It's a David versus Goliath fight brewing in the beer world. Stone Brewing Co., the San Diego based craft beer brewer, is suing industry giant MillerCoors. The recently filed lawsuit claims that MillerCoors' rebrand of its "Keystone" beers as simply "Stone" violates Stone Brewing Co.'s trademarks.
The "Key" Facts
According to the (unusually entertaining) complaint filed in Federal Court in San Diego, Stone is "beloved by millions of beer drinkers across America" and "has always stood for a philosophy and approach that defies the watered-down orthodoxy of 'Big Beer' companies and their fizzy yellow offerings."
Our co-founders Greg & Steve opened Stone Brewing in 1996, determined to make amazing beer and never compromise their integrity. We will not have that legacy taken from us by anyone. That's why we're suing one of the biggest beer companies in the world. https://t.co/p4P28eoEZG-- Stone Brewing (@StoneBrewing) February 12, 2018
If those sound like fighting words, it's because they are. Stone Brewing Co. is the largest craft brewery in California and seventh largest in the nation, which makes it a threat to industry titans such as MillerCoors. MillerCoors' recent rebranding of its Keystone line of beer as simply "Stone" is, according to the lawsuit, seeking to tread on Stone's name.
Party Foul or Publicity Stunt?
MillerCoors' public responses so far refer to the lawsuit as a publicity stunt, and from reading the complaint, there might be something to that.
Still, the company is a giant in the beer industry and KeyStone has been around in its own right for some time too. The merits of the case will have to await a judicial taste test, and may very well settle.
Here's the full lawsuit: