VENTURA, Calif. — Clothing company Patagonia is suing Budweiser’s parent company for selling a beer that bears its name and evokes its rugged, environmentally friendly brand and logo.
AB InBev was granted a trademark to sell Patagonia beer in the United States in 2012, but the company sat on the name until 2018, when it started selling beer with the branding.
Patagonia, the clothing company, accuses AB InBev of trademark infringement for copying the brand’s name and aesthetic on its beer. AB’s Patagonia beer packaging includes a silhouette of a mountain and the word Patagonia in bold lettering.
What’s worse, the clothing company said, is AB InBev has been selling the brew and its own Patagonia-branded apparel at pop-up stores at ski resorts, which is Patagonia clothing territory, the company said in the suit.
“In short, AB has done everything possible to make it appear as though this PATAGONIA beer is sold by Patagonia.”
The company said that AB InBev “has gone as far as creating a logo that is strikingly similar to Patagonia’s famous mountain silhouette logo that has appeared continuously for decades on millions of products.”
In a short emailed statement to CNN, an AB InBev spokesperson wrote the company will fight the lawsuit.
“We are aware of this lawsuit and believe it to be without merit. We will vigorously defend our trademark rights.”
Patagonia also takes issue with InBev’s environmental focus, which used a placard describing “Patagonia’s ‘tree positive’ mission,” at the pop-up stores.
AB InBev “tried to connect its beer with environmental conservation by claiming to plant a tree for each case of beer sold, an initiative that Patagonia would welcome but for the fact that AB is clearly attempting to copy Patagonia’s famous brand identity to confuse consumers,” it said in the lawsuit.
The clothing company launched its own beer in 2016 called Long Root pale ale.
“AB’s activities have caused consumer confusion in the marketplace. Consumers have, for example, attributed AB’s PATAGONIA beer to Plaintiffs,” the suit alleges.
Patagonia said in the lawsuit that AB InBev even had a company representative contact its food subsidiary, Provisions, seeking an “interview” about the Kernza grain used in its Long Root Ale.
Patagonia, the clothing company, wants AB to stop selling the beers and to prevent it from going to “such great lengths to pass itself off as Patagonia.”
Patagonia says their brand was created in the 1960’s and is registered in 90 countries.
Anheuser-Busch has been taking steps recently to improve its environmental standing.
Last year, it announced that it bought 800 hydrogen powered semi trucks as part of a bid to make its entire fleet of long-haul trucks run on “clean energy.” It also placed an order for 40 Tesla plug-in semi trucks.