Beer Man

Will Great Divide and Yeti Coolers Go to Blows Over Trademark?

Great Divide Brewing and Yeti worked together on a promotion back in 2018.
Great Divide Brewing and Yeti worked together on a promotion back in 2018. Great Divide Brewing's Twitter account
In the mythical wilds, a real-life battle between two yetis would be a sight to behold. But in reality, the faceoff between two popular Yeti brands may be settled in a much more peaceful manner.

Last fall, the Austin, Texas-based Yeti Cooler company — known for its $400 coolers — was awarded two federal trademarks: one for the word "Yeti" as it relates to beer glasses, cups, mugs and bottle openers, and the other for the words "Yeti Presents." But the trademarks got the attention of Great Divide Brewing, which has been brewing its flagship Yeti Imperial Stout, and numerous variations, since 2003.

Both companies own different trademarks related to the word "yeti," but this never seemed to be a problem in the past. In fact, Great Divide worked with Yeti Coolers just a couple of years ago when the brewery debuted its Yeti Awareness Week, offering customers a chance to win a Yeti cooler along with beer.

But the latest trademark awards gave Great Divide pause, and the brewery has since notified the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that it would like some time to think about opposing the marks.

What changed? Great Divide founder Brian Dunn declined to comment, and an email sent to Yeti Coolers' media team was not returned. But Yeti Coolers recently open a shiny new retail store in Denver, at 3030 East Second Avenue. In fact, it became only the fourth Yeti-owned store in the nation when it opened in late 2019. There are now eight Yeti stores between Texas, Florida, South Carolina, Chicago and Denver.

Still, Great Divide has a history of collaboration and negotiation — and in a document filed with the USPTO, the agency points out that "the potential opposer is engaged in settlement discussions with applicant" — something that seems like it would be a win for Yetis everywhere.
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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes