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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Weyerbacher Zotten terminated on trademark issues

Just in:
Weyerbacher Brewing Company, Inc., a small artisanal brewery from Easton, Pennsylvania, has ceased production of its beer “Zotten” due to prior rights and US trademark of “Brugse Zot”, a beer produced and commercialized by De Halve Maan, a brewery located in Bruges, Belgium.

We take this opportunity also to announce a recall of any and all Weyerbacher “Zotten” beer to the brewery within the next 30 days, for full refund from Weyerbacher.

Weyerbacher was unaware of the US trademark of De Halve Maan and had no intention to infringe on the rights of De Halve Maan. We are particularly respectful of the part of small Belgian breweries in the world beer scene and hereby officially apologize to the family owners of De Halve Maan.

Daniel A. Weirback, Presdient

Weyerbacher Brewing Company, Inc.
Tough blow to Weyerbacher, but the right call, and well-said. Hope it comes back under a new name; it's one of their best beers and one I've been hoping to see more of. It will be back in May: see the comments.

(Thanks to reader Bill King for the picture!)


Frank Hahne said...

Ugh, Reminds me of my battles with that bully August Busch over the use of the word "budweiser" that I was using on my Dubois beer for decades.

Jay Zeis said...

If I did have Zotten, I don't think I would return it, as it is one of my favorite beers. Hopefully they can get it back out soon with a different name.

Dan Weirback said...

We will BaltimoreMan, we will. In May.

Dan W.

Tom said...

It's not all that innocent as it may seem, Frank. Weyerbacher produced the beer after a visit to the Belgian brewery.

Unaware of the fact that the Halve Maan had taken international protective measures to avoid copying of their beer and the named associated with it, they simply decided to produce one of their own...

By the way, the brewery isn't just a tiny frustrated company that solely started a lawsuit to get some money out of it, but it's a respect brewery that rather tried to protect it's brand.

Awards they've won(like their double gold in the world beer cup) can be found on

Lew Bryson said...

First, you should realize that "Frank Hahne" is another of the brewer's ghosts that haunt my blog.

Second, if you read it again, it's not really clear which brewery "Frank" is siding with, hmm?

Finally, Weyerbacher would hardly be the first brewery to brew a similarly-named 'tribute' beer: Lucifer comes to mind, as does Goose Island's Matilda. Just because there's a connection doesn't mean it's not innocent. Not saying it is or isn't, but intent is a damned tricky thing.

Carey said...

It is my feeling that this will only become more prevalent as the industry (and market share) grows. Whether or not it is innocent or not will cease to be germane (pun intended), and imitation that had graduated to emulation over the previous decade will graduate to infringement (in the legal sense) over the next. Great beer, though.

Anonymous said...

A quote from Dan Weirback regarding the beer.

"Its actually not very close at all. If you are able to taste them side by side at some point, you'd see they are 2 different styles entirely. Again, we weren't looking to duplicate the beer and we didn't. My characterization might be a blonde ale vs an IPA. It may have been inferred that they are similar styles, so I can see why you would think that. But the truth is, our beer first came out under the name Alpha as the first in our brewers select series of one-offs. So we made this beer originally as Alpha a full year before we decided to make it again and rename---again showing no connection between our creating this beer and the trademark infringement issue. "

Lew Bryson said...

Sounds good, but...even on the Internet a "quote" cited by "Anonymous" seems a little weak. I'm not even sure "Dan Weirback" was Dan Weirback. No offense meant. It's the 'Net.

Dick said...

Sorry Lew It is from Dick L from Weyerbacher and yes that was a quote from Dan that was on Beer Advocate.

Lew Bryson said...

Thanks, Dick. No disrespect meant, but when I've got dead brewers showing up all the time, I've got to be a little careful!

Good to see you, and no apology needed. Please give my best to Barb and Chris.