Response to Magic Hat

Dear Cerveceria Costa Rica (owners of the Magic Hat Brand),We saw that you finally decided to hire a PR person to reply to our petition from yesterday. I suppose after more than 10,000 people signed it, you couldn’t ignore it any more.

Since you decided to publish our letters (which I hope everyone takes the time to read, they’re hilarious), we also want to make sure everyone can see the full text of the bogus lawsuit. As you can see there are some crazy claims in it, and some that even look like it might have been copied and pasted from other lawsuits – what’s that craziness about us moving into South Carolina?

We thought that since you won’t return any of our personal phone calls or emails, the best way to communicate with you must be over Facebook. So, here goes:

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To address your points directly:

  • You claim that you worked for months in good faith to negotiate with us. Actually, in our letters, which you’ve published, anyone can see that we’ve waited on a reply from you from our last letter for nearly 3 months. In that letter, we made several concessions in the last offer, including to keep the words “West Sixth Brewing” near our logo in any further designs. But instead of responding with a call, or a letter, you responded with a lawsuit. That’s not negotiating, that’s bullying.
  • You said that “talks between the two breweries started in September of 2012 after marketplace concerns surfaced by a Kentucky wholesaler who refused to carry West Sixth Brewing because he felt it too closely resembled Magic Hat.” Unfortunately, that isn’t true at all. We have two distributors who distribute both us and Magic Hat without any sort of confusion. We’re sorry that this is what you were told. What actually happened between us and your distributor is this: After we had advanced negotiations to sign with your distributor they were told by another brand they carry that they should not distribute our beer.

All that said, as we indicated in previous notes, we’d rather solve this problem than keep it going — after all we’ve got good beer to make. So, here’s what we propose: In your public response, you indicated you would be happy with a settlement that includes the 4 clauses you outlined. We pretty much agreed in our last letter to do items 2-4, which were:

2) Including our name around our logo in future items
3) Phasing out any merchandise that doesn’t include the words “West Sixth Brewing” in close proximity to our logo
4) Amend our current federal trademark to include something different from the compass

What we had a concern with was number 1, replacing our compass with a different symbol in exchange for agreeing that we would never use the numeral “6”.  We just don’t think your trademark rights in the numeral “9” allow you to keep out any competitor who uses the numeral “6”.  Our address is 501 West Sixth Street – hence our name.  We’re not trying to use any of your designs.  Heck, we already distribute a lot more beer than you do in Kentucky.

So, let us get this straight. When you say you’re presenting “the truth”, the “truth” is that you are suing us in federal court because of the compass in our logo?

If that’s what it takes to resolve this, why didn’t you say that in response to our last letter, rather than waiting 3 months and then filing a lawsuit?

While we have the law on our side, we’re reasonable people, and we don’t want to spend all our money on court – we’re brewers not fighters.

We’re willing to phase out the current design of our compass and replace it with something that is more clearly a compass and not a star. Here are a couple quick options our designed worked up for you to choose from.

Will you publically agree to drop the lawsuit and trademark protest if we select one of these as our new trademark? We’ll let you pick the one you like best. You can email us directly here, or you can just post another update to your Facebook page, either one works.

So, what do you say, let’s bury the hatchet and down a beer together? We’d greatly appreciate a response as quick as yesterday’s this time – no 3 month wait this time, please.

no more magic hat