Renegade changes the name of Ryeteous IPA after legal threat from Brooklyn's Sixpoint Brewery

Categories: Beer Man

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Add Renegade Brewing to the list of Colorado breweries who have had to change the name of one of their beers in response to a legal threat from another beer maker. (This story has been updated below.)

The company's flagship brew, Ryeteous Rye IPA, is now called -- wait for it -- Redacted Rye India Pale Ale, and a line has been drawn on the label through its previous name.

See also:
- Renegade Brewing will can two more of its beers
- Strange Brewing faces a trademark threat from a Massachusetts homebrew shop
- Left Hand Brewing wages a trademark battle for the word "Nitro"

Last fall, Renegade, which cans Ryeteous, got a call from Shane Welch, the president of Sixpoint Brewery in Brooklyn, asking him to change the beer's name. Sixpoint, which also cans its beers, makes a similar rye-based beer called Righteous Ale.

"My proposal was that we are not in the same market and we are not going to be in the same market, probably, and our packaging is extremely different," says Renegade founder Brian O'Connell. "I said why don't we follow in the footsteps of Avery Brewing and Russian River and do a collaboration beer? But they weren't big on that, unfortunately. So that was followed up by a cease-and-desist letter from their attorney."

Avery and Russian River famously worked together on a beer called Collaboration Not Litigation when they discovered that they both brewed beers called Salvation.

Renegade, founded in 2011, currently only distributes in Colorado; Sixpoint, meanwhile, was founded in 2004 and distributes in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and several other East Coast and Midwest states.

Welch, however, says he thought that the two breweries had come to a mutually acceptable understanding over the course of a couple of phone calls. "We even said he could continue to use the mark until he ran out of packing material because we didn't want him to have any financial penalty for that," Welch says.

"The analogy that he was using with Russian River and Avery was different. If you look at the facts in that case, those were beers that had not been used and distributed as an existing brand," Welch adds. "In our case, we had been making this beer since 2005, and we own the federal trademark to it. If we had just produced it last year, it would be different. But we have been making that beer from day one."

But O'Connell believes that Avery and Russian River set a great example for the industry. "We got into this industry because of that kind of camaraderie and the social atmosphere. We tried to preserve it in this situation, but it didn't work out," he says. "It's frustrating, and it's disappointing to see this happening more and more.

"We chose to step aside and change the name instead of getting into an argument with another brewery and go through a legal battle," he adds. (See O'Connell's full press release with his additional thoughts on the next page.)

O'Connell wants to make a statement about how he feels, which is why he changed the name of the beer to Redacted.

"We were forced to change it. We didn't do it freely, and we aren't happy about it," he says. "But this is the situation that exists. I hope that makes a statement to the industry of what we think about it."

Several other Colorado breweries, including Oskar Blues, Dry Dock and River North have changed the names of their beers because of legal threats.

O'Connell says he will keep printing Ryeteous cans until he runs out in April. Then he will switch to labels with the new names.

Continue reading for the press release from Renegade.

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Renegade Brewing

925 W. 9th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Music


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21 comments
bisonlawrence
bisonlawrence

Not bad for a San Fran restaurant group ripping off authentic Chicago deep dish. The "deep dish" on the menu is actually called a stuffed pizza when in the Windy City. They should have paid more attention to originators, while copying a style and misrepresenting it. The thin crust is not reminiscent of Chicago and as a true Chicagoan, this place is a total let down. You haven't experienced Chicago style pizza until you've had Lou's, Giordano's, Uno, Duo, Barnaby's... And they don't even have Italian Beefs on the menu. I've spent a few years working at various Chicago pizzerias, Patxi's is not one of them. We wouldn't hide out kitchens behind a brick wall. And where's the cracker crust on the menu? I wonder if these fools even know what I'm talking about? Stop trying to make dough off my city. Call your pie for what it is, not what it's trying to be. I can't go in there until they at least fix the name of the pie on the menu. Disgraceful to our heritage.

a94buff
a94buff

Renegade rules. Way to make beer flavored lemonade guys! And sixpoint, please eat a fat one.

maxplanck0
maxplanck0

My take is 6-point enjoys throwing its weight around, just like that fellow obnoxious NY'r, Donald Trump. Their rejection of Brian's collaboration proposal speaks volumes to their arrogance and as the word gets around the industry - and it will - their brand will incur far more damage than this petty incursion ever would.

As for Renegade: they rule!!

epll
epll

Perhaps this foreshadows Sixpoint's plans to enter the Colorado market?  If that's the case, then I can understand wanting the name changed.  If, however, Sixpoint is not intending to move into this market, it seems more than a little petty.  I'd also venture (with the caveat that I am not an IP lawyer), that mark confusion sufficient to satisfy a Lanham Act claim is unlikely if Sixpoint and Renegade are not selling in the same markets.  With all of that said, if you've had Sixpoint's beer, you know that the image and marketing far exceeds quality.  Their beer (while not bad by any stretch) has somewhat of a cult following back east in part, I believe, because of their unique packaging and labeling (they use tall, skinny cans, like what Izze uses).  In that sense, I'm not surprised that they would react the way they have to a perceived brand infringement. 


Just another example of the craft beer industry growing up in sad, unfortunate ways.  As Philip Seymour Hoffman playing Lester Bangs said, "you're coming along at a very dangerous time for rock & roll."

Todd Elsen
Todd Elsen

I had a Ryeteous last night. I feel honored I had one of the last ones.

Sharon Fiscus
Sharon Fiscus

Don't the east coast beer folks have anything better to do than pick on western beer folks?

ecurmudgeon
ecurmudgeon

Next, Renegade is going to get a C&D from Lagunitas Brewing over the "Redacted" name, citing their "Censored" label...

Cory Winget
Cory Winget

Ryetous and righteous are now the same according to law? ...lol ok.

Montanaandy
Montanaandy

This exemplifies where things seemed to be headed lately in the craft brewing world - litigation and not collaboration. Breweries will have to begin to pay close attention to first use issues, trademark issues, etc. and will need to have an attorney/law firm at the ready.

beername
beername

Sorry they had to change the name, but I think this alternative is awesome!  A better name and story, to be honest. Seems that the East Coasters are cranky hard asses.

 Although I do think the Oskar Blues Gordon Knight forced name change is still the most appalling.  I have never since stepped foot in a GB.

Fletcherneedsajob
Fletcherneedsajob topcommenter

Those NYC clowns better not show up to GABF this year... I'll give them something to litigate. 

Amy Dolinger
Amy Dolinger

there you go with be offensive yet again! and we love you for it!

Mantonat
Mantonat topcommenter

I guess I wasn't paying attention last time I looked at the name of the beer, because I missed the second e in  Ryeteous and thought it was supposed to be a pun on "riotous," not "righteous." Guess I'd make a pretty bad copyright attorney. 

monopod
monopod

@Mantonat Probably so, especially since this is a trademark (not copyright) issue.  (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

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