Budweiser, Champagne, Missouri Pecans and What's In a Name?

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Photo: Jennifer Silverberg
Barham at the Columbia Farmers' Market one Saturday morning in 2006
Reading earlier today about how Anheuser-Busch InBev has lost another round in European courts over the use of the name "Budweiser" in Europe reminded me of the very swell time I had reporting the story, "Bounty By The County," back in the spring/summer of 2006. I know Beth Barham, whom the piece profiles, definitely smiled at the headlines this morning.

Barham is a huge champion of the claim that A-B InBev's opponent, Budvar, has made in the long-running trademark battle: That is, you can't appropriate the name of something *made in a particular place* and tack it onto *any-old product made somewhere else.* (In French, which Barham speaks, there's one word that roughly sums up this concept: terroir.)

Think: Champagne. Prosciutto. Feta.

I was also reminded that I've been wanting to blog for forever now about how far along Barham's Missouri Regional Cuisines Project has come since I first wrote about it in 2006....

Barham, a professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia, is working to institute a terroir-style system of food labeling in the U.S. -- beginning right here in our very own state.

Back when I profiled her, only one region, Mississippi River Hills, which is not too far south of St. Louis, was organized.

To date, three more regions -- Manitou Bluffs, Missouri River Valley and Old Trails -- have already been formed and the farmers, vintners and other artisinal purveyors of food and drink are beginning to work on marketing and labeling campaigns for their place-based delicacies.

Barham is a big locavore and her goal is to stimulate local economies, especially rural ones. The long-term hope is that a Missouri regional product -- pecans from northwest Missouri, say, or pork from the Ozarks -- will one day acquire the cachet of Champagne, or Prosciutto di Parma, and thus bring tourist traffic -- $$ -- to the artisans of our state.    

To that, and to Budvar, I say, bottoms up!

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