Last Call: Stone Brewing Makes Headlines; Boston Beer Fined in New York

Stone Brewing Seeks Injunction Against MillerCoors

The latest development in Stone Brewing’s ongoing trademark infringement lawsuit against MillerCoors came yesterday as the San Diego craft brewery is now seeking an injunction to prevent the sale of Keystone products in which the word “stone” has been isolated.

In the court filing — first cited by attorney Brendan Palfreyman, who runs the TrademarkeYourBeer.com website — Stone argues that an injunction is necessary due to the rebranded Keystone cans “causing actual and irreparable consumer confusion,” “wreaking havoc in the market” and causing sales “to skyrocket as consumers associate it with Stone.”

Stone Brewing is seeking to prevent MillerCoors from “selling, advertising, or offering for sale any beer or alcohol product whose label or packaging displays the term ‘Stone’ or ‘Stones’ apart from or in a different font, typeface, color, placement, shading and overall emphasis from the term ‘Key’ in defendant’s ‘Keystone’ brand.”

Stone added that its willing to allow MillerCoors 30 days to sell through its existing inventory.

In February, Stone filed the trademark infringement lawsuit against the multinational beer company alleging the rebranded Keystone packaging and advertisements had infringed upon Stone Brewing’s “Stone” mark.

Stone Brewing Cuts Ties with NOFX

In other Stone Brewing news, the brewery has pulled its sponsorship of the Punk in Drublic beer festival and ceased production of its collaboration beer with NOFX after members of the punk band made insensitive comments about the victims of last year’s Las Vegas massacre.

In a statement announcing the termination of the relationship, Stone called the comments made during a NOFX performance last weekend “insensitive and indefensible.”

“We respect punk rock, and the DIY ethos for which it stands,” the company said. “To us, it means standing up for things you believe in, and fearlessly committing to what’s right. And it is for that reason that Stone Brewing is immediately disassociating ourselves from the band NOFX.”

Stone added: “Punk rock is cool. These callous comments were the furthest thing from it.”

The company noted that a Stone-and NOFX-branded Punk in Drublic Hoppy Lager is still available in the marketplace but “NOFX does not earn any money from the sale of the beer.” Additionally, the company said it will donate all profits from the beer to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Foundation.

Boston Beer Fined $975,000 for Selling Unregistered Products in New York

Boston Beer Company subsidiary American Craft Brewery LLC has agreed to pay a $975,000 settlement to the New York state Liquor Authority for selling unregistered beer, hard cider, and malt beverages in the state.

In a press release, the Liquor Authority said Boston Beer, which makes the Samuel Adams, Twisted Tea and Angry Orchard offerings, among other products, agreed to pay the fine after it was discovered that the company had sold 1.4 million cases of product in the state, in 2017, without obtaining the required brand label registrations. The products were valued at more than $24 million.

According to the Liquor Authority release, a “permits unit supervisor” discovered in February 2016 that Boston Beer had only registered one product, Twisted Tea Summer Blueberry, to sell in the state. Boston Beer execs were notified and they replied that they were in the process of filing paperwork for the other brands. However, the Liquor Authority said it started an investigation in early 2018 after learning that several products were still not registered.

“Whether you are a small farm brewer in Clinton County, or a major international public company, you have to comply with the rules and the laws of New York,” Liquor Authority chairman Vincent Bradley said via the release.

For its part, Boston Beer said in a statement to Brewbound that the company was notified by the Liquor Authority about a new product registration in February 2016. The company added that it contacted the state agency in December 2017 “to inquire as to why several of our products were not listed as registered in their system.”

“After further review, we identified that as a result of a clerical error, several registrations had not been renewed,” Boston Beer said in the statement. “During this time, however, all new products were registered, in compliance with NY laws. We worked closely with the state earlier this year to renew the lapsed registrations and were recently made aware of the final settlement.”

Good City Brewing to Open Dedicated Sour Brewery in Downtown Milwaukee

Good City Brewing announced plans Thursday to open a second production facility and taproom in downtown Milwaukee, near the NBA’s Bucks new area.

The upstart Milwaukee beer company is one of the first anchor tenants of the Entertainment Block development near the Milwaukee Bucks’ stadium. The 11,000 sq. ft. brewery will feature a pilot brewing system and focus on the production of small batch and experimental sour ales.

“While our core philosophy is to brew clean and balanced beers, we’ve always had our eyes on launching a sour beer program,” Good City co-founder and brewmaster Andy Jones said, via a press release. “To do so requires a separate facility for quality and cross-contamination reasons. The Entertainment Block provides us with a unique opportunity to grow our brewery with funky and innovative offerings that we have been unable to explore to date.”

Good City’s second brewery is slated to open in spring 2019. The company has signed a seven-year lease on the property, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Last year, Good City sold 2,476 barrels of beer, up 395 percent from 2016, according to data from the Brewers Association (BA).

The Milwaukee-based craft brewery participated in Brewbound’s Startup Brewery Challenge 8, held in New York City in mid-2017.

White Sox Add More Craft Offerings at Ballpark

The Chicago White Sox have added 16 additional craft offerings to its “Craft Kave” at Guaranteed Rate Field starting today (June 1). Among the additions are Surly #Merica! lager, Boulevard Hibiscus Gose, 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon wheat, Bell’s Pooltime wheat ale and Golden Road Melon Cart. The majority of the offerings comes from Illinois-based breweries, including Blue Island Beer Company, Gun Craft Beer, Hop Butcher and others.