Lagunitas Suing Sierra Nevada Over Stupid Bullshit

EDIT: In deference to the Semantics Warriors: Lagunitas is suing over the appearance of the term “IPA”  on Sierra Nevada’s packaging, not the term itself. Because apparently that makes this totally less ridiculous, except it doesn’t. Whatever. The title’s misleading, and apparently that’s all that matters, because reasons.

EDIT v2: I’ve retitled the article. I think it covers all the bases.

As a post-script to my typo-and-profanity-filled rant, I mentioned that I thought Tony Magee from Lagunitas was a hypocrite and an asshole. A lot of people didn’t like that comment, and I backtracked a little, because I just didn’t want to bother talking about it any more (since it was a tangent to my main point).

Well, sweet vindication has arrived: Lagunitas is suing Sierra Nevada for putting “IPA” on their packaging (That link is to BeerAdvocate’s forums, but it includes the embedded trademark lawsuit filing).

I’m not a lawyer, and I try not to play one on the Internet, but this suit is so laughably ego-maniacal and baseless. And I understand that failure to protect one’s trademarks can result in them being invalidated (or some such nonsense, like I said, not a lawyer), but this is absurd. Literally absurd. As in the definition: “wildly unreasonable, illogical, or inappropriate.” Lagunitas’ filing states the following (emphasis is mine):

The unique “IPA” lettering used in the Lagunitas “IPA” Family of Trademarks has a distinctive serif font, distinctive kerning (or letter spacing), between the “P” and “A”, slightly aged or weathered look, with uneven areas on each of the letters, and the elimination of any periods between the letters.

For anyone who isn’t a typeface nerd (so like 99.9% of humans), a serif font has those little lines that come off the letters. It’s what differentiates a capital “I” from a lowercase “l”. So say that entire family of fonts is “distinctive” is to say that because the sky over Lagunitas’ brewery is blue, they have the right to sue every other brewery that has blue sky (or less absurd: no one else can use hop art or the color beige on their packaging).

As for the slightly aged or weathered look; look out Founders, Alaskan, BrewDog, and thousands of other breweries because you’ll be next in court:

And as for eliminating those periods, well…

I just hope that Lagunitas has enough money and lawyers to righteously fight all this injustice that is besmirching their good name. Or maybe Tony Magee should conduct one of his “safety meetings” and chill the fuck out.



  1. In a way, I can see suing someone for illegally using your typeface because someone did work hard creating that typeface. It can be construed as plagiarism. However, this case would have stretched the limits for plagiarism. The Lagunitas IPA is more of a stenciled style, while the Sierra Nevada is bold regular. And I’m just a former high school digital graphics teacher, I’m not an expert. But they are two completely fonts. So, yeah, this is just a guy being jerk.


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