Press Clips: Left Hand Seeks “Nitro” Trademark

Left Hand BrewingAnother week, another craft brewed trademark dispute.

It was reported last week that Left Hand Brewing had filed a trademark application on the term “Nitro” — shorthand for the process of carbonating beer with nitrogen — in order to protect the Nitro series brand name that the brewery has built over the years.

“Our main push — and I don’t want to get into it any more than this — is that we have a bottle that is pretty unique,” Left Hand president Eric Wallace told the Denver Post. “That is why we are pursuing it.”

The word “Nitro” prominently adorns the bottles on three of Left Hand’s nitrogenated brews.

Once word got out that Left Hand was attempting to trademark the phrase, Anheuser-Busch InBev and Boston Beer Company filed motions with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in an attempt to block Left Hand’s trademark effort.

But Left Hand isn’t the only craft brewery trying to trademark the phrase. Nearby Oskar Blues also unveiled its own plans to release a nitrogenated version of Old Chub, appropriately named ‘Old Chub Nitro.’ Oskar Blues has insisted that it received Left Hand’s blessings in pushing forward with the release.

Even though Oskar Blues received support from its neighbors to rollout Old Chub Nitro, it hasn’t stopped the brewery from getting creative with its nitro branding efforts. The company also filed a claim for the term “G’Knightro” on March 18.

While Left Hand and Oskar Blues were busy answering trademark questions, Colorado’s governor was hard at work installing a draft beer system in the governor’s mansion. Gov. John Hickenlooper, the original co-founder of Denver’s Wynkoop Brewing, can now pour beer from his state’s revered beer makers.

“If you’d have told me we’d one day have 235 breweries, I’d have laughed,” Hickenlooper told Denver’s Fox affiliate of the growing industry in the state. “I think it’s a symbol of Colorado; I think it stands for freedom, having a lot of choices.

If nothing else, this should play well with the “I just want to vote for someone I could have a beer with” constituency going into an election year.

But Hickenlooper might be right. There is something liberating about having a lot of choices. U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, home of Major League Baseball’s Chicago White Sox, is embracing that same ethos this year by adding a dozen craft brews to its taps for Sox fans to enjoy at the park.

According to ESPN, Revolution Brewing’s Anti-Hero IPA will be available on draft and in cans at the park. Additionally, Lagunitas — the area’s newest craft brewer — will pour its flagship IPA on draft. Offerings from Half Acre Brewing Co., New Holland Brewing, Bell’s Brewery Inc., Boston Beer Co., Two Brothers Brewing Co., Great Lakes Brewing, Veteran Beer Co., Lakefront Brewery, Goose Island Brewery and a number of ciders will also be available.

Further east, the New York Times published an in depth feature today about two breweries a world apart operated by feuding identical twin brothers.

Mikkeller, which is based in Denmark, is run by Mikkel Borg Bjergso, while the appropriately named Evil Twin Brewing, in Brooklyn, N.Y., is run by his brother, Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergso. The story, which is really a bit sad, tells of two brothers who have ultimately lost touch due in part to their hyper competitiveness in the craft beer industry.

Presumably in response to the Times article, Evil Twin recently tweeted: “I made up my mind, I will never again participate in any interview that talks about any other family member of mine.”

Maybe it’ll be enough to bring two brothers who haven’t spoken in over a year back together for a beer.

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