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The Baltimore Sun‘s Rob Kasper pointed me to a New York Times piece yesterday that brings up the potential nomenclature scrum over the nickname “Natty,” between canned beers National Bohemian and Natural Light. (Props to Kasper for calling them both “thin beers” even though Natty Boh is a Charm City hometown favorite.)

In the piece, NYT ad writer Stuart Elliott describes Natty Light as “the new nickname” for Natural Light, implying that Baltimore beer drinkers have a right to be “crabby” (his word, I swear) over what is purportedly Anheuser-Busch InBev’s attempt to siphon some of Natty Boh’s kitsch. (InBev makes Natural Light; Pabst makes National Bohemian.)

But he’s wrong in saying that the nickname is new. True, InBev recently launched a TV and web ad campaign to pump up the “Natty Light” moniker, but the nickname precedes the ad dollars they’re spending on it. I went to high school in Pennsylvania and college in North Carolina — two settings in which I witnessed (and possibly partook in) the consumption of Natural Light — and in both cases it was called “Natty.”

We may never determine which beer first planted its flag in Natty country, but there’s another fair way to settle this feud: a merchandising schill-off! Who will take the crown and the title? The Natty Light Boxers or the Natty Boh Dog Leash? Oh, but don’t worry, it’s all about the beer.