Around 11:15pm last night, friend of the blog Tony Magee of Lagunitas announced via Twitter that he would be rescinding his trademark lawsuit against Sierra Nevada for the appearance of the term “IPA” on the packaging for SN’s new Hop Hunter IPA.
Me, personally, I don’t believe a lick of this nonsense. Or is it Nonsense. I don’t know Why Tony capitalizes Certain Words, and not Others, but Whatever. This seems like a colossal waste of time, money, and resources for what any trademark attorney could’ve told you in an initial consultation. So why go through with the filing? Why strain your relationship with one of the biggest craft breweries in the country? Why would the man who said this…
I told the world that I didn’t want to pretend to ‘own’ something that belongs in the commons.
… regarding his public battle against SweetWater over the term “420,” turn around and decide to sue over the use/appearance of the term “IPA;” possibly the most ubiquitous term in craft beer?
I have plenty of my own thoughts and opinions on the matter, but they’re just conjecture and wild ranting… so here they are (rant incoming):
I think Magee is a hypocrite. I think he’s a product of a generation and a half of spoiled rotten brats who are used to getting everything their way. I think he’s a pot-smoking hippie when it suits him, and a litigious business man when it suits him; though he’ll only admit to the former and never the latter. His series of tweets seems to bear that out. It’s all peace and love until his market share is threatened. Lagunitas, like SweetWater, like Flying Dog, and like (unfortunately) countless other breweries are perpetuating a dude-bro culture that – in my opinion – will do more harm than good as the craft beer industry matures. Sure, you can say they take their cues from Bud/Miller/Coors with regards to sexism but excuses are like assholes. If they can take the time and effort to make their products “better,” then they can take the time and effort to make themselves and their companies better. Beers like Mouth Raper IPA, Pearl Necklace, Leg Spreader, and innumerable others are juvenile, sexist, and they implicate all of us – ALL of us: brewers, owners, homebrewers, craft beer drinkers, bloggers – in guilt by association.
In fairness to Magee and Lagunitas, their beers do not fall in with these more putrid examples of rape culture. But the mentality of Magee – this egocentric, two-faced, spoiled brat attitude that leads someone to start fights over “420” and “IPA” like he’s the only one who has ever smoked pot or brewed with hops – is indicative of what is being associated with craft beer. It is a culture of privilege, and more often than not of male privilege. It’s abhorrent and it’s time to grow the fuck up.
That’s just a little sumpin’ sumpin’ to think about next time you’re shopping in the beer aisle.