Trinity Brewing Strikes Trademark Deal With Red Swingline Stapler Maker

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

No need to set the building on fire, Milton. Nobody is taking your red Swingline away. Or at least no one is taking Trinity Brewing's Red Swingline away. This week, Trinity owner Jason Yester revealed that he has signed an agreement with ACCO Brands Corporation, the maker of Swingline staplers, that will allow the Colorado Springs brewery to continue to use the name and and image on its beer labels.

The beer, which is named after a stapler belonging to the character of Milton Waddams, from the movie Office Space, is a hoppy sour ale that has become one of Trinity's flagships.

Trinity, which makes several beers with names from the movie, had filed for a trademark for "Red Swingline," as it relates to beer, in 2015 as part of a recent effort to protect many of its beer names. In January, though, Illinois-based ACCO, which makes a variety of office products, said it might oppose the trademark.

But the two companies were able to work out a deal that made them both happy: Trinity will sign the trademark over to ACCO, which will license it back to the brewery indefinitely. 

"More than anything, they just want to protect their image," Yester says. "Their only big provision was that if we change the artwork, they have the opportunity to thumbs-up or thumbs-down it. It seemed like the last thing they wanted was for us to lose that name. They knew it had won some awards, too.

"It was really pleasant the entire way," Yester continues, referring to the legal process. "Whenever something like that happens, I always try to solve it person-to-person first."

Trinity already had a good relationship with the company, he adds. Several years ago, when ACCO was celebrating Swingline's 25th anniversary, a company executive called out of the blue and asked if ACCO could have some of Trinity's beer for its party. Yester was happy to provide it.

Trinity will, in fact, be changing its Red Swingline label sometime this year as part of a larger rebranding effort for all of its labels. "We want our artwork to fit the theme of our beers...which is all about hands-on work," Yester says. He and an artist will be hand-drawing all of the new labels.

As for Milton, Yester says he is pretty sure that Office Space creator Mike Judge is aware of the Trinity beers — which include TPS Report, Oh Face Saison and Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta — and likes them.  "I don't think we will see any resistance from Mike Judge, to be honest," he concludes.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.