Last year, we here at Abnormal Use had the pleasure of interviewing Adam Avery, Brewmaster of the Avery Brewing Company and producer of a Belgian-style ale known as Collaboration Not Litigation. As you may recall, Collaboration Not Litigation is the by-product of a “friendly mediation” between Avery and fellow brewer, Vinnie Cilurzo of the Russian River Brewing Company. When the two discovered they each produced a beer called Salvation, they got together, had a few drinks, and mixed their respective beers together. The end result – Collaboration Not Litigation. That is a great story with a great ending.
We remind you of this tale as an introduction to the greatest ever lack of collaboration. Faced with a similar situation, the Oregon-based Steelhead Brewing Company sent a cease and desist letter to Freetail Brewing Company, demanding that they stop using the name “Hopasaurus Rex.” Apparently, Steelhead never tried to settle this dispute over an alcoholic beverage. Freetail responded to this lack of courtesy as follows:
There is nothing like the realization that your legal fees purchased a life-like rendition of a bipedal carnivore from the Cretaceous Period. We imagine Steelhead didn’t find this letter quite as humorous as we did, but we hear the Flying Spaghetti Monster had a few laughs with his carbon copy. At least Steelhead can take solace in knowing they will be the recipient of a high-five at the next Great American Beer Festival.
Freetail’s response should be a reminder to us all that sometimes the simplest answer is the best one. We understand Steelhead’s concerns. We too have sent our fair share of demand letters under the guise of our firm’s letterhead. As Avery and Freetail have demonstrated, however, some problems can be solved with a little open dialogue (and perhaps a few beers). Brewmasters have grasped this concept. Why can’t we?