For Immediate Release:
Sixpoint Brewery and Stillmank Brewing reach agreement over “Lil’ Wisco” beer trademark concerns
(November 26, 2013 Brooklyn, NY)
Brooklyn-based Sixpoint Brewery, creator of the “Lil Wisco” beer, reached a re-naming agreement with Brad Stillmank of the Stillmank Beer Co, based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Stillmank, creator of the “Wisco Disco” brew, distributed throughout northeastern Wisconsin, brought a trademark concern to Sixpoint founder Shane Welch’s attention in late October of 2013. Sixpoint had recently begun limited, draft-only distribution of its Lil’ Wisco brew in southeastern Wisconsin.
Sixpoint’s Shane Welch, himself a Wisconsin native, explains more: “We originally created the Lil’ Wisco in honor of a slice of the West Village we dubbed “Little Wisconsin” because there are several bars and restaurants within a few blocks of each other which are operated by Wisconsin proprietors. These people are our friends and we wanted to celebrate and commemorate our heritage together while living in NYC. When we opened limited distribution in Wisconsin last year, it seemed like a natural fit to eventually share it with some of our friends in the state. It has a great story.”
When Stillmank became aware of the Wisconsin distribution of Lil’ Wisco, he was initially concerned about potential confusion with his popular Wisco Disco beer. “Our beer is packaged in 16 oz cans, as is Sixpoint’s, so I was concerned that the beer might eventually be canned and sold in the same areas, which could lead to some confusion in the marketplace.” Stillmank said. “So, I reached out directly to Shane to express my concerns.”
After initially agreeing to a cap on the volume of Lil’ Wisco distribution, and to limit it to draft-only sales, Welch suggested simply changing the name of the Lil’ Wisco to “Lil’ Wisconsin” and forfeiting the name entirely to Stillmank. Stillmank was satisfied with the change, now slated to take effect in early 2014.
“When approached with the collaborative spirit of craft brewing and respect for those who are rightful owner of trademarks, these branding issues can be resolved amicably and positively. Brad expressed his concerns without trying to force a collaboration or drum up a firestorm,” Welch said. “The victim in these situations is the party who had their registered trademark infringed upon – not the party who is infringing upon someone else’s mark. I’m inspired by this resolution, as together Brad and I have created a positive outcome for each brewery, and for the beer lovers of the state of Wisconsin. Now let’s get back to making great beer!”