Canada’s oldest independent brewery and Colorado’s oldest brewery are locking horns.
Moosehead Breweries, which was founded in New Brunswick in 1867, charged into federal court last week and sued Denver-based Tivoli Brewing Co., which dates to 1859.
Moosehead objects to Tivoli’s new Outlaw Mile Hi Light Beer, introduced earlier this year, which features a profile of a moose head on the can.
The Canada brewery wrote in the lawsuit that it has a family of Moose trademarks, which include the term “moose” and the likeness of the head of a moose, used in connection with a variety of beers and consumer products, like mugs, hats and clothing.
Moosehead claims the moose on Tivoli’s beer is too similar to its logo. And it says in the lawsuit that the Denver brewery has also created a mascot named “Marty the Moose ” to market the beer with moose memorabilia “that uses and trades on the goodwill of Moosehead’s Moosehead Marks,” according to the lawsuit.
The company said in the lawsuit that members of the public are “likely to be confused, misled, or deceived into thinking Tivoli’s Outlaw Mile Hi Light Beer is one of Moosehead’s products or is in some way sponsored by or connected with Moosehead.”
Moosehead sent Tivoli a cease and desist letter in July, but the brewery declined to stop using its imagery, according to the lawsuit.
Tivoli has a brewing facility and taproom on the Auraria college campus in the Tivoli Student Union. CEO Ari Opsahl said the company is still determining its response to the lawsuit.
“Tivoli’s Outlaw Beer, like Colorado’s Shiras moose, is smaller, lighter, and more adaptable than the larger and heavier version found north of the border,” Opsahl said in a statement. “An expensive legal battle over who gets to use a common animal silhouette seems like a waste of time and money. Nevertheless, Tivoli will continue to produce quality beer without fear.”
Opsahl, a former Anheuser-Busch exec, was hired by Tivoli in August last year to replace its former 22-year-old CEO Salomon Marcos Jr., the son of the brewery’s majority shareholder.