Bass, the UK's oldest trademark

Known as the original brewery to produce pale ale, Bass is one of the most recognisable beer brands in the UK. But did you know that their iconic, yet simple, red logo is also the oldest known trademark in the UK?

It is reported that Bass beer was first brewed up in 1777 by William Bass in Burton-upon-Trent, England. At one time, Bass beer was the highest selling beer in the UK and by 1877, Bass had become the largest brewery in the world.

On New Year’s Eve in December 1875, a Bass employee was sent to queue up at the registrar’s office. The reason? He was tasked with making sure that Bass would be the first company to take advantage of the new Trade Marks Registration Act that was to come into force the following morning.

In a clear case of the early bird catching the worm, the Bass logo became Britain’s oldest and most significant trademark. This forward thinking by William Bass, propelled the company’s marketing power to new heights and helped to transform Bass into the largest brewery in the world, with an annual output of 1.5 million barrels of beer.

Bottles of Bass with the famous logo have appeared in art and literature, including painting by Pablo Picasso. The above example is an 1881 painting by Manet with the famous red triangle very apparent on the bar.



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