No More Magic Hat

Stop corporate bullying.  Fill in your name to the right to quickly sign our petition!Hi.  We’re West Sixth Brewing, a socially-conscious craft brewery that opened last year in Lexington, Kentucky.  You can read more about us here and here.We’ve had a great first year!  Since opening last April, we’ve expanded our brewery a couple of times, added a second canned beer to our lineup, and have given over $10,000 to local charities in our area.

Unfortunately, our success has also made us a few enemies.  And this week, one of those enemies got so mad, they decided to try and force us out of business by filing a silly and frivolous lawsuit against us.

Before we go any further, we do want to let you know that none of this will affect in any way our ability to continue brewing the great beers that you all have come to love.  So, don’t worry about that at all!

Magic Hat is a brewery originally based out of Vermont.  While they have some craft roots, they’ve been bought and sold a couple times since 2010, and are now owned by a company called Cerveceria Costa Rica. They’re claiming that we intentionally copied their logo, and that has caused them “irreparable harm”, enough that they’re asking for not only damages but also all our profits up until this point (little do they know that well, as a startup company, there wasn’t any, oops!).

Now, we all know that their claims are just a little bit silly:

  • Our logos were professionally designed by a designer in Lexington called Cricket Press who has a long history of fantastic and creative logo designs.
  • Their federal trademark is simply for the text “# 9”, and our logo contains neither a “#” nor a “9”. (our favorite part of their argument is where they call a 6 an “inverted 9”.  Yeah, and did you know that a “p” is just an inverted “d”? They’re totally the same letter!)
  • Finally, our logo includes the words “West Sixth Brewing”.  We think that makes it pretty clear.

We’ve talked to several lawyers, and they all agree there’s no legal merit to their lawsuit.  And they’ve got fancy legal counsel out of New York, so they must be hearing the same thing.

In fact, we tried to reach out to them individually to see if there was any way to resolve the amicably, but to no surprise, no one ever called us back.

So, they clearly have another motive – which must be to make us spend so much money defending our actions that we have no other recourse than to cave to their demands.

Why would they do that?  After all, they don’t sell all that much beer here in Kentucky.  We don’t really know – although we have our suspicions.  There’s clearly been someone in Lexington spreading the rumor that we were “about to get sued” – I even heard it from a checkout clerk at the grocery store!  So, we’re guessing that someone in the area is prompting the lawsuit in order to try and hurt us locally.

We think it’s bad business to roll over. After all, we’ve spent a year defining our brand, and we’ve heard from tons of folks how much they love our logo.

We’re going to fight.  And, we could use your help.

How can you help?

  1. First, drink some West Sixth Beer.  Come by the taproom for a pint!  Ask for it on draft at your favorite restaurant or bar!  Buy a 6-pack! You’ll enjoy the beer, and we’ll fight even harder on your behalf.
  2. Second, will you sign our petition on the right to tell Magic Hat “No More” and drop their lawsuit?  We plan to boycott their beer until they do, but will gladly toast them with a #9 when they drop it.  When you sign the petition below, it will send an email with your comments to Kimberly Markert, the person who signed the lawsuit!
  3. If you’re a retailer, will you add your name to the petition as well, letting them know that you’re a retailer and don’t support their actions?
  4. And finally, will you tell all of your craft beer friends and coworkers about this ridiculous action by Magic Hat?

We know that as a company owned by an international conglomerate, the only value Magic Hat will listen to is their pocketbook, so that’s the only way we know to get them to stop.

When we collect 20,000 signatures, we’ll print them all out and bring them up to their US headquarters (which as best we can tell are now in New York – they’re not even in Vermont anymore) to deliver them in person.  They won’t be able to ignore us then!

And a special note to any Magic Hat employees or management who may be reading this: if you want to reach out and have a reasonable discussion on this matter, we’re happy to at any time.

Also, if you’re an attorney or anyone else who thinks you could be of help, please do get in touch!

Thanks, we really appreciate it!

no more magic hat