Stone Brewing Files Lawsuit Against MillerCoors

GK_ProjectGargoyle_1x1Stone Brewing (Escondido, California) announced today that it has filed suit to defend its iconic STONE® brand against one of the world’s largest beer conglomerates, MillerCoors.

Widely known for its commitment to never sell out to Big Beer, Stone Brewing is now boldly stepping up to Big Beer by filing a lawsuit that “alleges that MillerCoors is trying to rebrand its Colorado Rockies-themed ‘Keystone’ beer as ‘STONE.'”  Stone Brewing feels that this rebrand – a move that has led to the repeated and habitual reference to Keystone Light as simply “STONE” or “‘STONE” in MillerCoors’ marketing and social media posts – can only lead to confusion in the marketplace, leaving the craft brewery with “no choice but to combat MillerCoors’ aggressive marketing moves, which abandon Keystone’s own heritage by falsely associating with the one true STONE®.”  The official Complaint goes on to allege “federal and state causes of action for unfair competition, trademark infringement and related claims.”

“Keystone’s rebranding is no accident,” said Dominic Engels, Stone Brewing CEO. “MillerCoors tried to register our name years ago and was rejected. Now its marketing team is making 30-pack boxes stacked high with nothing but the word ‘STONE’ visible. Same for Keystone’s social media, which almost uniformly has dropped the ‘Key.’ We will not stand for this kind of overtly and aggressively deceptive advertising. Frankly, MillerCoors should be ashamed.”

Stone Brewing is represented in the lawsuit by Noah Hagey, Rebecca Horton and Toby Rowe of San Francisco litigation boutique BraunHagey & Borden LLP.

For more information on this lawsuit, you can check out the video below where Greg Koch, Stone Brewing executive chairman & co-founder, explains his brewery’s stance and reasons for pursuing this action.  Since this situation is ongoing, we will be sure to update you here with any and all information as it develops.  Stay tuned.  Prost!

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MillerCoors purchases majority stake in Terrapin Beer Co.

tenthblakeThe ears of the craft beer community have perked up once again as MillerCoors announces this week that they have acquired a majority stake in Terrapin Beer Co. (Athens, Georgia).

MillerCoors has confirmed that Tenth and Blake, the company’s “craft beer and import division” that carries such brands as Blue Moon and Leinenkugel, has acquired a majority stake in Terrapin Beer Co. for a yet to be disclosed sum.  Tenth and Blake had already acquired a minority stake in Terrapin back in 2012, and this most recent purchase only confirms that their relationship has been quite successful since.

“The team at Terrapin is so passionate and committed to brewing such terrific beers that we are thrilled to welcome them deeper into the Tenth and Blake family,” said Scott Whitley, president and CEO of Tenth and Blake. “As owners, our job is to work collaboratively with their team to support their continued success with their innovative, award-winning beers that complement our portfolio perfectly.”

A lot will remain the same at Terrapin Beer Co., but there will be the following changes and moves within management and leadership (credit for the following investigative work goes to the folks at Brewbound):

  • Terrapin Beer Co. C0-Founder John Cochran has decided to leave the company.  CFO Frank Skorzewski will replace Cochran as President
  • Co-Founder Brian “Spike” Buckowski will remain with Terrapin as VP of Brewing Management
  • Dustin Watts will stay on as VP of Sales and Marketing
  • Terrapin’s VP of Operations Brian Hollinger will also be leaving the company to pursue another opportunity

With those changes noted, Tenth and Blake assures craft beer fans that Terrapin will act merely as a “business unit” of the company and “Terrapin’s management and team will continue to create, brew, package, ship and sell Terrapin’s acclaimed portfolio of brands.”  It is also rumored that this move will allow Terrapin to expand their barrel-aging program and develop a Sour Ale program in the future.  We will know for sure as time goes on and this transaction should finalize by the end of August 2016.  Prost!