Earlier this summer, when Anheuser-Busch launched its new Bud Light Lime product, patio season pandemonium ensued. The Beer Store couldn’t keep its shelves stocked.
Now, Waterloo’s Brick Brewing Co. has introduced Red Baron Lime beer. Anheuser, and its Canadian subsidiary, Labatt Brewing Co., is calling foul, claiming trademark and copyright infringement. They’re seeking an injunction and monetary damages.
Similarities abound between the products: clear glass bottles, green and silver colour scheme, the display of a slice of lime, similar green backgrounds on the respective product-dedicated websites, and the integration of social media into the marketing campaign. The question is whether these characteristics are distinctive of Anheuser.
Clearly, Anheuser has invested significant time, money and effort into creating a standout brand in the congested beer market. Allowing a 3rd party to trade off the goodwill Anheuser is generating undermines its creativity and innovation in developing its new product.
Brick Brewing, on the other hand, argues that Anheuser, one the largest globally-owned beer companies, is using anti-competitive tactics to quash the competition.
What’s your take? Should Anheuser be rewarded for its ingenuity, or is the beer pie big enough for more than one player?
Image courtesy of Clairity.