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Report: Anheuser-Busch Trademarking Area Codes After Goose Island 312

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The iconic 312 Urban Wheat Ale that reminds Goose Island beer fans of Chicago wherever they go may soon have spinoffs in other area codes.

Citing the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the Chicago Tribune reported this week that Anheuser-Busch InBev, which is now the parent company of Goose Island, filed intent-to-use applications for trademarks on the primary area codes in several cities across the country.

The cities include Charlotte, N.C. (704), Cleveland (216), Dallas (214), Denver (303), Houston (713), Las Vegas (702), Miami (305), Nashville (615), Philadelphia (215), Phoenix (602), Pittsburgh (412), San Diego, 619, San Francisco (415), St. Louis (314), and Washington, D.C. (202), the Tribune reported.

An expert says this means other beer labels named after their local area codes could come anytime, and that Anheuser-Busch likely has an interest in marketing local-sounding products across the country.

Mack McDermott of the Chicago Craft Beer Examiner says the filing could also be a "preemptive strike" to be sure that another brewer doesn't steal the area code label idea that started with 312.

McDermott writes that for one-off past events, three suburban brewpubs have already produced wheat beers labeled with outlying area codes – Rock Bottom Orland Park used 708, Rock Bottom Lombard-Yorktown used 630, and Mickey Finn's in Libertyville used 847.

Leuven, Belgium-based Beer titan Anheuser-Busch InBev bought the entire Chicago-based Goose Island beer company back in March. Goose Island products are still brewed in Chicago.

Last year, Goose Island sold about 127,000 barrels of, 312, Honkers Ale, Matilda and other brands.

Goose Island beer is distributed primarily in the Midwest, but can also be found throughout the rest of the country and in the U.K.

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