Beer Man

Crooked Stave Takes on Trinity Brewing in Sour Trademark Fight

Colorado's two best-known sour-beer specialists are puckering up for a fight at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office over three beer names that the companies both use. The battle will pit Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project, which has been in Denver since 2010, against Trinity Brewing, founded in Colorado Springs in 2008.

Both have garnered high praise nationwide for their Belgian-style sour and wild ales. Most of these beers take months or years to make; they're aged in wooden barrels with wild yeast or bacteria.

Beginning in December, Trinity began trademarking several dozen beer names, including those of some of its most well-known offerings, including TPS Report, Saison Man and Red Swingline. But on June 25, Crooked Stave notified the federal agency's Trial and Appeal Board that it plans to protest Trinity's protection of three of those names: Primitif, Three Flowers Saison Vieille and Mr. Saison Saison Vieille. 

Crooked Stave didn't say why it is protesting, but the brewery makes beers that also use the words Primitif and Vieille.

The USPTO case follows a similar dispute last year in which Trinity filed a cease-and-desist order against Crooked Stave in El Paso County Court over the word Primitif.

Trinity owner Jason Yester declined to comment on the situaiton based on the advice of his attorney.

Crooked Stave founder Chad Yakobson also declined to discuss the situation. "Given the legal nature of this matter," he said, "Crooked Stave is not in a position to comment."

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes