columbia Records.

This is different from the (as yet fictional) “Blue Note Cookie” described a few posts ago – consuming beer is something restricted to a certain portion of the population (and we need people UNDER 21 to be into Miles Davis!), espouses a certain behavior and unlike the original double album, if you consume too much, you will get sick.

I think Miles Davis intended to break down all sorts of boundaries when he created this music, but not the one between “commerce” and “art.”

Taste the real thing after the jump.

Full disclosure: I often work for Sony Legacy, and they may be pissed enough not to hire me anymore after reading this post, but if I were asked to promote a beer with Miles’ name, I would decline the contract. There has to be a better way to commercialize the Sony catalog without singling out Miles’ great album because it contains the word “brew.” In reality, “Kind of Blue” contains more appropriate music for a cocktail/drinking environment anyhow.

Miles Davis “Bitches Brew”

In my opinion, all of these maneuvers are necessary, but those of us in the business have to think about the music and what it means to the fans first, what it will mean to casual consumers and the artists’ legacy (pun intended). Will people drink this beer and be compelled to buy Columbia’s 40 other Miles albums? Does it contain psychedelics like the music?

If you want to drink a great boutique beer that has a strong association with music, I recommend the Northampton Brewery’s “Hoover’s Porter,” named after my great friend Chris “Hoover” Rankin, who helped inspire theses folks to enter the microbrew arena.

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