For 25 years, Homer Simpson has been one of television’s most well-known, lovable oafs. There’s nothing too big for the misguided patriarch to screw up, and if there’s one thing viewers have come to expect from The Simpsons star, it’s that he’ll always be grasping his favorite drink: an ice-cold Duff Beer.
Now, fans will have the opportunity to crack open a cool Duff of their own. After decades of shutting down distributors who have tried to illegally market real versions of the iconic beverage, the show’s media company, 21st Century Fox, has announced plans to produce its very own Duff Beer, the Wall Street Journal reports. Production will begin in Chile, with plans to expand to Europe and South America by next year.
The decision to officially market Duff comes after years of railing against these illegal distributors, according to Jeffrey Godsick, president of 21st Century Fox’s consumer products division. “Once you see enough piracy, you are faced with two choices,” he told the Wall Street Journal. “One is deciding to fight it, and the other is deciding to go out [into the market] with it.” Because Duff wasn’t actually a real product, the media company struggled to protect its copyright, having to file shaky intellectual property suits against the illegal brewers.
Despite having a TV show that has etched itself in the public’s consciousness over its unprecedented 25-year run, Fox looks to distance Duff Beer from The Simpsons as much as possible. This means no show references or character endorsements; just an exact replica of the fictional beer that will be instantly recognizable to Simpsons aficionados.
There are two primary reasons for this deliberate disassociation. For one, The Simpsons is a universally beloved show that appeals to a wide demographic—including children. According to the Wall Street Journal, Fox’s lawyers said the media giant has “consistently refused” to license the show’s brand to tobacco and alcohol companies for fear that they would be “detrimental to children.” The other reason: just because Duff is famous, doesn’t mean it’s famous for being any good.
“Duff is inspired by the brand that’s in the show, but it begins and ends at that,” Godsick said. Rather than settle for TV-show quality, Fox has worked with British brewmaster Paul Farnsworth to craft a “premium lager” that’s “fairly deep golden in color” and combines “a hint of fruit” with “a caramel aromatic.”
Simpsons fans and beer snobs alike have reason to rejoice with the advent of Duff Beer, but there’s one person who’s probably less than thrilled: former Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan, whose legendary (and terrifying) alcohol consumption inspired the name of the fictional brew. McKagan told The Independent that he gave Fox his blessing in 1988 without asking for a cut of the profits. “I knew nothing about branding yourself then or the royalties off it,” the rocker said. “I just thought cool, they wanna use my name and boom, The Simpsons was born. Yeah, if I had a nickel for every time… but it’s fine.”
Sorry for the missed opportunity, Duff. At least you’ve earned the adoration of beer drinkers and TV watchers worldwide. Surely they’ll make a collective toast in your honor.