We’d like to set the record straight on a few points regarding our dispute with New Belgium Brewing Co. (NBB). Our responses will clarify untruths currently being pushed by NBB on both their website and on social media platforms. It is our hope that clarifying these issues will move us closer to an amicable solution.
1. EXHAUSTIVE SEARCH TIMELINE
New Belgium is falsely claiming: NBB conducted exhaustive trademark search and found Slow Ride to be unused. NBB proceeds ethically for trademark filing May 23, 2014.
Truth: New Belgium’s search was not exhaustive
- April 29, 2014– TABC approves the label for Slow Ride Pale Ale
- April 30, 2014– Post from OTXBC website regarding Slow Ride Pale Ale.
- May 10, 2014– First UNTAPPED review for Slow Ride Pale Ale
OTXBC began distributing Slow Ride beer, throughout Texas, May 15, 2014.
NBB is asking all of us to believe that nobody in their company (legal department, art department, marketing department, PR department etc…) Googled the terms SLOW RIDE BEER or SLOW RIDE PALE ALE between April 30, 2014 and their TM filing date of May 23, 2014. We heard from their CEO in mid-October after the opposition period for the trademark had expired. Somebody dropped the ball on their end if an exhaustive search didn’t include a simple Google search.
2. AMICABLE SETTLEMENT
New Belgium is falsely claiming: OTXBC is unwilling to settle and resolve this amicably.
Truth: OTXBC wants nothing more than to settle this amicably
OTXBC wants nothing more than to settle this matter w/ NBB. After threatening to come into our state and sell their beer by the same name, we sent them a “cease and desist” letter to merely protect what rights we had established. They flew down their legal team. They offered a joint use agreement which we politely declined by saying the sheer size and volume of their distribution would overwhelm our product. They laughed and agreed that they didn’t see how that would work either. Then they made us an offer to buy the name for an unrealistic and undervalued price. We politely declined, they left. No further discussions, and no further negotiations ever took place. Then they sued us.
3. COLLABORATION BEER
New Belgium is falsely claiming: During negotiations NBB offered to do a collaboration beer with OTXBC. This was rejected.
Truth: No collaboration beer of any kind was ever offered by NBB. However, OTXBC is open to such a solution
Initially, we were excited to receive a call from NBB, given our admiration of their company. The call came on the heels of our gold medal win at GABF and we had hopes that a “collaboration beer” etc was exactly why their CEO was calling. Instead, we got a threatening call, the first of several. All that aside – they continue the narrative online that we have turned down a collaboration beer “offer” at some point during our negotiations. Any notion that they ever offered a collaboration beer of any kind is completely false. We are perplexed why they continue to repeat this when it is absolutely untrue.
However, as we’ve previously mentioned, we want nothing more than an amicable solution. Therefore, if NBB is serious about a collaboration beer of some kind, our response is— YES! We would absolutely love to do collaboration with them to further the spirit of our amicable resolution. Let us know where and when! We would also propose that the profits from this collaboration beer go half to each of a charity of our choosing.
Furthermore, whether they filed for the trademark disingenuously or not and whether it was even issued correctly with the proper due diligence; we remain willing to discuss the settlement of which States belong to whom. Despite their numerous false claims that we have not been willing to settle, we have actually already proposed to them the specifics with which we would be willing to accept a compromise. They responded by filing suit against us. We invite them to instead re-engage in active attempts to settle this without further involving lawyers and courts.
Therefore, NBB, we invite you to actually take the steps you claim to have taken with us and get this silliness settled. We all want to get back to making great craft beer.