LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The maker of Fireball Cinnamon Whisky is putting the heat on a North Carolina brewer over packaging that allegedly too closely resembles its red-capped liquor bottles adorned with a fire-breathing creature.
Sazerac Company Inc., of Metairie, La., claims in a federal lawsuit that the design of Stout Brewing Co.’s new Fire Flask malt specialty beer infringes on Sazerac’s trademark for Fireball. Fire Flask’s label features a devil and pitchfork on a bottle with a red cap, according to the suit.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Louisville last Friday, is seeking an injunction banning Stout from selling its beer under the Fire Flask label or using any packaging and graphics that are “confusingly similar.”
Sazerac, which owns the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort and bottles Fireball at the Glenmore Distillery in Owensboro, also wants the court to grant it the profits from Stout’s sales of Fire Flask and order the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel the pending Fire Flask trademark, among other relief.
Officials with Stout did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. The suburban Charlotte company was founded in 2012 and makes flavored beer under the “Great America” label, among other products.
Sazerac claims Fire Flask has been sold in Kentucky, Indiana and at least seven other states. An attorney sent Stout a cease-and-desist letter in late July, according to the lawsuit.
Sazerac bought the rights to the then-Dr. McGillicuddy’s Fireball in 2000. The company claims in the lawsuit that Fireball is the most popular cinnamon whiskey in North America.
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