David & Goliath

Owning a microbrewery is a labor of love.  Often times, the genesis is a mad homebrewer’s hobby growing so big that their basement, kitchen, garage and children’s closets become so clogged with gear that they HAVE to go pro.

This is what happened to Matt and Renee Nadeau who are about to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Rock Art Brewery.  But now they’re being attacked.

rock_art_logo(Personally, as a homebrewer living in a tiny one- bedroom apartment in Queens, it has certainly been a challenge and I can tell you that one corner of our bedroom is so overloaded with hoses, brushes, buckets and tools that were my wife not so in love with the beer, they’d end up on the curb for NYC’s finest to haul off.  But enough about me…)

This story is about a battle that’s brewing in the cozy state of Vermont.  And its gonna be a long and costly one.  A classic tale of corporate greed and the power of the dollar squashing the little guy.  The villian in this story?  Monster Energy Drinks.  But wait, you ask, what the hell does Monster want with a small microbrewery in Vermont?

monster_energy-LOGOWell, in a stroke of pure asinine genius, the corporate wizards at Monster have decided that the beer being brewed in Vermont under the name “Vermonster” may cause confusion in buyers and be a threat to their billion-dollar enterprise.  What the f*c%?!!

Yeah, I certainly know that I’m confused when I go to buy my oversized can of energy goo/dog shite:  “Crap! wait!  Is it the black aluminum can that proudly claims “Unleash the Beast!” or is it the 22 oz glass bottle that has a clearly depicted Rock Art Brewery logo in the center of the bottle? Oh, my head hurts, I’m so confused!  I just want my jolt of sugar crap in my veins and now I got to LOOK at the label?!”

Vermonster

Confused?

What a frickin joke.  And the irony?  Everyone knows it.  The sad part is that Matt and Renee are small businessfolk who don’t have the financial means to fight this giant.  Everyone has advised them to just back down and change the name to avoid the years of legal wrangling that will ensue, and the dollars it will cost.  But Matt refuses to cowtow.

(Frankly, my feeling is that Monster and the whole slew of caffeine-driven energy drinks will prove to be ridiculously toxic, but only after years of our children mindlessly consuming this garbage.  But this is America, and they’re free to peddle their crap).

What pisses me off is their attack on Rock Art Brewery.  For that, its time for us to stand up!  Stand up for the little guys and stand up for the microbrewery that doesn’t have the means to defend itself.

Here’s Matt’s story in his own words:

Take action, people.  Start by boycotting Monster then get involved by clicking on the links below:

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10 Responses to “David & Goliath: Rock Art Brewery vs Monster”

  1. ErichD says:

    That truly sucks. Is there anything the Vermont business community can do about this? Think about it, if this beer called “Vermonster” went DogFish, you’d have a burgeoning tourist attraction, not to mention quite a bit more attention for the state.

    They could look on the right side: at least they haven’t sued y MOnster Cable (yet).
    http://www.madmartian.com/legal/response.htm

    http://gizmodo.com/393365/ (includes link to a list of things “Monster will soon sue.”)

    Maybe they can trademark “Up Yours, Noel Lee” and sell it as a limited edition 750ml. (please see if you can ship to us poor folk down here in TX)

    And they could maybe talk to Garrett Oliver, whose BRooklyn Brewery was making a “Monster” brew prior to the creation of Monster Energy Drink or Monster cables. Perhaps he can sue them for “defamation of my good beer name.”

  2. Joe F. says:

    This is the most ridiculous thing I have heard in a long time! My amazement at the greed of corporate America is only surpassed by my amazement that people actually drink Monster energy drinks…1 billion dollars worth at that! The dentists of the world must love it, reminds me of this: http://www.hulu.com/watch/3516/saturday-night-live-hedley-and-wyche

  3. dave says:

    Unfortunately Brooklyn Brewery abandoned its trademark application (for Federal status at least… I believe) back in 2006, as pointed out on A Good Beer Blog: http://beerblog.genx40.com/archive/2009/october/moreonthatus . It also seems Monster Energy is involved in a bunch of other trademark matters. Still as pointed out by you (David) and me (http://www.sevenpack.net/?p=3392), if you confuse the two products, you have other issues.

  4. Katherine says:

    Rock Art’s next brew should be “Schmenergy Drink IPA.” See what happens there.
    Thanks Dave for posting this story. It’s an interesting topic. I don’t claim to know the legal system well enough to make any sound points but I totally agree with you that there is no confusing the two products.
    I did look at some of Monster’s counter points on Facebook which were interesting to read.
    Look forward to the stunning conclusion. One things for sure, Rock Art Brewery is a name people know now…silver lining.

  5. First off, lets pay homage to the classic SNL clip; Chris Farley at his finest (thanks for posting, joe)…

    The thing that strikes me is that this could be a great example of social media’s growing power to overturn the firehose of money that these corporations can blast the little guys out of the water with.

    I recently heard about the PR disaster caused by a musician who’s guitar was mishandled by the airlines and they wouldn’t remedy the problem. His solution? Make a song about it and post it on YouTube: http://www.boston.com/travel/blog/2009/07/song_over_guita.html

    Just think…through rallying support thru blogs, facebook, twitter, YouTube and emails, we can create an equally strong tide.

    My hope is that come tomorrow morning, some high-paid PR rep will sheepishly suggest that they back off as its become a public relations disaster for Monster to pursue it. And maybe in an even more ideal world, they’ll flush their “energy” drinks down the toilet and ask Matt and Renee if they can market their beer for them (or at least clean their brew tanks).

  6. Katie says:

    Hey, just wanted to throw in my two cents…I wrote about this as well on my blog, and I’ve included a link at the bottom of the post which takes you to a petition…Every “signature” helps, guys.

  7. Right on, Katie. Thanks for posting.

  8. […] GRAPES AND GRAINS — “David & Golliath: Rock Art Brewery vs. Monster” […]

  9. dave says:

    Rockart won… they get to keep the name Vermonster. http://www.sevenpack.net/?p=3439

  10. Yep yep! Indeed its true. Rock Art Brewery wins its battle against Monster Energy Drinks; Vermonster lives! Wow…power to the people indeed….http://tiny.cc/tCvu4
    Just stay out of the “energy drink” business they say to Rock Art…hmm…yeah, guess thats doable. Ha.

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