People who drink Keystone Light are broke as hell, says Keystone Light's lawyer
Stone vs. MillerCoors courtroom fun, from mango White Claw to federal indict... claw + more!
For the past *checks date* Jesus christ, four years, San Diego’s Stone Brewing Company has been locked in a legal battle with macrobrewer Molson Coors/U.S. subsidiary MillerCoors, over the latter’s rebranded Keystone Light cans. You can read the backstory if you want here, but basically Keystone introduced a label that very prominently features the “STONE” part of its name on the side, a seemingly reasonable move that Stone now alleges cost them $174 million.
The two parties—incredibly, and for us, wonderfully—haven’t been able to come to a settlement out of court in all that time, so this past week, the suit went to a jury trial. This is a) mildly funny; b) a lot funnier when you remember actual jurors have to sit through this shit; and c) potentially revelatory, because industry lawsuits like this often make public corporate minutiae that companies would otherwise prefer to keep off-the-record. For example, as part of its defense, MillerCoors’ lawyers argued that there could be no confusion between Stone’s fancy-schmancy craft beers and Keystone Light’s own sub-premium stuff, because their customers are, ah, also sub-premium. Via Courthouse News:
More than half of Keystone Light customers are not working, Bunge [MillerCoors’ lawyer] said, while 25% of its customers make less than $30,000.
“We’re not marketing to the same people, these are different beers sold to different people,” he added.
“Your honor, this can’t be trademark infringement because Keystone Light drinkers are broke as hell” seems like a weird flex, but OK! (As Friend of Fingers/Brewbound managing editor Jess Infante pointed out on last night’s Beer Byliners Twitter Space, the jobless Keystone customers may be college kids, who despite gravitating towards hard seltzers these days are surely still drinking plenty of the swillish adjunct lager. Hmm.)
Your fearless Fingers editor is looking forward to hearing more from this high-stakes legal brouhaha between two beer brands that people probably never previous associated with one another but will forevermore thanks to the Streisand effect when the trial resumes next week. In the meantime, hat tip to intellectual property attorney Brendan Palfreyman for surfacing this item on Twitter. Stay tuned!
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👮 The Proudest mango White Claw fan catches a federal charge
Editor’s note: This item was originally produced by the Fingers Domestic Terrorism & Malt Beverage Desk but is being reprinted here in full as part of an ongoing editorial partnership.
Well, it finally happened. Former Proud Boys chairman, “prolific” FBI snitch, and general-interest charlatan Enrique Tarrio was charged this week with conspiring with various other figures on the American right wing to attack the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, 2021. You can read up on the details—private Telegram channels, cringey terms of aggrandizement like the Proud Boys’ “Ministry of Self-Defense,” multiple cameos from paramilitary Tier 1 LARPers like the Oath Keepers—if you want to over at the New York Times.
As for why this delicious/allegedly seditious tidbit merits mention in ye olde boozeletter… well, call it closure. Since bursting into the mainstream after the 2016, anti-establishmentarians and violent extremists on the American right have coopted hand gestures, memes, and other workaday items to broadcast their ideology to one another and/or troll normies. It’s weird! Anyway, over the past couple years, White Claw became pretty popular in heavily armed accelerationist circles as a way of winkingly nodding towards white supremacy, or street violence, or nothing at all because, when it comes to the extremely online right-wingers like Tarrio et al., the absurdity is the point.
Anyway! I first wrote about this for MEL Magazine back in May 2020, and again here at Fingers after Tarrio showed up in an interview on Andrew Callaghan’s All Gas, No Brakes YouTube series (RIP) at a Portland, Oregon, rally screaming about mango White Claw last year. Now that same hard seltzer-addled maniac is facing federal charges. They grow up so fast.
🧾 The Settle-Up
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