How Two Breweries Did What Politicians Can't: Amicably Resolve Dispute Over Convention-Themed Beers

from the four-pours-and-seven-beers-ago dept

It’s political season here in America, which means that it’s time for everyone to disagree as violently as possible and to such a degree that all conversation is at an impasse. You know, basically just like every other time in America, except now we televise this stuff because the brains of our citizenry might still have a little meat left on the bone that can be melted away through “debates.” But two companies are bucking that trend in a way readers here might not expect: two breweries are dealing amicably with having come up with politically-themed beer brews named very similarly to one another.

Thirsty Dog Brewing in Ohio had recently announced its latest beer, Unconventional Ale, named after the RNC convention set to take place in Cleveland. The convention is of course gaining even more attention than usual this presidential cycle, mostly because reports on the machinations of the party suggest it might be exactly the best kind of shit show to watch from the outside. That notoriety explains why Platform Beer Co. too had announced it was releasing a new brew, entitled UnconventionAle. So the names are similar to the point of being nearly identical. I’m sure you’re already bracing for the nasty threats and legal filings. But no, these two breweries have managed to do what our politicians won’t: talk to each other.

Occasionally, brewers come out with identical or too-similar names for beers, and most of the time a quick call or cease-and-desist letter decides the outcome. Who had it first becomes the arbiter. And in this case, both sides say this was determined in an efficient and friendly manner.

“It is what it is,” said Platform’s Paul Benner. “John had already planned something with that name and registered it. It’s a good example of the brewers taking care of it without having to get dirty. It was a couple of calls and an email. It was amiable.”

Najeway agrees. He said he called Platform, saying Thirsty Dog had trademarked the name.

“Unlike politicians we were able to agree to change it,” he said. “Maybe we can have a brewers debate about the beers at a beer hall instead of a town hall.”

A political event at a beer hall? Sure, what could possibly go wrong? But the lack of historically sensitive phrasing aside, it’s worth noting when two companies can work out a trademark issue without having to involve the lawyers, the courts, and any kind of threats. The craft beer industry used to be famous for this kind of business congeniality, but we’ve seen some of that pleasant facade fall away recently. Seeing two breweries talk to one another and work things out, particularly with the backdrop of a politically-themed beer, is something of a ray of sunshine these days.

When Najeway was asked if he could envision a candidate or supporter touting the beer from the podium, he said: “If they are smart they will.”

A drunk RNC convention? Yes, please…

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Companies: platform beer, thirsty dog brewing

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