March 4, 2024

KMCKrell

Taste the Home & Environment

Cold Garden accepts cease-and-desist order after copying classic brand

Co-owner Dan Allard said he’s grateful Sleeman is not suing Cold Garden over the mishap and that the brewery is complying fully with the demands set out in the cease-and-desist letter

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Calgary microbrewery Cold Garden Beverage Co. was slapped with a cease-and-desist letter this week after the label and name of its limited edition malt liquor bore a striking resemblance to a Sleeman Breweries product.

But the Inglewood brewery took the legal warning in stride, accepting responsibility for the trademark infringement, pulling the beverage from its shelves and recalling it from two local liquor stores.

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In the order, Sleeman Breweries’ legal team claimed Cold Garden had infringed on its trademark after the Inglewood brewery released roughly 1,400 bottles of a holiday malt liquor, fashioned closely after Colt 45, on Dec. 19.

The letter threatened legal action unless Cold Garden immediately stopped selling and promoting the beverage. The letter also instructed the brewery to remove any reference to the malt liquor’s name or label from its social media channels and website.

Cold Garden took to Instagram on Wednesday, stating its new beverage was intended as a tribute to Colt 45.

“We have countless fond memories of this legendary beer and we wanted to pay homage,” stated Cold Garden’s post, which included a blurred out image of the bottle and label.

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Originally introduced by the U.S.-based National Brewing Company in the 1960s, Colt 45 is a popular malt liquor previously sold in 40-ounce bottles. Now more commonly sold in canned form, the beverage’s logo features a kicking horse jumping over a horseshoe.

Dan Allard, a co-owner of Cold Garden, doesn’t deny the brewery’s malt liquor label and name were blatant references to Colt 45.

“It was very on the nose,” he said. “It was virtually a mirror image of what they did, but we Cold Garden-ified it by throwing a gnome on there and making a gold foil on the label.

“It was meant to be an inspiration, not a parody in any way or a mockery in any sense.”

Calgary brewery to ‘pay it forward’

While he acknowledged the topic of whether they were potentially copying Colt 45’s logo likely came up while producing their malt liquor, Allard said Cold Garden didn’t do a deep dive into the issue.

When they couldn’t find any Calgary liquor stores selling Colt 45, Allard said they figured tweaking the label for their own beverage was fair game.

“We couldn’t find it anywhere, so we just didn’t think anybody was protecting the brand anymore,” he said.

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“We just were like, no one has seen this brand in years, so we didn’t think twice about it.”

Allard said he’s grateful Sleeman is not suing Cold Garden over the mishap, and said the brewery is complying with its demands.

“Ultimately, we’re not trying to pick a fight here,” he said, adding the brewery will “pay it forward” by donating all profits made from the malt liquor so far to the Calgary Food Bank.

“We’ll spend the money we would have on lawyers and just give that to the food bank instead. It just seemed like an obvious choice.”

Sleeman Breweries did not immediately respond to Postmedia’s request for comment.

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