Thursday, March 03, 2011

Take a close look at the map below:

Is "Abita Pub Crawl" anywhere on there?

If it is, I'm not seeing it. Perhaps I'm not drunk enough. Or perhaps it's 'cause I'm not David Blossman:
An attorney representing the Abita Brewing Company has sent a cease-and-desist letter to a charity organizer, ordering him not to use the term "pub crawl" to refer to his events. Todd Owers III, an attorney with the New Orleans firm of Carver Darden, says Abita owns the Louisiana state trademark for "pub crawl" and that for Manu Kamat to use the term in referring to his events in downtown Baton Rouge is a clear infringement on the brewery's rights. Kamat says he started organizing monthly bar tours across downtown Baton Rouge in December to benefit the New Orleans Council for Community and Justice. Participants pay a few dollars, which entitles them to drink specials at participating bars for the night. Kamat says he finds Abita's actions "a little bully-ish."
Confession: I got two Abita Party Packs for our Mardi Gras KOPAS party this coming Tuesday before I heard of this. Now I know I shoulda bought some NOLA Brewing mini-kegs instead.  Their Flambeau Red is especially good this year.  Is it the air or the insanely sloppy kiss of the hops that makes people here want to trademark phrases, I wonder?

Of course, I could always go the yaller blogger Miller Lite route, but I'm too much of a beer snob.  At least I'm not as bad as Dan, who still pines for his beloved Fred from Oregon.

Update, 11:27 AM: Seems Abita has changed its mind.
In the 1990s big corporate breweries began trying to mimic craft beers and take over the types of events smaller breweries like us had created. To protect the Pub Crawl for our fans we trademarked the name of the event in Louisiana only. Our intent was to prevent any confusion and to stop the big breweries from copying our success. Over the years, we’ve sent out letters asking others not to use the name Pub Crawl unless it is an Abita sponsored event.

We’ve heard from you today on this trademark issue and we agree. Your respect is far more important to us than two little words.

This morning we reached out to the New Orleans Council for Community and Justice and let them know we’ve changed our mind and our position on the trademark issue. We have offered and they have accepted our support of their next event, scheduled for March 25. Abita is proud of our history of charitable giving to our community through our fundraising brews and our commitment to non-profit organizations.
Now I can partake of my Party Packs without any twinges of remorse until the hangover comes.


vmm said...

You're not going to believe this but Hair of the Dog brewer is a relation, yes, we have been drinking Fred, and Ruth and Rose and Doggy Claws. . etc. . for YEARS.

Editilla~New Orleans Ladder said...

Than link at the end gives me Content Currently Unavailable for me and on the Twitter links as well.
"Update, 11:27 AM: Seems Abita has changed its mind."

Does it work for you? If so what does it say?

Leigh C. said...

Just posted the money quotes from the Facebook notice. Thanks for the heads-up.

AmusedDrinker said...

Their "update" does not change the fact that they have a trademark on the term. What about the larger issue of future use of the term "pub crawl" in Louisiana. Abita has in no way reversed their legal opinion about protecting their trademark just spun the story (with a sponsorship *COUGH* bribe) to limit the bad press. Their actions in the future will be the true determination of their intentions to maintain the trademark.

Please, Abita, publicly admit that your trademark is unnecessary and that however well intentioned is an abuse of the IP system. You will only receive bad press if you continue the current stance on the issue.