Strange Brewing will stay Strange, settles nasty trademark dispute with homebrew shop
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.
"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.
Westword's Beer Man on Twitter at @ColoBeerMan and on Facebook at Colo BeerMan
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Denver dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.