AB InBev Thought They Could Make a Beer Called Patagonia And Now Patagonia Is Suing Them
by Rudy Sanchez on 04/18/2019 | 2 Minute Read
Patagonia, outdoor sports clothing designer, is suing beer conglomerate AB InBev over trademark infringement, claiming the beer maker “deliberately has attempted to take advantage of the hard-earned reputation Patagonia has built over the last 40 years as a company dedicated to environmental conservation,” in its lawsuit filing.
The lawsuit centers on one of AB InBev’s beer they’ve called, you guessed it, Patagonia, as well as the marketing and promotion of the beer, which Patagonia argues is confusing the marketplace. Among the examples include Anheuser-Busch setting up booths made of reclaimed wood in Colorado ski resorts, staffed with representatives wearing similarly styled black down jackets with the beer’s logo, while passing out branded products which Patagonia also makes. According to Patagonia, in addition to the misleading name, brand, and in-person promotion, AB InBev’s environmentally conscious marketing strategy also adds to the marketplace confusion.
But the fun doesn't stop there. The outdoor company has sold a beer through its Patagonia Provisions division since 2016 called Long Root Ale. The beer uses Kernza grain instead of barley, and the company alleges in their suit that an AB InBev representative contacted Patagonia Provisions under the guise of requesting an “interview” about how Kernza is used in their ales.
Companies that have built a positive reputation with the public often fiercely defend their intellectual property and Patagonia is no exception. Patagonia started in 1973, and they consider themselves an “activist company,” committing 1% of sales to environmental causes. In 2017, they sued President Trump and the US Government over the drastic reduction of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments.
Recently, Patagonia announced changes to their corporate purchasing program, and they no longer provide branded items to companies not aligned with their values, leading some to wonder if it’s the end of Patagonia vests being part of the financial/techbro uniform.