Here in Montana, when you see orange paint on a fence post it means no trespassing. Turns out, the brewing industry has similar private property boundaries. They’re called TRADEMARKS. Truth be told, we’ve made our fair share of unintentional trespasses. We’re not proud of them, but here are some of our trademark mistakes:
We settled out of court with a large international brewer that didn’t like our name Moose Drool.
We settled on the name Big Sky IPA after learning our top 15 choices for “Pronghorn” names were all painted orange (trademarked).
We temporarily did a ‘Montana Only” line of beers called ‘406’. It turned out there was another brewery who had already staked a claim on that name, so we went a different route.
We redesigned our Trout Slayer Tap handle due to its resemblance to a tap handle another brewer was already using.
We are currently changing our “Cowboy Coffee” Porter name and packaging due to some orange paint we didn’t see (trademarks).
In each instance, we were asked to leave their private property (cease & desist), and we did so upon realizing our failure to see their orange fence post. Learning these lessons, we began to install orange fence posts of our own. As a company we currently have numerous trademarks filed with The United States Patent and Trademark Office. It’s simply part of doing business today. You need to keep a can of orange paint handy.
Recently ABI, the world’s largest brewer, jumped over one of our fences. The fence was clearly marked and we politely asked them to go elsewhere, but they chose not to. Now, we’re preparing for a good ole’ Montana high noon showdown to protect our property. Our property line falls along the use of “Hold my beer and watch this”, but only when it refers to beer/alcohol. We drove this fence post in 2004 and have been using it ever since. Anyone that is not related to the alcohol industry is free to use this saying at their pleasure.
In Montana, we respect the laws of the land and expect others to do the same.