Craft-beer controversy struck again last week as Lagunitas and Sierra Nevada butted heads about label fonts, and fellow California brewery Stone wasn’t content to let the moment past without getting a quick jab in.
If you’re not a craft-beer obsessive, you may not have heard about the Lagunitas/Sierra Nevada lawsuit. Here’s the short version of what went down:
Lagunitas Brewing Co. attracted a firestorm of criticism after filing a lawsuit against Sierra Nevada for what the company felt was clear infringement upon the lettering in the phrase “IPA.” Check out the two labels in question for yourself:
As Inside Scoop SF reported, Lagunitas founder Tony Magee saw Sierra Nevada’s label for its new Hop Hunter IPA, which was scheduled to come out on January 15th. He felt that the label too closely resembled the famed Lagunitas IPA label, which the brewery has been using for the past 20 years. From the complaint:
After receiving blowback from fans, Lagunitas dropped the lawsuit last week, announcing the decision via Twitter and thanking craft-beer supporters in the process:
Stone Brewing Co. poked fun at the controversy on Facebook, posting a fake Stone label that used the Lagunitas IPA font. Some fans took the joke in good fun, butothers took to Facebook to criticize the company and point out similar lawsuits that Stone has lobbied in the past.
With the craft-beer industry growing more and more crowded by the day—to the point where it’s running out of unique names for its beers—we wouldn’t be surprised if more litigation is on the horizon. As fans, we can only hope that brewers keep their senses of humor, and also continue to have the fortitude to be willing to admit on Twitter when they’re wrong.