What?  In the “we-certainly-didn’t-see-this-coming” department, no sooner had celebrated California craft brewery Stone Brewing won a major trademark infringement verdict against MillerCoors over the latter’s use of the label “STONE” on its packaging of Keystone Light beer (read about it here), than Stone was itself hit with an infringement lawsuit by the much smaller Sycamore Brewing of North Carolina.

Stone’s victory over MillerCoors came on Friday, March 18.

On April 6, Sycamore filed its trademark and unfair competition lawsuit against Stone.  Sycamore’s lawsuit alleges that Sycamore owns the federal trademark “KEEP IT JUICY” and has been using that mark on its “Juiciness IPA” beer since 2020.   The lawsuit alleges that Stone began using “KEEP IT JUICY” on its “Hazy IPA” beer packaging after Sycamore obtained the trademark and that Stone is intentionally infringing Sycamore’s mark so as to unfairly compete with Sycamore in Sycamore’s sales territory. 

The lawsuit further alleges that the two companies and their products came into direct competition when Stone began distributing in Sycamore’s sales territory of the southeastern US.  The lawsuit further alleges that Stone has a history of using its size and wealth (it is the 9th largest craft brewery in the US and now distributes in all 50 states) to force smaller breweries into changing their names so as to prevent any confusion with Stone’s brands, and accuses Stone of being a “trademark bully.”  Sycamore seeks damages from Stone for the infringement, and an injunction to prevent Stone from using “KEEP IT JUICY.”

In Stone’s lawsuit against MillerCoors, Stone was seen as the “David” against MillerCoors’ “Goliath.”  Now Sycamore is casting Stone as the Goliath.

Looking to sink your teeth into more #FBLB news and receive event invites? Sign up for our Food & Beverage Law Blog newsletter.