What’s in a Name?

Following a trademark battle, Barefoot Bucha launches crowdsourcing campaign to rebrand. 

Calling all creatives! Barefoot Bucha, a certified organic kombucha microbrewery located in Afton is getting a facelift—new name, new tagline, new logo—and the owners want your help. Kate and Ethan Zuckerman are excited about the change, but the decision to rebrand didn’t come out of the smoothest of circumstances.

Last fall, the Zuckermans learned that E & J Gallo, the largest wine producer in the world and owner of the Barefoot Wine trademark, was suing them over their use of the word “barefoot” and their logo, a set of footprints. Last week, the Zuckermans announced that they “amicably” came to a settlement with Gallo outside of court. They’ve launched a campaign called “Name That Bucha!” asking Virginia, D.C. and Maryland residents who love their kombucha to submit ideas for a new name, tagline and logo art.  

“This is not really a situation that any small business owners foresee, facing a lawsuit and changing everything,” says Kate Zuckerman. “But we really put a lot of thought into how we can make this into a positive, and we’re excited about it.”  

Barefoot Bucha isn’t just any kombucha producer, and the owners want the branding to reflect that. The Zuckermans originally branded the company with the tagline “big flavor, small footprint,” which reflects their commitment to producing and distributing kombucha with as little waste as possible. The sweet, vinegary, fermented tea is available on tap at grocery and health food stores all over the region, where customers can reuse and refill their glass bottles and growlers.  

“We got to thinking about our model, and it really is all about community involvement and a purchasing choice that is in some ways less convenient,” Zuckerman says. “People do it because they believe in the mission of doing it without waste. And this is another way people can participate as a community.”

So go ahead—pour yourself a glass of the soon-to-be-former Barefoot Bucha (which comes in ginger, elderflower, black raspberry, blueberry, pear and grape flavors) and get those creative juices flowing. Submit an entire package (name, tagline, logo), or just one or two of the elements by Monday, Sept. 12. Winners of the contest will receive a year’s supply of kombucha, not to mention bragging rights. BarefootBucha.com/NameThatBucha  

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