(Knoxville, TN) – When the Wild Wild West meets the Southeast…
Metro Pulse published quite the interesting story yesterday:
Prior to registering as a corporation, the pair did research whether anyone else had the name. They discovered there was a Marble Brewery in Manchester, England, and a Marble Brewery in Albuquerque, N.M. Since the British beers didn’t seem to be available stateside, and since the New Mexico beers were only available in New Mexico and Arizona, and since neither had City in the name, Borsodi says he couldn’t imagine how there could be any confusion over similar-sounding names. Especially, he notes, because the Marble Brewery in Albuquerque is so named because it’s on Marble Street, and its logo uses images of glass marbles, the children’s toy, not the stone.
But in October, Borsodi received a call from Jeffery Jinnett informing him that the name Marble City Brewing Company was a problem. Jinnett is the president of Santa Fe Dining, which owns and operates a number of restaurants in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, N.M., including Marble Brewery, which is a brewpub that also sells its own beer. Borsodi says he explained that he couldn’t see any possible confusion that would arise between the two breweries and declined to change the name. In November, Marble Brewery filed a lawsuit in federal court.
Oh, but that’s not all.
Marble Brewery beers are being distributed locally by Chattanooga’s MOLO-TENN Distributors. Owner James Sherrell says he was unaware of the lawsuit and he first heard about Marble Brewery from a friend who lives in Albuquerque. Sherrell was also unaware that Marble has no distribution outside of the Southwest, as was MOLO-TENN salesman Jeff Nunes, who has been pushing Marble locally.
“I heard there was a conflict over the name, and that’s all I heard about,” Nunes says, but notes he was unaware a lawsuit had actually been filed.
To summarize this report, Marble City Brewing declined to change its name so Marble Brewery sued them (in November) due to likelihood of public confusion. Marble (NM) then went and got a distributor contract with a Tennessee distributor, far out of its distribution zone of New Mexico and Arizona, to make its beers available in Marble City’s market just weeks before they were set to launch their brand. If that’s how it went down, then Marble essentially went out of its way to create a public confusion scenario after suing Marble City. In another conspiracy theory scenario, is it possible that MOLO-Tenn orchestrated this since Marble City signed on with nearby rival, Eagle Distributing?
According to this thread on Facebook, Marble City supporters were hitting the Marble Brewery Facebook wall with negative comments before Marble Brewery had to remove it (a “wall” is a central page where the brewery can post news and people can post comments on the brewery).