WARREN, Vt. – Sometimes the need to change is inevitable. Other times it is forced by nature. But in this case, Mad River Distillers is choosing to rename its award-winning Malvados apple brandy to both avoid a wicked legal dust up and use the opportunity to enlist the public’s help. The Warren, Vt. distillery was served with a cease-and-desist notice by the French spirits marketing board, who were unimpressed with the small company’s translation skills.
“Malvados means ‘wicked’ in both Spanish and Portuguese,” quipped Mad River founder John Egan. “But we are lovers of brandy, not fighters. To be honest, we never thought we’d become big enough to show up on their radar.”
Malvados is a traditional-style, dry apple brandy made entirely with native Vermont apples and handcrafted in Mad River Distillers converted horse barn. The company was pleased to receive the ultimate acclaim for the 100 proof brandy in 2016, when it was awarded a Good Food Award for Best Distilled Spirit. The recognition certainly brought the upstart distillery international acclaim, but with the increased profile came the registered piece of mail: change the name or face the legal consequences in court.
“We thought it would be fun to enlist the public’s help with a new name,” said Mimi Buttenheim, president of Mad River Distillers. “So we came up with a nice prize package.”
The winning entry, judged by the Mad River Distillers team, will earn an overnight stay at Hotel Vermont in Burlington, a dinner certificate, and a cocktail flight in the distillery’s eponymous Burlington tasting room.
Entries may be submitted via Facebook, Instagram (@MadRiverDistillers) or via Twitter (@DrinkMRD) and should include the proposed name, as well as the hashtags #true802 and #NameOurBrandy. The winner will be contacted for a mutually agreeable prize delivery date. The contest runs from April 6 through April 27, 2018. Transportation to and from Burlington, Vt. for redemption is the responsibility of the winner.