"All the dishes rattle in the cupboard when the elephants arrive…"

by Katie Pizzuto on October 15, 2009

in Trademark Issues

I’ve got a list of shit I desperately want to tell you about, notes stuck everywhere about posts that need to be written, but the dust will have to gather on those for a couple more days while I rant about a “little guy” getting shafted by big industry.

beerImagine for a minute that you’re the owner of a big-ass successful company that makes sugary, high-caffeine energy drinks. I won’t say which company, but let’s just say it rhymes with Monster. You trademark your name like any smart mogul would, become a sponsor for anything that reeks of testosterone, and run out to conquer the world like a mad Viking strung out on guarana. You become a NASDAQ-listed company and pen distribution deals with the likes of Anheuser-Busch, PepsiCo Canada and Schweppes, which you know will swaddle you in bling-bling for decades to come.

Then along comes a 7-employee microbrewery in Vermont called Rock Art that decides to name their 10th anniversary beer “Vermonster” and just like that, BAM, your whole vision of total-beverage-industry domination is fucked up. So you get your 3-piece-suit lawyers to draw up a Cease and Desist, telling the little guy to stop selling Vermonster beer, discontinue his advertising of it, nix all marketing materials and promotions associated with the product, yadda yadda yadda, ad nauseum. Why? Because it will “undoubtedly create a likelihood of confusion” in the marketplace. And despite the fact that your approximate worth is one billion dollars, you demand that the little guy cover your attorneys’ fees.

If the little guy wins (which he most certainly will according to several trademark lawyers), you can just appeal. When he wins the second time, appeal again. Keep appealing, tie up the court system, burn money like it’s kindling and pummel him into submission for having the gall to call a completely unrelated product a completely different name. So what that Ben & Jerry’s makes a Vermonster sundae? So what that the beer is barely available outside of Vermont? So what that they have no plans to make energy drinks and step foot on your playground? Beat them down like the un-housebroken pups that they are and show them who the man is, for you are undoubtedly the man. Corporate America 1 – Independent Little Guy 0.

OK, wake up from the revelry, folks. You have no bling and are most definitely not a mogul, but you have a voice. People everywhere are boycotting Monster because of this bullshit lawsuit, but I beg you to do something more—make yourself heard. Reach out to Hansen Beverages (makers of Monster), Tweet ’em up @MonsterEnergy and for the love of all that’s holy, RANT!

UPDATE: Follow this link to a petition. Every little bit helps: http://tinyurl.com/yzt7ryl

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Linsey October 15, 2009

Not just alcohol this happens in – god forbid you should put a Mc in any company especially in Scotland, or like my brother use the words ‘audio research’ in your new product and the big boys just smash you down.

Reality is that no one is confused about these products … but money talks and money controls … and its a shame because a lot of good products are being wiped out for the sake of a name.


2 castello October 15, 2009

A couple years ago I emailed Hansen and asked about why they didn’t use real sugar in their soda. They actually replied and said there isn’t enough sugar in the world to use it in their soda. Now at least some of their “natural” sodas do have real-ish sugar. JERKS! BIG ASS BOYCOTTTTTT!


3 Katie Pizzuto October 16, 2009

Do Rock Art a favor and just drop these assholes at Monster an email…anything. Just state your disgust. I’m attacking from all possible angles as well. Thanks guys!


4 Scott-TheBrewClub October 16, 2009

It is quite stupid – trademark laws @ their worst. What’s next, going after a company or a product with a similar syllable? Why not go after them for having a single letter in the name that’s the same? Unreal.

BTW, I saw someone try to eat the Vermonster up in VT once. It wasn’t pretty!


5 PJ October 16, 2009

“I won’t say which company, but let’s just say it rhymes with Monster.”

Thank you.

This is such crap. I hope Hansen hears us.


6 Maggie Sudduth October 16, 2009



7 Chris October 16, 2009

Don’t forget the most important piece of this whole debacle. Hansen Beverage is planning to enter Monster in the alcohol market (according to ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=8810200). Clearly they want to chase Red Bull’s success in bars around the world. That’s why they’re going after Rock Art and not Ben and Jerry.


8 Katie Pizzuto October 16, 2009

You know, Chris, I heard something said about that…now it’s confirmed. Makes even more sense now that they would wanna plow the way and clear a path so when they get into the alcohol industry they have no worries.


9 Anthony October 21, 2009

Wow, this is a great post! To Castello, yeah that is bullshit that Hansen said there isnt enough sugar in the world to use for thier beverages. LMAO The problem with that opne is sugar costs more for them to purchase than the artificial whatever there using. So I agree its a bunch of bullshit. Also if thats the way the responded to you, I wouldnt even purchase that anymore just from there response. Thanks


10 Anthony October 21, 2009

Katie, BTW that pig roast pic is making my mouth water and drool


11 The Wine Commonsewer October 21, 2009

A travesty. Not a real stretch for TWC to boycott Monster though. I hate that kind of crap.

Gallo, as you know Ms K, used similar tactics, and for no apparent reason, against all kinds of entities, large and small. Even against family members.


12 Chris October 21, 2009

Love it, my equally angry – if less poised – rant is here:

I dig your site and your style, traveled over from your write-up on the brew club. Consider yourself a welcome addition to my blogroll, you’ve got a new reader.


13 The Wine Commonsewer October 21, 2009

You know, re-read, told my buddy Jesse Walker to come take a look see. This is just a great post.


14 Katie Pizzuto October 22, 2009

@Mike…not a stretch for you or me…I never touch any of these “energy” drinks. And you’re totally on the money. After reading Gallo Be Thy Name (review forthcoming) and then seeing what was happening at Rock Art, it all hit home. And thanks for the kind words 🙂

@Chris…glad to have you! Been trying to keep up with all the great bloggers that are posting about this issue so I’ll definitely stop by and read your piece!


15 Katie Pizzuto October 22, 2009

ATTENTION ALL: VICTORY IS OURS!!!! Please follow this over to Rock Art’s site. Thanks for any support you gave.



16 The Wine Commonsewer October 22, 2009

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