Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tonight's Main Event: The Rock Battles A Monster!

Lawyers for Hansens Beverages, maker of Monster energy drinks, have sent a cease and desist order to Rock Art Brewery, Morrisville, VT, (read the letter at saying Rock Art's barleywine, "Vermonster", infringes on the Monster name and may cause confusion.
To total morons, yes.

To those with brain function out there (and I include all of you reading this, though make no claim for the writer), it is just another silly Goliath corporation taking advantage of a David, in this case the seven employee Rock Art Brewery. The rumor out there is that Monster eventually wants to get in the alcoholic drink business, but even so- Rock Art makes craft beer distributed to craft beer bars and stores in five states. A Monster energy/alcohol drink will most likely be popular in those clubs where people dress up and wait in line in hope the doorman will think they are cool enough to enter. Let's be real- a 10% barleywine and an energy drink cocktail are never going to share space on the same bar? So why is Monster doing this? Will Monster be targeting the job website next, or perhaps Monster Cable, maker of HDMI cables? Not likely. Don't think for a second that the main focus of litigation is just a product with "monster" in it to these people. They find companies who are vulnerable in the wallet, and hit them with the full force of their legal might! That is why Monster's legal department hasn't gone after Ben and Jerry's, who make a Vermonster ice cream, and also happen to be owned by the giant corporate conglomerate Unilever! It doesn't matter if the smaller company will never affect the bottom line of Monster or Hansen's one cent, it is just muscle flexing in hope that the smaller company will have to cave in just to stay alive. Rock Art OWNS the trademark to the Vermonster name, yet Monster still is willing to fight a battle that ultimately will lose in court (as predicted by five different trademark lawyers).

I don't care what your politics are, and I have nothing against American "big business". If you make a great product, succeed, become a huge business and get rich, more power to you. But to pick on what is essentially a "mom and pop" brewery just because you can is not very American to me. I talked to Rock Art owner Matt Nadeau today and he said that his personal experience with Monster is giving him incentive to expose the fact that this is happening to thousands of other small businesses every year, and he wants to get his story out there in order to get lawmakers to change the trademark system itself. He says ABC World News is interested in the story, and many Vermont businesses have pulled Hansen's products from their shelves in support of Rock Art. We can help here in Albuquerque as well. Show what it truly means to be an American and let the people at Hansen's know that you are not happy with their business practices, and that you will not purchase their products.

Let them know here:

Or call: 1-800-426-7367

Or see if this guy will take your call: Rodney C. Sacks, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Hansen's
(951) 739-6200

FYI: Matt Nadeau, Head Brewer, CEO, COO, CFO, etc. of Rock Art answered the phone himself when I called.

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