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    Craft Brew News # 41 – It’s a Legal Matter, Baby

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    Craft Brew News – 8/23/2019
    (Courtesy of Brewbound – www.brewbound.com)

    MillerCoors, Stone Brewing File for Summary Judgement in Trademark Case

    Stone Brewing and MillerCoors have each filed for summary judgement in their ongoing trademark infringement lawsuit, according to Libation Law Blog.

    In February 2018, the San Diego-based craft brewery filed a lawsuit against MillerCoors, claiming its rebranded Keystone packaging caused marketplace confusion.

    In its latest brief, Stone Brewing claimed that its brand and trademark would be “destroyed” should MillerCoors succeed “in supplanting Stone’s craft beers with Keystone as ‘STONE’ in the minds of consumers.”

    Meanwhile, MillerCoors called the lawsuit “a publicity stunt” by Stone and claims that it was the first to use the “Stone” and “Stones” marks.

    “Stone Brewing is failing [to] keep pace in an ever more crowded craft beer segment and needed to revitalize its now-outdated image as an iconoclast,” MillerCoors’ brief said. “Stone Brewing’s market is increasingly populated by beers that are rated in official beer tastings as simply better than Stone Brewings’ ‘strong and unapologetically flavorful hops.’”

    Stone Brewing’s motion for preliminary injunction to ban the sale of Keystone products prior to a court hearing was denied earlier this year.

    Bell’s Brewery and Loveland Distributing Co. Headed to Richmond Circuit Court

    The legal dispute between Michigan’s Bell’s Brewery and Richmond, Virginia-based wholesaler Loveland Distributing Co. is heading to Richmond Circuit Court, according to Richmond Biz Sense.

    As Brewbound reported in October, when Premium Distributors of Virginia, a subsidiary of the Reyes Beverage Group, reached a deal to acquire Loveland Distributing Co., which had been selling Bell’s beer since 2015. According to reports, Bell’s had been attempting to terminate its contract with Loveland prior to the closing of the transaction due to the wholesaler not sharing crucial information regarding the deal. Bell’s ultimately ceased shipments to the state.

    The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority ordered the sides to enter arbitration in May, however, the ABC reversed course in July, saying only a Virginia circuit or district court could compel arbitration.

    Bell’s is appealing the order in hopes that Virginia ABC will determine it does have the authority to order arbitration, which Bells’ and Loveland’s contract calls for in the event of termination.

    Guns N’ Roses, CANarchy Settle Lawsuit

    Rock band Guns N’ Roses has settled its trademark infringement lawsuit against the CANarchy
    Craft Brewery Collective, which sold a rosé beer called “Guns ‘N’ Rosé ale” and merchandise without the band’s permission, according to Reuters. The two sides reached a settlement agreement on July 31, and both sides are currently working on a written settlement that would dismiss the lawsuit, the outlet reported.

    Cumberland Farms Files 2020 Ballot Initiative to Lift Cap on Liquor Licenses

    Massachusetts-based convenience store chain Cumberland Farms this week filed a proposed 2020 ballot question to lift the cap on the number of liquor licenses a single retailer can hold. Beer and wine is currently sold in just seven of the chain’s 206 Massachusetts stores.

    The question proposes a new food store beer and liquor license with no statewide cap that would be subject to local approval. Before hitting the ballot, the proposal must be certified by the attorney general’s office, garner 80,000 signatures, and be presented to the state Legislature.

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