It doesn’t seem like that long ago I wrote an article on the whole Beer War going on between a beloved Canadian brewer from BC and Bear Republic in California over trademark infringements between similar sounding names of beers. After visiting Bear in Healdesburg earlier this year I then changed my view on it and wrote a drunken midnight ramble. For some strange reason its the most hit page on my crap beer blog, and it was only this week that I read on Canadian Beer News that the matter is again still being finalized.
This comes down to one company taking an idea from another and having consumers who purchase beer being confused over which beer is which. In BC Red Racer is still considered up there for IPA’s and I know i used to drink a 6pack of it every Thursday while playing baseball, or ‘Softball’. In Australia I say Baseball as it sounds tougher.
So for those that dont know these brands or more specifically Red Racer its in a Green Can and is an amazingly refreshing IPA that is 6.5%, and I actually prefer it over Race 5 IPA, but Racer 5 can been confused with the aforementioned beer. In my own opinion I dont think that Central City has stolen anything as I really think so many Beer Recipes are part clone beers anyway, but I do think the confusion element can’t be ignored.
If someone decided to come off as ‘BeerFesten’ and started writing about beer, it really wouldnt bother me as it would be someone other than me with a story to tell, i would likely find it amusing. But if it was my livelyhood and affected how much income I make of my beer writing then I would be pretty pissed off. Thankfully I dont get paid for opinions or thoughts on here, I get paid from my non-beer related work. But you have to be able to see from Bear Republics Point of View.
In the US if Central City want to sell Red Racer IPA they need to rename their beer, and these will now be called ‘Red Betty IPA‘.
Maybe we should be calling in Betty BOOP IPA instead for the new Red Betty, but then we may run into other IP Lawyers from California that have a family trust in Betty Boop. Or how about Black Betty IPA?
There are two camps on this issue and I know CAMRA BC President Paddy VanEast BeerBlog is very familiar with the Central City side and we had a good stouche over this over lunch. As I told my mate Paddy and I have told others, the fact that Bear Republic stood up for themselves should not be condemned and until those in Vancouver have visited Bear Republic in Healdesburg and see the brewery for themselves they should not lambaste them.
I was lucky enough to have a night in Bear last April and spoke to a number of bar staff and even got a lift back to the hotel with the manager on Duty who was a really cool guy. They are not AB-Inbev, but rather a small brewpub in a wine town, that were standing up for IP (not IPA) Law. I am on the side of the Bear Republic team and feel that its a matter that could have been resolved much quicker with less money paid to the Legal Beagles that would have cleaned up in this.
Just to clarify the mate I was traveling with when at bear republic is one of those Legal Beagles that explained some law talk to me about Property Law and ownership of ideas. Though I take only 1% of what he says as anything to go by as he is a Criminal Defense lawyer, not IP law. As Trump would say ‘Its not personal, its business’.