The legal drama between independently-owned Stone Brewing and MillerCoors continues to unfold as MillerCoors files a counterclaim against Stone.
The response comes two months after the California-based Stone Brewing filed suit against MillerCoors over its recent rebrand of Keystone Light beer. Stone Brewing’s initial lawsuit says that recent packaging of Keystone Light beers too closely resemble Stone’s packaging, and the move was meant to intentionally confuse beer drinkers.
MillerCoors’ legal response this week is an 80-plus page counterclaim; the Full Pint has uploaded the full document to its website. Among the many counter claims MillerCoors includes:
- MillerCoors began using and obtained a federal trademark for KEYSTONE nearly a decade before Stone Brewing registered STONE.
- Keystone and its customers have long referred to Keystone as ‘STONE and cans of Keystone as ‘STONES.
Further into the filing, the beer maker digs in, suggesting Stone’s motivation behind the lawsuit isn’t about trademarks at all. The MillerCoors legal team writes: “This case is not about ‘verbatim copy[ing],’ but Stone Brewing’s struggle with its new identity as a global mega-craft beer manufacturer.”
No matter how “big” an independent brewer gets, their size is still monumentally smaller compared to the behemoths of Big Beer.
While it’s true that Stone Brewing is currently the eighth largest U.S. craft brewer based on 2017 sales volume, the fact of the matter is that no U.S. craft brewer could be labeled “mega.” No matter how “big” an independent brewer gets, their size is still monumentally smaller compared to the behemoths of Big Beer.
Stone Brewing released its own one-page response to the MillerCoors counterclaim. Executive Chairman and co-founder Greg Koch, never one to back down from a fight, calls the document “a work of fiction” that he read “while sipping on a Stone White Geist Berliner Weisse.” Koch goes on to say, “MillerCoors’ gigantic law firm did what they got paid to do: present a lot of misleading allegations and package them as facts. In coming days, we look forward to publishing each misstatement on Twitter. Hint: the deception starts right upfront in paragraph 1. Best choose your popcorn eating gifs now.”
True to his word, Koch has been dissecting MillerCoors’ claims on his personal Twitter feed @StoneGreg.
Stay tuned …
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