This Craft Brewer Isn’t Going Down Without a Fight

It’s no secret that craft beer has surged to popularity over the past few years, and consumers continue to become increasingly connected to their local brands and breweries. However, the Big Beer conglomerates are determined to capitalize on this popularity by inserting themselves into the craft beer market. Greg Koch, co-founder of the widely respected craft brewery Stone Brewing, sees this happening firsthand. He recently filed to take MillerCoors to court for attempting to steal his name. Koch is staunchly opposed to Big Beer and its attempt to capitalize on the success of craft beer. According to the suit he filed in San Diego, Stone Brewing claims that MillerCoors is guilty of trademark infringement through its rebranding of Keystone Light beer. MillerCoors, for its part, claims that Koch is seeking the legal route for a publicity stunt, not for any legitimate legal resolution. But Koch asserts in the paperwork, “Keystone’s new can design overtly copies and infringes the Stone trademark.” The word “stone” is displayed prominently across the new Keystone cans, but without “virtually any reference to ‘Keystone’ at all.” Due to the massive audience that MillerCoors can reach with its marketing efforts, “Such mass advertising broadcasts the infringing ‘Stone’ name beyond Keystone’s immediate social media audience to the general public at large,” the suit explains. Since Stone is the country’s ninth-largest craft brewer and the 17th largest brewer when also considering “Big Beer,” Koch’s words have power. Stone Brewing produced 12 million gallons of beer and recorded a revenue of $242 million just in 2017. According to the lawsuit, MillerCoors is blatantly guilty of trademark infringement since the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected MillerCoors’ request to register “Stones” in 2007, after which MillerCoors “abandoned its application, admitting that confusion with Stone Brewing beer was likely.” Koch believes that MillerCoors has purposefully utilized the word “Stone” in order “to capture the Stone mark and associated goodwill … (and) to mislead consumers.” This just goes to show that the packaging used is just as important as the product inside of the packaging. Meheen Manufacturing, Inc. is committed to helping craft brewers achieve attractive packaging and high-quality products alike by providing filling, carbonating, and labeling technologies that meet a wide range of needs. Call (720) 406-7442 now to learn more!