Strange Brewing will stay Strange, settles nasty trademark dispute with homebrew shop

Categories: Beer Man

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After more than a year of heated exchanges, Denver's Strange Brewing Company has settled its contentious federal trademark battle with Strange Brew Beer & Wine Making, a Massachusetts homebrewing store. Neither company would disclose the details of the settlement until the paperwork has been signed. But the full terms will be revealed in the next few weeks, according to a joint statement released Thursday by both companies.

Still, the statement hinted at what the settlement might involve, including the fact that Strange Brewing will be able to keep the word "Strange" in its name, and that the homebrew shop will retain its trademark and is planning to start its own brewery.

See also: Facebook takes down Strange Brewing's page amid legal dispute

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"As a small craft brewery, our objective is to create exceptional craft beer for our local, Denver community," said Strange Brewing co-founder Tim Myers in the statement. "We're extremely optimistic about the future and look forward to finalizing the agreement so that we can continue doing what we love -- brewing quality, small-batch craft beer."

"I am glad that we were finally able to come to a resolution which respects our right to the Strange Brew trademark while still keeping Strange Brewing Strange," said Brian Powers, owner of Strange Brew Beer & Wine Making, in the same statement. "Now we can focus on providing quality home brewing supplies throughout the busy upcoming holiday season, and moving forward with the permitting and construction of our own nano brewery."

The dispute began in September 2012, when a lawyer for the homebrew shop sent a harshly-worded letter to the brewery demanding that Myers and co-owner John Fletcher stop using the Strange Brewing name because it infringed on his trademark. The shop owns the rights to the name when it comes to both production and retail sales of beer.

In January, other small breweries in Colorado rallied around Strange Brewing -- which opened in 2010 as one of the first in a new wave of local breweries -- holding a festival at the Rackhouse Pub designed to raise money for legal fees if they were needed. The Strange Days fest included two dozen breweries and raised more than $6,000.

After over-the-phone negotiations failed in March, Myers decided to take the offensive, asking the federal agency to cancel the homebrew shop's rights to the trademark, saying that the company may never have actually produced a commercial beer and shouldn't be able to claim the trademark for the name Strange when it comes to beer production.

Negotiations between attorneys continued, but things went downhill in June when Powers asked Facebook to take down Strange Brewing's page, saying the brewery was infringing on his trademark. Myers then did the same thing to Powers.


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Strange Brewing Company

1330 Zuni St., Denver, CO

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7 comments
Ian E Cerveny
Ian E Cerveny

Arrogant SOBs in Mass can shove it. Had they been reasonable in the first place instead of launching an unwarranted assault on Strange Brewing this could have been resolved amicably a year ago. Only ones that profited from the path Strange Brew Beer & Wine chose were lawyers.

Christopher Jones
Christopher Jones

screw both of them, they stole the name from the movie anyways.

jake1361
jake1361

@Christopher Jones Harsh much? There's also a coffee shop in Austin with the name, a comic strip, a tavern in New Hampshire, and that's just with a quick Google search. Screw them, too?

milleralexjames
milleralexjames

I wouldn't say it quite as harshly as Mr. Jones but yeah, kinda. I feel very little sympathy for either since they took their name directly from something else and acted like they didn't. Plus that name is just a little weak in my opinion anyway, could have been a nice way to change but no one is asking me, for sure.

milleralexjames
milleralexjames

@Bagwhan Whether they acted like it was their own invention or not, in my personal opinion it's not that creative and not my cup of tea. But Strange obviously know what they're doing and they make a fine beer so I'll gladly shut up, haha.

Bagwhan
Bagwhan

@milleralexjames Actually, I don't think the folks in Colorado acted like they didn't take the name.  It was the folks in MA who acted like their name was incredibly unique.

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