Law Office of Henry B. LaTorraca Civil Trial Attorney

Whiskey wars: the battle over whiskey bottles heads to court

Anyone in Long Beach with a business knows just how important a trademarked image or item can be. Consumers start to recognize that image and associate it with a brand or product. Over time, many businesses hope people will see the image and just buy the product with very little thought. This is one of the reasons why trademark infringement is such a big deal to businesses; if someone is trying to use a business's brand or trademark to push his or her own products, it risks the original business's reputation.

So, it is no surprise that California's own Jack Daniel's Properties, Inc., which is the producer of Jack Daniel's whiskey, has filed a lawsuit against another whiskey producer that seems to be copying its bottle.

At one time, Popcorn Sutton Distilling LLC used Mason jars to sell its whiskey, but once the small distillery had enough money, it upgraded to a square bottle with angled shoulders and a label written in white on a black background, a bottle that is extremely similar to Jack Daniel's bottles and labeling. Apparently even the label's font is similar to Jack Daniel's.

The much-larger Jack Daniel's has sued the distillery and has asked a judge to issue an injunction that would stop Popcorn Sutton from using its bottle. Surprisingly, one liquor store manager has said that Popcorn Sutton's white whiskey actually sold better when it was in Mason jars.

The California-based business has filed its lawsuit in Tennessee, as that is where both its and the defendant's whiskey are produced.

Source: The Associated Press, "Jack Daniel's in legal fight with small distiller Bruce Schreiner, Oct. 25, 2013

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