Twitter reacts to #IPAGate: did Knee Deep copy Lagunitas’ IPA label?

lagunitas vs knee deepUPDATE: More from Magee on RateBeer.

(Petaluma, CA) – See a similarity between these two labels? Yes? No? Maybe?

One person that does is Lagunitas Brewing owner, Tony Magee. He took to Twitter on Friday night to consult his board of 10,000 followers regarding a label that he thinks may be a bit too similar to one of his own. The label in question is from a small nearby microbrewery, Knee Deep Brewing. Magee has built up quite the loyal fanbase on Twitter (15k times the followers than Knee Deep has) so it wasn’t a surprise to see a bevy of comments come out against Knee Deep with one Chicago beer retailer going so far as to call Knee Deep “a-holes.”

The Northern California-based microbrewery produced 300 barrels in 2011, according to the Brewers Association.

Knee Deep did not return a request for comment on Saturday though the company did reach out to Magee via Twitter immediately after his tweets went live on Friday night.

BeerPulse reported earlier in the week that another small brewery is changing its name after a dispute with Lagunitas.

Below, the full timeline of tweets:


28 thoughts on “Twitter reacts to #IPAGate: did Knee Deep copy Lagunitas’ IPA label?

  1. Doesn’t look like a copy at all… just the style… IPA Indian Pale Ale… Even in a different font with some decorations… Lagunitas is overrated.

  2. Why are there no examples of the tweets telling Tony he’s turning into a litigious “big” brewery that the craft beer industry is fighting against? Both labels are pretty generic and uninspired, but won’t be confused for the other. Funny how Lagunitas is only going after very small local breweries that don’t have the means to fight. I like how he states “these are sketchier times than 10 years ago”. He’s right, sadly because of issues like this that he himself is creating. 10 years ago it would have been solved with shared beers, not a panel of lawyers. Owell, there’s plenty of other craft breweries that I can spend my money on.

  3. If he’s got 10k followers, how’s he got 15k times the followers of anyone…unless there is someone with 2/3rds of a follower.

    As far as the design goes…not much of a design. Brewer name/IPA/India Pale Ale. Black type on white background. Different fonts. Generic. One has flies, the other doesn’t.

    Surprising that lawyering up was Magee’s first thought, rather than picking up the phone to call his fellow brewer. I hope they work it out over a couple of pints, rather than having to call in the suits.

  4. Knee Deep is great beer, maybe starting to put a dent in Lagunitas sales, I mean, lets face it, Lagunitas didn’t come into SF Beer Week and beat out the infamous Pliny in a blind test. The more I read about LagT, the less I want to buy his beer, always stirring up something to get his name out there.

  5. I see some definite similarities; generic white background, generic fonts and generic minimal design. What’s the issue? If you’re going to complain when you use a distressed font that everyone & their mother uses, Lagunitas needs to get over itself.

    Keep brewing excellent beer and stop worrying about a “design” that a million people use.

  6. No way Lagunitas comes out of this looking like anything other than a bully. A generic label looks like another generic label? Let’s make a huge deal out of it. It sounds like somebody just needs to feel like a victim. Even if they don’t lawyer up, twittering about that crap was an obvious desperate attention grab. Sounds like the same kind of person who makes up fake food allergies for sympathy.

  7. Hang on everyone…. The reporting here exaggerates the scope of things is a meaningful way. There are no lawyers involved. There are no law suits. There was one very comfortable conversation woth the CEO of the other brewery. Call me a bully if you have to but while we all make good beers we also tend the store. This is that. If you’re a hater, have it your way. I guess I made a big mistake by including the world in the thoughts about. It’s a shame that Adam didn’t abide by a simple request not to turn into a view-generating circus, but then I guess we’re all selling something.

  8. He named his beer Just IPA so he don’t have much of a bitch. He doesn’t even make all his beer in house he contracts it out so being so protective of his brand is slightly bull crap.

  9. Labels matter. Trademarks matter. The cooperation between craft breweries in general is great but it can’t be extended past standard business practice. Sure the Lagunitas labels are somewhat generic, but Lagunitas had them first and had them trademarked. This has nothing to do with liquid quality (which is second to none from Lagunitas). It is a simple issue- the labels like too alike. Any respectable business would issue a cease and desist on what could be an infringement of their trademarks. And any respectable business would have legal counsel which would suggest it. And that’s exactly what happened here, nothing more.

  10. Shame on both Knee Deep and Lagu for their childish behavior. Anyone who believes that KD created their label with without any intention of having it be confused with Lagu’s is just a fool. Lagunitas gets the “ruler to the knuckles” for using social media to air grievance on a business related dispute. Both side are hereby sent to “Time-out”


  11. @Tony

    “This is YOUR industry… Beer lover created it. Brewers cannot dictate terms to you. If one betrays your love; move on. I wanna earn you…” – Tony Magee, August 8th.

    This site isn’t a hobby; it is a living. In the same way that your living depends on people drinking your beer, my living depends on people checking into the site and reading. “This is YOUR industry.” I feel the exact same way which is why I’ve set out to expose every nook and cranny of the beer business (craft especially, for now). Readers expect top notch information & entertainment here. And while every other brewery owner is staying “on message” like Bill Belichick, one of the top five/ten most important people in craft beer is giving us beer people an endless river of fascinating material about which to talk. We thank you for that. But nothing that is beer-related that has dozens of beer people talking on Twitter, RateBeer, Reddit, Beer Advocate, etc. will go untouched here.

    Nothing about the reporting is exaggerated (save for an eye-catching headline, sure – media 101). People/commenters are free to come to their own conclusions whether or not they are accurate. But if the conversation was “very comfortable” as you suggest, why is Knee Deep retweeting this after you guys talked?

    “Please don’t give in to Lagunitas’ silly demands. Nobody gets confused by the bottles except Tony.”

    The reality is that this became a circus the moment you sent those tweets to 10,000 people, each of which are a keystroke away from hundreds or thousands more people.

    Don’t shoot the messenger.

  12. So Now Lagunitas has the rights to the name “IPA” sorry it’s a similar label but its not a copy both are very basic and not very exciting. And sorry, if you call your India Pale Ale “IPA” don’t get ticked when other people do the same. And as some one mentioned, Boo lagunitas to air this on social media…

  13. Tony, do you just like attention? Chill out on the aggression towards Adam. He just reports what is getting attention in the beer world. If you didn’t love this attention, you wouldn’t tweet about it to thousands of followers. You don’t want a shit show, keep it within brewery walls.

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