Photo by ScubaBeer/FlickrCC
In the Internet age, David can go on Facebook to help him bring down Goliath.
That's what happened in Morrisville, Vermont, where the tiny Rock Art Brewery, maker of Vermonster beer, marshaled a wave of public opinion to help in a lawsuit against Hansen Beverage, which sued for copyright infringement on their Monster Energy Drink.
In this action, Hansen violated a cardinal New England rule: Do not mess with Vermonters. They are well-insulated, wear generally supportive footwear, and are armed to the teeth. Last month, when Rock Art owner Matt Nadeau received a boilerplate "cease and desist" letter from Hansen Beverage, he told me, he decided not to take a simple action like putting an extra "t" in the name of his beer.
"I could do that," says Nadeau, then pauses. "Don't want to."
The beer in question is an American barley wine with 10 percent alcohol-by-volume content and a load of hops that clearly necessitate the term "Vermonster." Hansen's Monster Energy Drink, on the other hand, is made with taurine and guarana and does not bear a passing resemblance to barley wine. Nadeau suspects that the lawsuit is due to a recent partnership between Hansen, who made their name with all-natural, preservative fee sodas before breaking into the energy drink market, and the monster (sorry) brewery Anheuser-Busch.