Fall is not just a time for pumpkins, crisp air, and fall colored-leaves. It’s a time for beer. Whether you like a traditional year-long beer like an IPA or Lager or seasonal “pumpkin ales” of sorts, beer is a big part of Portland, especially during this time of the year.
Alcohol is nothing new. Based on a Sumerian poem honoring Ninkasi, the patron goddess of brewing (yes she’s real), beer may be over 3900 years old. In a poem found in Mesopotamia/Ancient Iraq, there is a recipe instructing others how to make beer from barley. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_beer
Some historians argue that beer may even be 7,000 years old as ancient pottery has traces of yeast-like substances. Regardless of when beer was first invented, it has no doubt maintained its popularity throughout the ages. Thus, it is no surprise that many sites and publications like Discover Magazine offer great beer facts. I randomly picked two I found to be extremely interesting:
-Beer (in part because it contains antimicrobial ethanol) was a healthier drink than polluted Nile river water.
-Experimenting with beer has taken many forms. John Lubbock, an 18th-century naturalist, studied the behavior of beer-boozy ants.
How is all of this relevant to Intellectual Property you ask? Well, hundreds of thousands of beer related inventions and patents have brought beer to where it is now (in addition to being in a glass in our hand)
For example, Louis Pasteur wasn’t just great at helping us with our milk. In 1873, he was awarded a patent Called “Improvement in brewing beer and ale” http://www.google.com/patents/US135245. Mr. Pasteur realized that even if beer was made correctly and not exposed to a lot of air during the brewing process, when it was transported exposure to too much atmospheric air made the beer have a lower quality. As a result he designed special tanks that had tubes inside that could spray water on the insular tank to keep the beer at the right air pressure (from what I gather from reading the patent).
His invention’s goal (which was accomplished) enabled the beer to be brewed “all seasons and in most any climate successfully, [and] the product [to be[ more aromatic and… perfectly limpid.” http://www.google.com/patents/US135245
Thousands of patents for beer barrels have existed over the years. One of them that changed things a little bit is the “Metal Container”. In an effort to reduce barrel cracking and various other pressure challenges, inventor William E. Coakley set out to provide a receptacle that which would be “simple, compact, and well balanced in construction [while being] rugged and durable.” It seems Mr. Coakley did a good job as we see metal barrels/kegs being thrown down from truck carriers and rolled into bars and restaurants on the daily. http://www.google.com/patents/US2132722
Sometimes a draught beer or bottle is not available and the beer is quickly available in a pop top can. The Beer Can (granted in 1939) was patented by Wark Samuel Arnold and Alfred C. Torem in 1939. This beer can design added an outer disk to the opening to overlap the hole covering. This way if the covering inside became lose bill wouldn’t spill all over the place. “Thus sealed, whether by reliance wholly upon the internal pressure or by the application of the sealing substance 6, the disk 5 is not readily displaced by accident, but it can be displaced by inwardly directed pressure of a .thumb through the aperture upon the disk, in the manner illustrated in Figure 3.”https://www.google.com/patents/US2147004. The Pabst Brewing Company most likely solutes you Mr. Arnold and Mr. Torem.
As mentioned thousands of beer related patents exist. When you are enjoying your beer and brats remember to cheers the inventors of beer related inventions then and now. At Mohr IP Law, our team enjoys a beer or two—but work comes before drinking- unless a client has a beer related invention that requires using actual beer to demonstrate its utility.