Spearheaded by Greg Koch, Stone Brewing co-founder, executive chairman, and infamous figure in the craft brewing world, the Escondido, California-based brewery filed a lawsuit against MillerCoors on Monday. Stone alleges that the “Big Beer” brand has been repositioning its Keystone brand as “Stone,” as evidenced in recent packaging, advertising, and marketing materials.
Mirroring the behavior of Big Beer in the face of similar trademarking issues, Koch felt he had no choice but to sue the global brewer to defend the Stone Brewing brand, and the independent brewing community.
In a video released on Monday, Koch made reference to the “heritage that we’ve spent so many years to build…being threatened,” first by acquisitions of formerly independent brewers who sold out, and now with this alleged attempt to co-opt the Stone brand.
“We believe that MillerCoors is deliberately and intentionally trying to create confusion in the marketplace with their Keystone brand, and that is why we’re suing,” Koch says in the video.
While speaking, Koch holds a Keystone can which plainly says “Stone Light” on its packaging. “Two words that you would never see together in association with our company,” he says.
“Keystone’s rebranding is no accident,” Dominic Engels, Stone Brewing CEO, said in a press release. “MillerCoors tried to register our name years ago and was rejected. Now its marketing team is making 30-pack boxes stacked high with nothing but the word ‘STONE’ visible. Same for Keystone’s social media, which almost uniformly has dropped the ‘Key.’ We will not stand for this kind of overtly and aggressively deceptive advertising. Frankly, MillerCoors should be ashamed.”
Watch the video here: