So here's the scoop: On September 4th of this wonderful year, Hansen Beverage Company (creator of Monster Energy) sent Rock Art Brewery an order to "cease and desist" from using the "Vermonster" name in any way (they even want to be compensated). Apparently, Hansen thinks that there is going to be confusion among their valuable customers...ya know, with the two products bearing similar names. What!? Monster Energy? Monster Moron.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with this nice little microbrewery situated in Morrisville, Vermont, "The Vermonster" is the name of one of their Barley Wines. The letter from Hansen can be accessed here. Now, you'd assume that if Hansen was issuing this "cease and desist," they'd have sufficient reason to do so, correct? Well, you're very wrong - incredibly wrong - if you did just that. They don't. Rock Art Brewery has the legal rights to that name - and has had those rights. Matt Nadeau, President of Rock Art, has even offered a generous comprise (on September 28th), gladly forfeiting the rights to use the name for energy drinks. His full response can be accessed here. It doesn't really look like this is going to go well, though.
You see, Hansen is a big, bad corporate harlot. And no, the money they whore on in doesn't reap the typical results one would expect (unless, of course, one considers rotten teeth and an energy facade sensual). Here's how things have a very good chance of, unfortunately, turning out:
Hansen is going to bombard Rock Art, stripping them of their resources via court and lawyer fees, among other things. They can do this simply because they have the resources to get away with it. Rock Art could be forced to settle this dispute in an unreasonable and ridiculous way - by default! This is not only unfair, it should be illegal in its own right; these harbingers of bogus lawsuits should be fined, quite simply. I can't help but be reminded of similar situations going on throughout states with medicinal marijuana laws in effect; the DEA butts in and ruins the lives of 80-year-old dying cancer patients...enforcing policies functioning at the "federal" level. Funny. I'm pretty sure our government is set up so that the federal level isn't able to...ahhh, I better not get into this right here, right now. Angers me, deeply.
You know what's hilarious, though? Brooklyn Brewery has been using the name "Monster Ale" for quite some time. This is almost too amusing. Almost. I guess Hansen doesn't see the resemblance here, or at least not yet. Or, maybe they realize that Brooklyn Brewery (which is much larger than Rock Art) has the resources to beat them back. Who knows? The important thing to note here is that Hansen is essentially a bully, in all aspects: pushing someone smaller around, doing so simply because it can, possessing the intellect of a toddler (or at least someone who has yet to discover semantics and the meaning of syntax), etc.
There is a boycott currently underway. I encourage you to participate as well, regardless of whether or not you enjoy craft beer or drink Monster Energy drinks. The issue here is much deeper, and I don't think I need to spell that out.
By the way...Kokopelli, what in bloody hell is that? Short answer: Southwestern Native American fertility deity. He's usually depicted, as can be seen in Rock Art's logo, hunched over, playing a flute (he's also associated with music...but actually, some scholars think it may be a blowgun of sorts too, but let's not drag this post out too much longer). Matt became particularly fond of this image while embarking upon hikes, mountain biking trips, and river trips while living in Colorado and adapted the image to the future company's logo; the petroglyph can be seen on many rock formations, in many locations throughout the Southwest.
But anyway, more information on this dispute can be found at Rock Art's website here, and is being documented here. Also, quite the following has formed on Twitter and Facebook. Follow Rock Art on Twitter here, and add the #ISupportRockArt hashtag to your tweets. Join the official Facebook group as well: Vermonters and Craft Beer Drinks Against Monster. Spread the word!
Down with the Monster!
Peace and Love!