Craft brewing community will rally around Strange Brewing with a beer fest fundraiser

Categories: Beer Man

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Keep Strange Brewing Strange Facebook page
The Strange Brewing crew.
When Strange Brewing Company opened in May 2010 and kicked off a wave of new craft brewery development in the Denver area that continues to grow astronomically, owners Tim Myers and John Fletcher became the godfathers to some of those who followed, offering help, advice and support to anyone who asked.

Now, that community is returning the favor by holding a beer festival fundraiser to help Strange pay for possible legal fees it may incur in a trademark dispute with a similarly-named Massachusetts homebrew shop that has threatened to sue.

See more:
- Strange Brewing faces a trademark threat from a Massachusetts homebrew shop
- Left Hand Brewing wages a trademark battle for the word "Nitro"
- Strange Brewing opens biergarten, talks about expansion

"Tim is one of those guys who would give you the shirt off his back if you asked," says Russell Fruits, a part-owner of Grimm Brothers Brewhouse in Loveland. "If it had been a different brewery, maybe one that wasn't like that, it might not have worked."

Fruits is the organizer of the Strange Days beer fest, which takes place January 27 at the Rackhouse Pub; the fundraiser will include beer donated by more than two dozen breweries across the state. Tickets are $25 -- although you can give more -- and all of it will be donated to Strange for its legal defense fund.

Strange and Grimm started around the same time, and Fruits says Myers is a good friend and that it took him only 24 hours to get the first dozen or so breweries on board.

Myers is still trying to work out a resolution with the owner of Strange Brew Beer & Wine Making Supplies in Marlboro, Massachusetts. If he is successful, the money from the fundraiser will be donated to the Colorado Adaptive Sports Foundation.

The trouble started in September when Strange got a letter from the homebrew store's lawyer demanding that the brewery change its name.

"Your continued operation of a microbrewery establishment under the name 'Strange Brewing Company' is causing and is likely to continue to cause consumer confusion, deception, damage to my client's good will, brand name and reputation, and constitutes a direct infringement of my client's federal trademark rights," the lawyer wrote. "We therefore demand that you immediately undertake steps to cease any further commercial use of the term 'Strange Brewing Company' in connection with your business establishment and that you adopt a term that is entirely dissimilar to this term in the continued operation of your business."

Myers responded with a letter offering to team up with the homebrew shop by marketing its kits in the Colorado brewery and by licensing one of its recipes to the shop -- something that would benefit both small businesses and avoid legal hassles.
But the shop's owner, Brian Powers, turned him down. And on November 2, Powers's lawyer officially rejected Myers's offer, calling it "offensive," and threatening to sue.

The Strange Days benefit runs from 3 to 6 p.m.. on January 27. There will live music, and the Rackhouse will be selling food. You can buy tickets, $25, at www.brownpapertickets.com; none will be available at the door.

Some of the breweries on hand include: Big Choice, Breckenridge, Caution, Crystal Springs, Echo, Great Divide, High Hops, Loveland Ale Works, Our Mutual Friend, Pateros Creek, Very Nice, Strange and Grimm.


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Location Info

Rackhouse Pub - CLOSED

208 S. Kalamath St., Denver, CO

Category: Music

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4 comments
goldstein
goldstein

For a second there I thought we were raising money for a sick person... The name "Strange Brewing" and derivatives are obviously taken from the movie of the same name. The plaintiffs in Mass, and these guys in CO are both infringing on that trade name. In addition, it is a stupid name. They seem like nice guys and ostensibly make good beer, so it should be up to them to do their homework and hire a proper brand consultant. Surely, as "trailblazers" in this sector, they can afford a bit of professionalism in their marketing.

maxplanck0
maxplanck0

This is a "must-attend" event for anybody in the Colorado beer community who's enjoyed Tim & John's good work  and thanks to the Rackhouse & the other brewers who're making it happen. These guys deserve our support.

Mantonat
Mantonat topcommenter

@goldstein How much do you actually know about the craft brewing business? Do you really think they had the cash to pay a brand consultant? I don't even think they were able to pay employees for the first year or so. 

It's not a stupid name, it's a name that captures the spirit of their brewing ethos. It may not exactly be original (hence the legal issues), but it's original enough to differentiate them from a 30 year-old movie and a homebrew supply store in another state. If you Google "Strange Brew," you'll also notice that there are bars and coffee houses across the country with the same or similar names.

I get it if you aren't interested in helping out the legal finances of a local brewery, but why you'd take an active stance against a couple of guys just trying to make a living brewing beer is beyond me. If you think they're getting rich off this, why don't you check out their tap room at 13th & Zuni before making any final judgments. 

milleralexjames
milleralexjames

@Mantonat @goldstein Well regardless of what you think of the name, it probably wasn't the GREATEST move to name the company what they named it. That being said, no one deserves the crap SB has to deal with to keep the company they love what it is, so I'll be there.

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